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"You better buy a house in this market before it's too late."

How many times have you heard those words? The panic thinking is driven partially by prices continuing to rise to record levels but also by the sense that near-record-low interest rates could rise at any moment.

The sense of desperation is to buy now out of fear you won't be able to get it tomorrow.

It's hard to measure desperation, but a recent survey from Toronto-Dominion Bank on first-time homebuyers might imply there is some urgency in the marketplace.

The survey found 45% of Canadians are willing to buy their home independently without a co-signer. Traditionally people wait until they are married to buy that first home but now they want to establish equity early so they can get their foot in the market.

More worrisome out of the TD report was the statistic that buyers are doing less research before jumping in. The bank said mortgage pre-approvals are down to 72% from 84% a year ago and home inspections have dropped from 85% to 67% during the same period. The report also shows declining percentages for buyers researching issues like electricity and closing costs.

Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets, says the Bank of Canada is partly to blame for some of the urgency in the market because of the uncertainty over rates.

"People feel the window is closing," Mr. Tal says. "People have been talking about the Bank of Canada raising rates. They look and say rates will be one or 1.5% [percentages points higher] next year. There is some logic to it."

He adds that if you look at trends over the past 20 years on what happens before rate announcements, you see an acceleration of activity before the announcement.

Source: Garry Marr, Financial Post

If you, like most people, are unsure about whether to buy or sell or wait ... please feel free to talk to me.

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