More so than ever, Canadians are receiving a gift from their parents they can actually use -- money for a down payment on a home. 

And it’s no small amount, either.

According to Deputy Chief Economist of CIBC World Markets Inc. Benjamin Tal, the average amount of a down payment gift from the parents for first-time homebuyers in Canada is a cool $150K. Some 20% of Canada’s first-time homebuyers receive this amount.  

What’s more, homeowners who already owned a property and were in the market to move received $200K from the bank of mom(s) and dad(s). 


This is a figure that’s climbed alongside rising home prices in recent years in many parts of the country. In fact, the number of Canadians receiving generous down payments from their parents has virtually doubled in recent years, says Tal. 

Tal says the findings are very preliminary, and a more detailed analysis and report will follow. But, from the looks of things, the trend isn’t going to disappear. 

“It’s a trend that will continue and it will have major implications for income and inequality down the road,” says Tal. 

The parents who are helping their kids can comfortably do so, says Tal. Generally, down payment-donating parents aren’t stretching themselves thin financially to get their kids into the housing market, he says.

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“The savings rate went up dramatically during the pandemic, with the financial situation of many Canadian parents improving because their income was still there but there were fewer places to spend money,” says Tal. “They are sitting on an excess amount of cash, so the ability to provide the gift is there.”

Aside from a cash gift, some first-time homebuyers improved their down payment by leveraging a guarantor. An earlier analysis from Equifax actually shows that more parents used their personal credit to support their children buying their homes in 2020. The analysis considered increased balances on lines of credit or new personal loans of $50,000+. 

According to Equifax, the share of all homebuyers across the country that received support rose from 4.7% in 2019 to 5.5% in 2020. Increases were most noteworthy in regions that had relatively soft housing markets in 2019 but reported recent price gains including Calgary, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Winnipeg. 

Lot densification

With the average price of a home in Toronto -- across all types -- now at $1,136,280 and Vancouver at just under $2,000,000, the reality is that a generous chunk of change from parents is the only way countless young homeowners can afford the roofs over their heads. That is, aside from the set that got decent jobs right out of university and lived at home for a decade. 

With housing prices increasingly out of line with income, it’s not surprising that more than one-third of Canadians -- presumably those without financial gifts from their parents -- are giving up on the once attainable goal of home ownership.  

Either that, or relocating to more affordable parts of the country.

Real Estate News