If you’re a renter in Calgary thinking of testing the waters of homeownership, it might be time to take the plunge.

“One of the critical factors for homebuyers is timing,” said David P. Brown, broker and owner at The Real Estate Company Ltd.

“When you’re in a sellers’ market, you must often make decisions quickly that prove unsatisfactory in the long run. In a buyers’ market like we have in Calgary today, the abundance of choices means you can take your time and find the best property for your needs.”

Current price conditions are also tempting for would-be buyers.

“Whether you’re seeking an attached unit, apartment or single-family home, prices in the city have dropped across the board for the last four years,” said Brown. “Combine that with the recent Bank of Canada announcement that they’re not raising interest rates, and you have affordability for many buyers.”

“Most renters would prefer to own, so they can start building equity for themselves rather than a landlord and have that equity be tax free.” – David P. Brown, The Real Estate Company Ltd.

With high inventories putting pressure on sellers to make the sale, discounts on the sticker price are common, especially for “motivated” sellers who must act quickly due to job relocations or family changes.

Brown also senses that confidence has increased among purchasers since the provincial election, based on some of the campaign talk.

“If the new government keeps its word, we may see an Alberta-made solution to help buyers enter the market,” he said. “Right now, changes to the mortgage qualifying rules are a challenge for some people, so we’re making suggestions to the government on program options, but ultimately the choice is theirs.”

Since everyone’s situation is unique, Brown advises talking to a mortgage broker and having them re-examine your qualifications, so they can provide an update on how much you can spend. With that figure in hand, the next stop is a real estate professional who can help you find something in your price range that fits your needs.

Despite the challenges, Brown is optimistic about the prospects of renters ready to make the leap.

“Most renters would prefer to own, so they can start building equity for themselves rather than a landlord and have that equity be tax free,” he said.

“The biggest hassle they face today is the down payment – we need programs in place that will help, such as raising the ceiling on the RRSP money that a first-time homebuyer can access. The more you put down, the easier it will be to qualify, so it all works together in supporting the dream of homeownership.”