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RBC study finds energy efficient features important consideration for potential home buyers this year

TORONTO, March 25, 2009 — According to the 16th Annual RBC Homeownership Study, almost all (95 per cent) Canadians said that low energy consumption is an important consideration when buying a home. Energy efficiency is rated just as important as the look and appearance of the home, cited by 94 per cent.

"Our study indicates that low mortgage rates and favourable housing prices are definitely influencing buying intentions this year," said Karen Leggett, head, Home Equity Financing, RBC Royal Bank. "But in today's economy, we're also seeing that many Canadians are increasingly mindful of longer term home features that will reduce their monthly energy costs."

An overwhelming 93 per cent of those planning to buy a home in the next two years are in favour of having a standardized energy rating available for all homes and three-quarters (77 per cent) also believe that environment friendly features are important factors to be considered when buying a home.

Downsizing is also gaining steam with 27 per cent of potential home buyers intending to buy a smaller home in the next two years, which is up significantly from 19 per cent in 2008, and 14 per cent a decade ago. Despite the shift towards downsizing, detached homes still remain the preferred choice (68 per cent) for Canadians looking to buy in the next two years, followed by condominiums and lofts (12 per cent), townhouses (eight per cent) and semi-detached homes (six per cent).

"Whether you choose to downsize or improve the energy efficiency of your home, there are a number of ways Canadians can save costs. One recommendation is a home energy audit and RBC is offering a $300 rebate on an audit with our energy saver mortgage," added Leggett.

RBC's Energy Saver Mortgage provides financial tools and advice to help Canadians determine the options that will provide homeowners with a greater return on their investment, through lowered utility costs and future higher resale value www.rbc.com/energysaver.

RBC is also the proud sponsor of "Now House" - part of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's Equilibrium™ sustainable housing initiative. Designed to generate as much energy as it uses, the "Now House" is a retrofit of a 60-year-old war time house. It features sustainable building technologies such as upgraded insulation, reduced air leakage, new windows, radiant floor heating, and the installation of solar panels and provides a real example of how you can take a typical, inefficient house and make changes to increase its energy and water efficiency. To learn more about the "Now House" visit, www.rbc.com/nowhouse.

These are some of the findings of an RBC poll conducted by Ipsos Reid between January 6 to 9, 2009. The online survey is based on a randomly selected representative sample of 2,026 adult Canadians. With a representative sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ±2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were statistically weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2006 Census data.

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Media contacts:

Kerry Gaetano, (905) 816-5583;
Jacqui van der Jagt 416 974-1756

Ipsos Reid
Sean Simpson, (416) 572-4474

For full tabular results, please see the Ipsos Reid website at www.ipsos.ca.


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03/25/2009 09:07:59