In the past two years, more than 60,000 immigrants have moved to British Columbia, and more than 90 per cent of them have settled in the Lower Mainland, says Statistics Canada.
And, studies show, more than half of all immigrants purchase their first home within four years -- 17 per cent within the first year of arriving. To help facilitate home buying among newcomers, a guide has been published packed with buying tips and advice. Most of the material would also be helpful for any first-time home buyer, immigrant or not.
To show Canada's newcomers how to buy a house, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation(CMHC) offers the following tips:
- Decide how much you can afford, how many rooms you will need, where you'd like to live and what type of housing you prefer.
- Use several different search methods to find your new home. Ask real estate agents, relatives and friends. Search the classified ads of ethnic, community or daily newspapers (and this website!)
- Many agencies can help you find a community where you'll feel comfortable. Make a list of neighbourhoods where you might like to live. Take into account the character of the community and the proximity to medical care, schools, shopping, places of worship and possibilities for work.
- Make sure you have the right team of professionals. An appraiser and a home inspector will give you a better idea of the condition of a home and its worth. A lawyer will help protect your interests. If you need to arrange for a mortgage, you will need to find a lender or mortgage broker.
- Before you search for a home, learn more about the housing market and the latest price trends in the city or neighbourhood that interests you. (Again, REW.ca is a great source of this information.)
- Try to remain positive and avoid being too choosy. If you're having difficulty finding a permanent place, consider a rental while you keep looking. Don't feel rushed into buying a home immediately.
For more information or to receive a free electronic copy of The Newcomer's Guide to Canadian Housing, visit cmhc.ca/newcomers.