Canadians confident in ability to pay down mortgages: RBC

The report also revealed that an overwhelming majority of Canadians (90%) are confident about real estate in Canada as an investment and almost three-quarters of Canadians (73%) 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% 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%, a drop of 12 points) than wait (45%, up 12 points).

Among those likely to buy, over half (57%) are looking to buy within 18 to 24 months while almost one-quarter (24%) are planning to buy in the next year.

The poll found that 40% 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%) as their number one concern about purchasing a home followed by rising mortgage rates (22%).

Confidence is high when it comes to housing payments, as with 69% 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% 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%) rather than resale (70%) and one third (34%) 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%) saying they are likely to buy in the next two years, down two points from last year (35%). Alberta leads the country in seeing the housing market shifting towards buyers, as 57% say it’s a buyers’ market. Almost one third of home owners in the province (32%) 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 seller’s market, over 23% higher than any other province. Purchase intentions have remained steady in the Prairies, with 29% indicating they are likely to purchase a home in the next two years, up slightly from 2010 (28%)

* Ontario: Ontario leads the country in seeing the current housing market as balanced (46%). The majority of Ontarians (72%) 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%) 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%) and feeling that the value of their home has increased in the last two years (86%). Three-quarters (76%) of homebuyers in Quebec intend to buy in the next one to two years.

* Atlantic Canada: Almost three quarters of Atlantic Canadians (74%) 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% saying it is likely they will buy in the next two years, down two points from 2010.

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