A couple of recent surveys shed interesting light on the attitudes of home buyers in Canada. Both surveys -- one by one of the big banks and the other by CMHC -- suggest home buyers are getting smarter and more sophisticated. But there some who seem to be surprisingly naive.
The bank survey, which polled about 2,000 first time buyers online, indicates more than 30% of first-timers believe interest rates will stay put for the next five years. It is hard to know where this thinking comes from based on the Bank of Canada's clearly stated desire to raise rates and all of the projections from economists across the board. On the other hand the same survey suggests more than three-quarters of first-timers plan to "stress-test" their mortgages to make sure they can handle higher rates.
The CMHC report took a broader approach and surveyed about three thousand "mortgage consumers". Impressively, more than 80% of those surveyed said they were satisfied with their mortgage experience and were confident they got the best mortgage for their needs. But a closer examination of the responses indicates there is room for improvement. Only 49% of people who used a broker (and 33% of those who used a lender) were given follow-up contact. Of those who received follow-up from their broker, 70% "totally agreed" they were satisfied. Just 42% of those who did not get follow-up agreed they were "totally satisfied".
The survey also reinforces the increasing use of the internet in making mortgage decisions. Fully, two-thirds of people looking for a mortgage did research online. Eighty-four percent of respondents used the web for rate comparisons and a clear majority went looking for mortgage calculators.