Single women drive high-value homebuying trend, but some markets are for sellers

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A new housing report from BMO Bank of Montreal finds the market is being fueled largely by younger women looking for good deals on new and existing homes.

More than half of Canadians surveyed for the BMO report feel housing prices are likely to rise further over the next two years. With that in mind, 27 percent of respondents said they have plans to either buy or sell a home in the next 12 months. Leading the charge are women between the ages of 18 and 34.

"Traditionally spring marks the busiest time of year for real estate – particularly here in Canada, where the market has continued to show solid signs of growth," said Katie Archdekin, head of mortgage products at BMO Bank of Montreal. "Whether you're planning to buy a single-family home or a condo, understanding the current market conditions and having a firm hold on the trends at play is essential."

The trend appears to favor luxury homes, condos and urban living, according to the report. The Toronto area is particularly strong when compared with other markets. And it's not just Canadians who are looking to buy.

"So far this spring, demand for luxury properties has been high with both domestic and international buyers," said Paul Maranger, senior vice president of sales at Sotheby's International Realty. "In Toronto, we entered 2012 with particularly tight inventory conditions across all price categories, which has given rise to multiple-offer situations that have shaped this market as one that currently favours the seller."

Canadians looking to sell their home in the booming market will first need to consider any existing mortgage they may have on their current residence. One option might be to simply pay off the existing mortgage. Some prepayment fees may apply, depending on the mortgage type, but if the remaining balance is relatively small or the seller has no plans to purchase another property, this may provide the best option.

If the home seller decides to take a mortgage to a new property, he or she may be able to refinance to a better mortgage rate. If the homeowner currently has a low mortgage rate, however, prospective buyers may be enticed by the possibility of assuming the mortgage at the low rate. Whichever path a homeowner chooses, he or she should consult with a mortgage broker to ensure the deal goes smoothly.

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