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Real estate trends show new homeowners choosing non-traditional routes to buying

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Despite affordability challenges, the interest in home ownership remains high.

"Canadians still want to buy real estate," said Christopher Alexander, president of RE/MAX Canada.

But, he added, they are turning to non-traditional ways to make those purchases.

"Buying with a family member, who’s not a spouse, renting out part of your home or even doing rent-to-own," he said.

"To me, that’s really encouraging because it speaks to the confidence the average Canadian consumer has in the real estate market."

The high cost of living combined with high interest rates and the price of housing have meant homeownership seems out of reach for many.

However, alternative home ownership opens the door for new buyers.

National trends are also showing up in northern Ontario, especially co-ownership with another family member and young people remaining with parents until they’ve saved their down payment.

"This is not something that we’ve seen in the past," said Amanda Denis, chair of the Sudbury Real Estate Board.

"Normally, you set out, you’re all excited as a first-time home buyer, you’ve got your little nest egg, you go choose your house and you’re good to go. But now these houses are not under $200,000 anymore. They’re $300-400, $500,000 for first-time homes and they still need work."

Another growing option is rent-to-own.

Requity Homes started in northern Ontario in 2021 and has expanded into three other provinces.

It purchases the house and the client pays rent for several years, with the option to buy the home at a guaranteed price.

"We have helped dozens of families in northern Ontario already," said CEO and founder Amy Ding.

"We are happy to share that 80 per cent of clients have bought back the home in 18 months on average -- that is a record average. We continue to see more clients transitioning to renting to owning."

According to the real estate agents CTV News spoke to, these trends are likely to continue since it’s much harder to become a homeowner the traditional way.

And if home ownership is a goal, they suggest speaking with a financial planner or a mortgage advisor to get started on a down payment.

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