Today's home buyer is confident, but cautious, according to Kelowna-based ReMax of Western Canada vice-president, Elton Ash.
"While equity-rich homeowners will be the driving force going forward nationally, we could see a resurgence of first-time buyers in British Columbia as they take advantage of softer pricing," said Kelowna-based Elton Ash, vice-president of ReMax of Western Canada.
"Between 2009 and 2011, first-time buyers were the engine driving housing activity, taking advantage of favourable conditions and a recovering economy."
What slowed first-time buyers in 2012 was tough new mortgage rules requiring more down payment and shorter amortization.
Even though mortgage interest rates remained low, the new rules bumped many potential first-time buyers from the market.
However, first-time buyers aren't giving up.
They are expected to make up 29 per cent of buyers in 2013.
As well, 18 per cent of buyers are single.
To meet mortgage rules and keep monthly payments affordable, many first-time and single buyers will opt for homes priced under $250,000.
In Kelowna, that means a condominium, priced right now at an average $239,800.
Single family homes are selling at an average $467,800 in the city, townhouses $344,700 and half-duplexes $323,700.
In 2008, the average selling price of single-family house in Kelowna hit a high of $550,000.
This year will not be heady like the free-spending boom years 2004-08.
But 71 per cent have confidence that house prices will remain the same or go up in 2013.
"Recent global events - in concert with new mortgage finance rules - have fuelled a more conservative mindset that will serve Canadians well moving forward," said Ash.
"It seems the lessons of excess are being heeded."
Twenty-eight per cent of buyers will be moving into their second home and 40 per cent will be moving into at least their third home.
That means they're selling a home, and even with recent dips in values, they probably have built up quite a bit of equity, which can be plowed into the down payment for the next house.
"As a result, they're clearly in a stronger financial position," said Ash.
"They're also more cautious, as demonstrated by our survey findings. Many are downsizing or making lateral moves."
Of those making a down payment of 30 per cent or more, most are older and have sold a property with equity.
However, younger buyers are also proving to be good savers, with 40 per cent of buyers aged 18-34 able to come up with a down payment of 20 per cent or more.
Fourteen per cent of all buyers put 10 per cent down and seven per cent do the minimum five per cent down.
However, to afford a home - both down payment, ongoing mortgage, utilities and maintenance - people have to have pretty good incomes.
Twenty-eight per cent of buyers will be able to purchase with a household income of less that $50,000 a year, but 36 per cent will have household incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 and 27 per cent will be pulling in more than $100,000 a year.