The 20th Annual RBC Homeownership Poll quizzed local residents about their feelings towards the market. Of those polled, 88 per cent said buying a condo or a house is a good investment. The findings are on par with confidence in Alberta, which is at 89 per cent mark. So why are people confident in these markets, compared with others?
“I would say that the confidence has reflected the strength of the economy, and the inward migration of people from other parts of the country and the world in the last 3-4 years,” says Jeff Trapp, an investor with long-term hold properties in the Saskatchewan market. “The economy here never really saw that economic downturn in 2008/2009.”
Jobs and industry have reduced emigration and increased immigration to the area in recent years, but Trapp also points to the physical geography of Saskatchewan as a contributing factor to it’s current performance. While condo markets in the east and west are dwindling and values have taken downturns, central Saskatchewan and Manitoba have remained relatively unfazed.
According to Richard Schwan, regional vice-president responsible for mortgage specialists at RBC, consumer confidence isn’t likely to wane any time soon.
"Saskatchewan and Manitoba experienced one of the most robust periods of housing activity in the country recently,” he says. “It makes sense that residents are assessing current conditions and their options, and taking a wait-and-see approach compared to other areas in Canada. The good news is that they have tremendous confidence in the long-term value of their home."
“The wait-and-see approach” is reference to the fact that although market conditions are faring better than the national average and confidence is up, the majority of Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents are in no hurry to buy. In fact, almost 60 per cent of residents will wait until 2014 to buy – leaving the door wide open for investors to monopolize the buying market in the immediate future. For Trapp, now is the time investors should be looking to explore the Prairies further, before home buying activity picks up. “There are deals in all markets if you’re looking,” he says. “But in my opinion, the values (in Saskatchewan) will withstand ebbs and tides – they already have. I’m a long term investor, and I think there’s huge value in owning property in Saskatchewan.
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