Over the past two years Canada has experienced a number of economic factors that have affected our housing market and caused a fair amount of volatility. During that time we’ve experienced the global financial crisis, a major recession that eliminated 430,000 jobs across Canada, the introduction of HST in Ontario and B.C., the tightening of mortgage rules by the Federal government not once but twice, and the positive impact of significant cuts in interest rates.
Today in contrast, the Canadian economy is on a more solid footing and is expected to gather strength in 2011 which will boost both employment and family incomes. While this good news would normally propel housing market activity higher, RBC anticipates that stimulus will be offset by the Bank of Canada raising interest rates by 1 percentage point this year and 1.5 percentage points next year. In addition, this past January 17th Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced a third round of rule changes to government-insured mortgages – including a decrease in the maximum amortization period from 35 to 30 years, effective in March – which is expected to dampen home buying activity slightly later this year.
Based on these factors, RBC expects the Canadian housing resale market to remain mostly flat this year and next with only minor increases in housing prices of 0.5% in 2011 and 1.3% in 2012 (see RBC Economics Research’s report Canadian home resale market outlook: moderation, moderation, moderation). While the upcoming changes to mortgage rules may boost activity somewhat prior to their introduction date, this would most likely bring forward home sales that otherwise would have happened later in the year.
What does this mean for you?
With interest rates soon to rise again and house prices relatively stable, now may be a good time to enter the market if you are considering a home purchase. By taking advantage of still exceptionally low interest rates you may be in a position to lock in lower mortgage payments than you will be able to a year or more from now.
Contact me, Angela Slager, today and I can connect you with local mortgage specialists who can help you determine a strategy that fits you and your future.
(l. schultz, rbc mortgage specialist)