Consumer confidence buoys vacancy rates

According to a Nanos Research poll, fears over a housing bubble haven’t been strong enough to capsize homebuying dreams, something that could keep the rental market from tipping further in favour of landlords.

The poll, released this week, indicates that consumer confidence rose in December for the first time in three months, with housing sentiment leading that growth.

The results rely on a series on indices to measure survey responses, in which Canadians identified their feelings about the economy, job security, finances and real estate. The Nanos Expectations Index focused specifically on the housing market, measuring how consumers felt about the strength or weakness of the value of real estate.

That index suggests homeowners are becoming more confident of growing property values. Respondents were asked if they felt the value of real estate in their neighbourhood would increase, decrease or stay the same. The balance of opinion between those who believe it will rise versus fall rose to 20.6 in December from 17.1 the month prior.

There may be a cautionary note in there for landlords, say some analysts.

The survey comes on the heels of reports identifying falling home prices and sales across key markets. That movement has, in turn, fortified occupancy rates in urban centers. Still the fact that Canadians have remain bullish in the face of correction fears suggests the market may have reached its peak for landlords, as home-buying plans keep vacancy rates from an precipitous drop.

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