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Majority of Canadians confident about buying a home, say housing market is more balanced: RBC Poll

TORONTO, March 9, 2011— An overwhelming majority of Canadians (90 per cent) are confident about real estate in Canada as an investment and 85 per cent feel that they are doing a good or excellent job of paying down their mortgage, according to the 18th Annual RBC Homeownership Study. Almost three-quarters of Canadians (73 per cent) believe that they or their family are well-positioned to weather a housing drop.

"Canadians believe in the long-term benefits of owning a home including the value it can provide, both personally and as a long term investment," said Marcia Moffat, RBC head of home equity financing. "Last year's survey showed that people were looking to buy ahead of rising costs. This year marks a return to more normal levels of purchase intentions and recent housing data reflects this move to a more balanced market."

Interest in purchasing a home over the next two years has declined slightly but remains high overall, as 29 per cent say it's likely they will buy. This is down two points from 2010 yet higher than any other year since 2006. Compared to last year, fewer Canadians are saying it's better to buy now (55 per cent, a drop of 12 points) than wait (45 per cent, up 12 points). Among those likely to buy, over half (57 per cent) are looking to buy within 18 to 24 months while almost one-quarter (24 per cent) are planning to buy in the next year.

The poll found that 40 per cent of Canadians feel the current housing market is balanced equally between buyers and sellers, a rise of five points over 2010. Homebuyers list rising home prices (26 per cent) as their number one concern about purchasing a home followed by rising mortgage rates (22 per cent).

"There's a lot more to owning a home than just the price, as taxes, fees and repairs can quickly add up. Online tools and calculators along with the advice of a mortgage advisor can help you be prepared for these costs while also looking at which payment features fit your financial plan," added Moffat.

Confidence is high when it comes to housing payments, as with 69 per cent saying that the value of their home has increased in the last two years, a rise of five points over last year.

Highlights from across Canada:

  • British Columbia: Interest in buying a home has remained steady in B.C. with 29 per cent of residents likely to buy a home in the next two years. B.C. leads the country in looking to buy a new home (30 per cent) rather than resale (70 per cent) and one third (34 per cent) of British Columbians are most concerned with home prices increasing, the most in Canada.

  • Alberta: Interest in purchasing a home has declined in Alberta, with one third (33 per cent) saying they are likely to buy in the next two years, down two points from last year (35 per cent). Alberta leads the country in seeing the housing market shifting towards buyers, as 57 per cent say it's a buyers market. Almost one third of home owners in the province (32 per cent) say the value of their home as decreased in the last two years, almost double any other province.

  • Prairies: Saskatchewan and Manitoba lead the country in believing that it's a sellers market, over 23 per cent higher than any other province. Purchase intentions have remained steady in the Prairies, with 29 per cent indicating they are likely to purchase a home in the next two years, up slightly from 2010 (28 per cent)

  • Ontario: Ontario leads the country in seeing the current housing market as balanced (46 per cent). The majority of Ontarians (72 per cent) say they are not likely to buy a home in the next two years, a rise of six points over 2010. Those intending to buy a home are looking longer term, with four-fifths (80 per cent) planning to purchase in the next one to two years, the highest rate in the country.

  • Quebec: Quebec leads Canada in planning to buy a bigger home (59 per cent) and feeling that the value of their home has increased in the last two years (86 per cent). Three-quarters (76 per cent) of homebuyers in Quebec intend to buy in the next one to two years.

  • Atlantic Canada: Almost three quarters of Atlantic Canadians (74 per cent) think it makes more sense to buy now than wait until next year, higher than any other province.

Interest in purchasing a home has declined over last year, with 24 per cent saying it is likely they will buy in the next two years, down two points from 2010.

Canadians can visit the new RBC Advice Centre for advice on the costs associated with purchasing a home. The RBC Advice Centre is an online resource that gives Canadians access to advice about all aspects of their finances including their homeownership goals - whether they are buying their first home, planning their next move, renovating or managing their current home financing. Advice videos are updated regularly to reflect current housing trends and to answer the questions that are top of mind with Canadian homeowners. Interactive tools and calculators provide customized information covering all facets of homeownership. With the guidance of RBC mortgage specialists, Canadians have access to free, no-obligation professional advice and personalized one-on-one service about RBC mortgage products and services.

RBC is the largest residential mortgage lender in Canada. As the country's number one source of financial advice on homeownership, RBC conducts consumer surveys as one way to provide insight to Canadians about the marketplace in which they live. These are some of the findings of the RBC's 18th Annual Homeownership poll conducted by Ipsos Reid between January 12 to17, 2011. The annual online survey tracks Canadians attitudes and behaviours around homebuying and home ownership. It is based on a randomly selected representative sample of 2,103 adult Canadians that was statistically weighted by region, age and sex composition according to the 2006 Census data. 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.

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Media contacts:
Matt Gierasimczuk, RBC Royal Bank, 416-974-2124
Elyse Lalonde, Media Relations, RBC, 416-974-8810


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