Are you thinking about helping your adult kid buy his or her first home? If you are, you're not alone. Here, some key things to consider.

More than a quarter of first-time home buyers in Canada got financial help from their families by way of either a loan or a gift, according to a recent survey by Genworth MI Canada Inc., the country's largest private mortgage insurer.

With skyrocketing housing costs in cities like Vancouver and Toronto, it's understandable that coming up with a down payment on even a modest home can be a challenge.

"This is a very important subject," says Scott Hannah, President and CEO of the Vancouver-based Credit Counselling Society. "There's lots to think about, but everyone needs to remember there is a huge difference between feeling obligated and being obligated."

Parents who can realistically afford to help with a down payment should consider a number of important factors, the first of which is whether that help would be a loan or a gift. Hannah says he personally prefers the gift option since he's seen too many relationships fall apart over repayment issues. And he also prefers smaller gifts over bigger loans – but only under certain circumstances.

Click through for the key things Hannah says parents need to think about when deciding whether to help out with home ownership.

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