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Increased confidence in housing market in Manitoba
Apr 09, 2009

Confidence in the housing market has increased in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, according to a new survey.

The 16th annual RBC Homeownership Survey  said 25 per cent of residents in Saskatchewan and Manitoba intend to buy in the next two years, compared with 21 per cent in 2008. However, a majority at 60 per cent think it makes more sense to wait until next year to buy. 

 “This year, we’re seeing an overall increase in buying intentions in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, which is in line with most other regions in Canada,” said Richard Schwan, regional vice-president of mortgage specialists and investment retirement planners for RBC. 

“However, only one-third of residents believe the current market offers an advantage to buyers, so many might be waiting for prices to moderate.” 

According to the survey, 83 per cent of those polled in Saskatchewan and Manitoba said that buying a home is a good or very good investment. On average, homeowners value their home at approximately $193,653. 

On average, they also estimate that the value of their homes increased 35 per cent over the last two years. 

 The poll, conducted for RBC by Ipsos Reid, also found that only 34 per cent of  residents in Saskatchewan and Manitoba believe that buyers currently have the advantage — the lowest figure in Canada. 

Among those who plan to purchase this year or next, 51 per cent said they will do so because their current home does not meet their needs. Forty-one per cent said they will purchase to own a bigger home, and another 36 per cent cited attractive house prices. Sixty per cent said they plan to purchase resale and most will opt for a detached house. 

Future Saskatchewan and Manitoba home buyers responded overwhelmingly  when asked whether environmental considerations would weigh on their purchase decision. Eighty-eight per cent said that buying a home with environmentally-friendly features was important to them, and 97 per cent of those surveyed were interested in having standardized energy ratings for their homes. 

According to the survey, 65 per cent of Canadians think it’s a buyers market right now and just over a quarter say they intend to purchase a home over the next two years, up four points from 23 per cent in 2008, which is the largest single year increase since 2001. In addition, almost half indicate it makes sense to buy a home now versus next year.

The RBC survey found that younger Canadians are most likely to spark an upsurge in home sales. In the under 35 group, 48 per cent said they plan to buy, which is up sharply from 36 per cent last year. 

Renters also appear to be saying they are tired of paying someone else’s mortgage payment, with 38 per cent planning to become homeowners in the next two years.

“The current economic environment does not appear to have dampened Canadians’ overall confidence in the housing market,” said Karen Leggett, head of home equity financing for RBC Royal Bank. “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 home buyers this year.”

Eighty-three per cent of Canadians remain positive that homeownership is a good investment. While the proportion is down slightly from 85 per cent in 2008 and from the all-time high of 90 per cent in 2006, it is 10 points stronger than it was a decade ago.

“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," added Leggett.