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The Market Nearly one-fifth of first-time buyers received family help with down payment: CMHC

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Nearly one in five first-time home buyers received help with a down payment from a family member, according to a survey conducted by the federal housing agency released Tuesday.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said 18 per cent of first-time buyers polled said they received a gift from a family member as part of their down payment. It was the first time CMHC included the question as part of its annual mortgage consumer survey.

CMHC said first-time buyers who received some financial help with their down payment were less likely to find the process of getting a mortgage easy and straightforward.

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"First-time buyers who received a gift from family as part of their down payment were less comfortable than others with their current level of mortgage debt," the agency said.

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The poll found sixty-three per cent of first time buyers who received help from family as part of their down payment were comfortable with their current level of mortgage debt compared with 73 per cent of those who did not receive a gift from family.

"They were also less confident about knowing where to turn in the event that they run into financial trouble. Similarly, they were less likely to have other assets to supplement their needs should they run into financial trouble," CMHC said.

The survey comes amid concerns that record household debt is a key risk for the Canadian economy.

The federal government has tightened mortgage lending rules several times in recent years, including expanding stress tests on mortgages.

The poll found that just over half of buyers were aware of the latest mortgage qualification changes and about one in five noted that the latest changes affected their purchase decision.

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CMHC's annual mortgage consumer survey was completed in March online and included 3,002 recent mortgage consumers.

The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

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