Homeownership a Major Priority For New Canadian Immigrants

    Genworth Report: Half Purchase a Home within Three Years of Arrival

    TORONTO, Dec. 6 /CNW/ - Just over one half (52 per cent) of new
immigrants to Canada have already purchased a home and did so, on average,
within three years of arriving in the country, according to a new study
released today by Genworth Financial Canada, The Homeownership Company, a
subsidiary of Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE:  GNW).
    Genworth's fall First-Time Homebuyer Monitor documents a strong desire by
recent immigrants to own a home of their own, with 91 per cent saying that
purchasing a home is either very or somewhat important to them. Reasons
included a "good investment," "having children", "needing more space" and
"owning gives you a feeling of pride."
    The report is based on the experiences of Canadian immigrants polled in
Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa-Gatineau who have come to
Canada within the last 10 years.
    "This study illustrates how critically important the dream of
homeownership is to recent immigrants to Canada," said Peter Vukanovich,
president of Genworth Financial Canada. "Lenders, builders and realtors have
done a good job serving this market, but we need to provide even more
information about the home buying process so those new to Canada understand
the options available to them before making this major decision."
    Genworth has added a new Guide specifically designed for immigrant buyers
to the homebuyer tools already available at www.genworth.ca. This Guide is
available in Farsi, Spanish, Korean, Chinese and Punjabi. It builds on
Genworth's existing New To Canada Mortgage Insurance Program, which allows
those who've immigrated to Canada within the last 36 months to purchase a home
with as little as three per cent down payment.
    The new online Guide was specially designed in consultation with
University of Alberta Professor Michael Haan, a leading expert on the
immigrant homeownership experience in Canada.
    "The information Genworth is releasing today marks an important step in
our understanding of how immigrants experience the housing market in Canada,"
Professor Haan said. "Some international academic studies have strongly
suggested that immigrants place a higher importance (than native-born
residents) on homeownership, and that they have additional incentives for
ownership, such as demonstrating success and permanency to themselves and
others. This new data illustrates that desire among Canadian immigrants."
    The survey highlighted some unique challenges facing immigrants who want
to buy a home, including:

    -   72 per cent of respondents recognized that buying a home without a
        credit history in Canada is a barrier.
    -   Two-thirds (66 per cent) said they lacked information about financing
    -   Over three quarters of respondents (77 per cent) said that finding a
        job in Canada that suits the level of education they attained in
        their country of origin was a problem.
    -   Almost half of respondents (45 per cent) said it is difficult to find
        information about financing a home purchase that is available in a
        language that is easy for them to understand.

    Respondents also shared some concerns common among all homebuyers,
including high housing costs (90 per cent), and saving for a downpayment
(83 per cent).
    "This new study highlights some of the challenges that remain in the
homebuying process for new immigrants. But make no mistake, as this study
shows, buying a home is a very important goal for most new immigrants. I see
that on a daily basis," said Toronto real estate agent Bill Thom, who
specializes in serving clients in Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese, & Toisan.
    The Genworth First-Time Homebuyer's Monitor is based on a telephone
survey conducted between September 17 and October 3, 2007 among 418 new
immigrants living in the five census metropolitan areas (CMAs) identified by
Statistics Canada as having the largest proportion of new immigrants: Toronto,
Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa-Gatineau. Results of this survey are
accurate to within +/- 4.8%, 19 times out of 20. The full Genworth Financial
First-Time Homebuyer's Monitor is available at www.genworth.ca.

    About Genworth Financial Canada:

    Genworth Financial Canada, The Homeownership Company, works with lenders,
mortgage brokers, real estate agents and builders to make homeownership more
affordable and accessible throughout Canada. The company combines global
experience in mortgage insurance with technological and service leadership to
deliver innovation to the mortgage marketplace.
    In addition to releasing two First-Time Homebuyer's Monitor reports
annually, Genworth Financial Canada also issues reports on Canada's housing
market in spring, summer and fall; and on Canada's condo market in winter and
summer; all in conjunction with the Conference Board of Canada. Our intention
is to educate and provide useful information to consumers, homeowners, future
first-time homebuyers and governments. We believe homeowners and homebuyers
require up-to-date information about Canada's housing market to make informed
decisions about homeownership, for many the most important investment of their
lifetime. Genworth Financial Canada also listens to homebuyers about their
challenges and concerns, to make us better informed about how we can offer
products that help Canadians realize the dream of homeownership.
    Additional information about Genworth Financial Canada is available at
www.genworth.ca or through mortgage lenders.

    About Genworth Financial

    Genworth is a leading financial security company meeting the retirement,
longevity, lifestyle protection, investment and mortgage insurance needs of
over 15 million customers. It has a presence in more than 25 countries,
including the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand,
the United Kingdom and 17 other European countries. For more information,
visit genworth.com.

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange interviews: Sherri Leclair,
Genworth Financial Canada, Marketing/Communications Leader, (905) 287-5408 or

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