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Saving for a down payment is the entrance exam for home ownership.

But in cities where prices are surging to record levels, passing the test is a greater challenge than ever for first-time buyers. Saving up can take years longer than it once did.

How long will it take you to break into the market? Find out with our new interactive tool.

Fill out your preferences below, either by dragging the slider or typing in the boxes. We'll calculate how long it'll take you to build savings for a minimum down payment. Finally, scroll to the bottom for an in-depth look at how home affordability has changed in your desired city.

Tell us about the home you want to buy and your savings...

I want to buy a home in

The average sale price in for was . That's per cent from the previous month and per cent from a year earlier.

The price of the home is $

I plan to save $ per month toward the down payment

Tip: For the best results, use a savings amount you can stick to. Pick an affordable amount – not what you’d ideally like to save.

I’ve already saved $ toward the down payment

My expected annual rate of return is %

Tip: Consider a high-interest savings account for building your down payment funds. These accounts offer low rates (between 0.55 per cent and 2.25 per cent in mid-2016), but there’s no risk of losing money and having to push back your timeline for buying. Money should not be put into the stock market unless you have at least five years to wait for good results, and preferably 10 years.

I'd like to save enough to avoid paying for mortgage loan insurance

Your answer has a big impact on your savings timeline. Conventional mortgages require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent of the home’s purchase price. But many people get into the market with less by taking on the extra cost of mortgage loan insurance (check the CMHC and Genworth Canada sites for further information). If you go this route, here are the minimums4:

  • For homes priced at $500,000 and under, the minimum down payment is 5 per cent.
  • For homes priced above $500,000 but under $1-million, the minimum down payment is 5 per cent on the first $500,000 and 10 per cent on the portion above that level.

Mortgage loan insurance is not available for home purchases of $1-million and up; thus, a minimum 20-per-cent down payment is required.

Saving for a down payment will take…
Minimum down payment required
Contribution summary
Planned savings per month
Amount saved so far
Annual rate of return1
Total savings

Good news! You’ve saved enough
for a minimum down payment!

How your savings will grow


Your current savings of and contributed monthly with a rate of return will grow to in .

Good news! You’ve saved enough
for a minimum down payment!

How are prices trending?


The chart above shows the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index for . The index level shows how prices are trending, like a stock market index does. An index level of 100 corresponds to house prices in June 2005. For more on local price trends, visit The Globe’s House Price Data Centre.

Home affordability in


Does it take longer to save up for a home than it used to? National Bank has crunched the numbers for us. The chart above shows how long (in months) it’s historically taken to build savings for 10 and 20-per-cent down payments in your desired city.2

Share your results

“It'll take me to save up for a home down payment

1 Annual interest is compounded monthly for our calculations.

2 Calculations are for median-priced dwellings. Assumes a 10-per-cent savings rate on the city’s median household income before tax. Where city data are unavailable, national figures are calculated. Figures are quarterly (March corresponds to Q1 and so forth).

3 The national figure is a composite of the 11 markets tracked by Teranet – National Bank.

4 Based on federal rules for government-backed mortgage insurance. In some cases, buyers who make a 20-per-cent down payment or greater will need mortgage loan insurance, depending on their financial situation.