Over 40% of first-time homebuyers believe that now is a good time to buy, according to a new Bank of Montreal (BMO) survey.

The survey found that across Canada, first-time buyers in Alberta are the most optimistic, with over 50% believing it’s a good time to buy. British Columbia and the Prairies followed, with 42% of buyers optimistic about the housing market in both regions.

In contrast, only a third of prospective buyers in Ontario believe that now is the right time to buy a home, and under 40% of buyers in Quebec believe that the current market favours buyers. Meanwhile, 45% of new homebuyers are looking to buy in one of the country’s hottest markets: Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal.

To be able to afford a home, first-time buyers showed willingness to stretch their wallets. Among the respondents, 13% are planning to spend more than 30% of their income on housing, while close to 40% are willing to make sacrifices in other areas of their lives.

First-time buyers are also optimistic toward the federal government’s first-time home buyer incentive. Of those surveyed, 86% believe that the incentive will help them achieve their homeownership goals. Older millennials – those in their 30s – are one of the groups who find the incentive very useful (50%).

"While first-time home buyers believe that market conditions are favourable for buyers, it's important to make sure that carrying the costs are sustainable," said Hassan Pirnia, head of personal lending and home financing products at BMO. "What we recommend is coming in and speaking with a mortgage specialist to come up with a plan that will put the buyer in a position to comfortably afford a home and help them understand the criteria for qualifying for the new incentive."

The BMO survey was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights via an online survey of 805 adult Canadians on Aug. 15-19.

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