Are these headlines familiar? ‘Household debts on the rise!’ or ‘Debt hits new high!’? How about, ‘Canadians’ debt soars into danger zone!’

At a time when Canadians are grappling with historically high household debt levels – upwards of 163 per cent according to Statistics Canada – young adults are feeling insecure about their knowledge of the financial implications of homeownership. In a recent survey commissioned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), 70 percent of Canadians between 18 and 29 indicated a “major need” for more information about the financial implications of buying a home. This figure is particularly meaningful as many in this age group are on the cusp of buying a home for the first time and undoubtedly want to make an informed decision.

Homes are a major asset and, for most Canadians, represent the single largest financial investment of their lives – and most buyers must finance their purchase using some form of credit. Home ownership can be a significant source of equity over the long term and the ability to maintain the asset requires a thoughtful approach at this critical decision point.

For instance, many homeowners with locked-in rates may not feel the impact of market fluctuations until their mortgage comes due for renewal. Variable rates provide room for more equity growth, and also come with greater risk. Which do you choose? Buying a home is always a big decision. Whether it is your first time or your third or fourth home, it is a big investment that warrants careful financial planning and consideration.

The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington, representing 25,000 REALTORS®, recognizes members of organized real estate have an important role to play. We are homebuyers’ first line of contact and as such, we use our knowledge and expertise of the home buying process to empower Canadians to make informed financial decisions.

November was Financial Literacy Month and REALTORS®, through their national association CREA, collaborated with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) to develop and provide a resource for Canadians to help them understand and navigate the home buying process. The Homebuyers’ Road Map outlines the financial aspects of the home buying process as well as the importance of negotiating with lenders and researching government programs. Our industry’s goal is to empower Canadians with knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions about home ownership, one of the most significant financial and lifestyle decisions most will ever make. The Homebuyers’ Road Map is available free of charge on the Canadian Real Estate Association website at

Cameron Nolan
President, 2012