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- TD Canada Trust releases 2010 Home Buyers Report -

TORONTO, July 5 /CNW/ - Researching mortgage options. Getting pre-approved. Estimating utility costs. First time home buyers are savvy when it comes to shopping for a home - but are their aspirations too high? The majority of home buyers say they expect to pay less than the asking price and they prefer newer and detached homes to older and semi-detached homes or condos. This is according to the first TD Canada Trust Home Buyers Report which surveyed Canadians who have purchased their first home in the past 2 years or who intend to purchase a home in the next 2 years.

Nearly all home buyers are making informed financial decisions before buying their home by learning about mortgage options (93%), getting pre-approved (91%), calculating closing costs (88%) and estimating utility costs (85%). However, land transfer tax, closing costs and legal fees were the top three costs that buyers felt unprepared for (48%, 47% and 47% respectively).

Six-in-ten first time home buyers bought or intend to buy a fully detached home and three-quarters want a new home, but can they afford it? Nine-in-ten first time buyers took out or expect to take out a mortgage for their home and of these buyers, only 30% plan to or have more than a 20% down payment. The remaining 70% will require their mortgage to be insured by organizations like the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Seventy per cent are making a down payment of less than 20%. Six-in-ten are worried about being able to afford their home if interest rates rise.

"It's only natural to want your first home to be the home of your dreams, but it is important to be realistic about what you can afford as a down payment and what that will mean for both the type of home you buy and for your mortgage payments over time," says Farhaneh Haque, Regional Sales Manager, Mobile Mortgage Specialists, TD Canada Trust. "I advise first time home owners to consider a larger down payment because a 10% or greater down payment will make a big difference. It may mean that you need to save longer before buying your first home, but it will pay off in the end. Speak with a representative at your bank about setting up an automatic savings plan to help you save."

Home financing:

Most buyers report putting down as much as they can afford for a down payment (88%) and fifty-seven per cent say they saved or plan on saving for two years or less for their home purchase. Two-thirds say they expected or expect to pay less than the asking price for their home. Only 6% expect to pay more, while 29% expect to pay the asking price.

Nearly three-quarters of those surveyed have or plan to have a fixed-rate mortgage. "Historically you are more likely to save interest costs with a variable rate or short-term mortgage option, so if they can handle some volatility then I recommend buyers choose a variable rate. If people are adverse to interest rate fluctuations than a fixed-rate is best," says Haque.

What kind of home do Canadians want?

If two homes were at the same price point, three-quarters of first time home buyers would prefer a newer home over an older home, but they are evenly split on location. Fifty-five per cent would prefer a smaller home closer to work and 45% would prefer a larger home with a longer commute. While the majority prefer detached homes, 21% chose a condo, 12% prefer town homes and 10% seek a semi-detached home.

Not surprisingly, price is the most important factor when considering what kind of home to buy and where (99%). The second and third most popular were features of the home (96%) and layout of the home (95%).

About the TD Canada Trust Home Buyers Report:

Results for the TD Canada Trust Home Buyers Report were collected through a custom online survey conducted by Environics Research Group. A total of 1,000 completed surveys were collected between June 8-21, 2010. All participants either purchased their first home within the past 24 months, or intend to purchase their first home within the next 24 months.

About TD Bank Financial Group

The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Financial Group. TD Bank Financial Group is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves more than 18 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust and TD Insurance; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD Bank Financial Group also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 6 million online customers. TD Bank Financial Group had CDN$574 billion in assets on April 30, 2010. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

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