Photo: James Bombales

There have been plenty of deterrents for Canadian first-time home buyers this year, from stricter mortgage qualification rules rolled out in January to three interest rates hikes throughout the year. But according to a new survey, the majority haven’t given up on the dream of homeownership.

In fact, 71 percent of current non-owners plan on purchasing a home in the future, according to a new report from real estate website RateHub.ca. Another 59 percent want to do so in the next two years.

“Canadians’ high intent to purchase is tempered by several possible homeownership hurdles,” reads the report.

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Up to 44 percent of respondents cited insufficient down payment funds as the primary hurdle to buying a home, followed by housing market uncertainty at 17 percent, household income at 12 percent and credit score at 6 percent.

Rising mortgage rates are also on buyers minds. Up to 68 percent believe mortgage rates will increase in 2019, while 58 percent think home prices will follow suit.

But the respondents might be overly pessimistic about the state of the market. Many economists are predicting relatively cool market conditions heading into 2019, as rising interest rates keep housing prices in check.

In fact, BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic is forecasting a small 1 percent year-over-year price bump this month.

“Recall that in [September], the median price gain across the 26 markets tracked was just under 3 percent year-over-year, confirming the relative home price stability across most of the country,” he writes, in his most recent analysis.

Buyers looking for cooler conditions might want to look west, as key eastern markets have been warming up for some time.

“Ottawa and Montreal continue to churn out near-7 percent year-over-year price gains amid tight conditions,” notes Kavcic. “[Meanwhile], Vancouver sales were down a still steep 35 percent year-over-year [last month].”

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