Home buying expected to increase in Canada

Economy hasn't affected overall confidence: Study

 In spite of the economic downturn, most Canadians still believe it is a homebuyer's market, with more first timers planning on purchasing their own homes, according to a study released Wednesday by the Royal Bank of Canada.

"The current economic environment does not appear to have dampened Canadians' overall confidence in the housing market," said Royal Bank spokeswoman Karen Leggett. "Canadians continue to have an overwhelming belief in the long-term value of a home and we're seeing this in the buying intentions of many first time homebuyers this year."

In its 16th annual RBC home ownership survey, 65% of Canadians said they it's a buyer's market, with 27% saying they intend to buy a new home over the next two years.

RBC said that's up from 23% in 2008.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos Reid, shows that almost half of respondents, 48%, said it makes sense to buy a home now instead of waiting until next year.

Younger Canadians, those under 35 years old, are most likely to spark an upsurge in homes sales, with 48% saying they plan to buy a home. That's up sharply from 36% last year.

And renters appear to be saying they're tired of paying someone else's mortgage.

The survey shows 38% of the renters plan on becoming homeowners in the next two years.

"Low mortgage rates and favourable housing prices are influencing home purchase intentions this year and may be the reason why more Canadians are poised to purchase over the next two years," RBCsaid.

A large majority of Canadians, 83%, remain positive that home ownership is a good investment. While that is down slightly from 85% in 2008 and from the all-time high of 90% in 2006.

In a marked change from last year, 54% of Canadians said they believe housing prices will be lower in 2009, up from 31% in 2008.

The survey found that home-buying intentions in British Columbia remain unchanged from last year, with 26% of residents saying they intend to buy in the next two years. A majority, 55% think it makes more sense to wait until next year to purchase a home.

In Quebec, 22% of respondents said they are likely to purchase a home within the next two years, up from 21% in 2008 and 19% in 2007.

In Ontario, home-buying intentions have increased over last year, with 30% saying they are likely to purchase a home within the next two years. That's up from 21% in 2008.

Likewise in Alberta, where the survey found 35% of Albertans were likely to purchase a home within the next two years, well above the national average of 27% and up from 29% in 2008.

RBC is also predicting increased home-buying activity in Atlantic Canada, where 25% indicated they were likely to purchase a home within the next two years, up from 20% in 2008 and 24% in 2007.

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