The still-rising prices of homes in many Canadian markets are making homeownership increasingly unaffordable and mortgages harder to secure.

A report on the Canadian housing market in the fourth quarter of 2017 has been published by credit bureau DBRS and highlights the tough conditions facing first-time buyers in particular.

The amount of debt being serviced by Canadian households is running at double the average for a government backed mortgage.

The average household has an estimated gross debt service ratio (GDSR) of 54% while the average GDSR for homebuyers with a CMHC-insured mortgage is 27%.

Excluding the Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto areas, GDSR is estimated to be 40% on average.

The report says that the surge in home prices is making it hard for average Canadians to qualify for an insured mortgage, while its figures reveal the high deposit needed for an uninsured loan.

DBRS estimates that to buy a detached home with an uninsured mortgage, a buyer would need a 53% down payment, with 37% for a semi-detached home, and 26% for a condo.

Overall, the report says that credit quality in Q4, 2017 was good although there are regional differences. Nationally, arrears remain low and potential losses on defaulted mortgages can be mitigated by the high net worth of 870% of disposable income and high real estate equity ratio of 74%.

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