Home-buy­ing in­ten­tions jump: RBC poll

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Mike Moore

AC­CORD­ING to a re­cent RBC home own­er­ship poll, more peo­ple cur­rently liv­ing in Man­i­toba and Saskatchewan plan to buy a home in the next two years than last year. Those in­tend­ing to buy jumped to 27 per cent from 21 per cent last year, a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease. Richard Sch­wan, re­gional vice-pres­i­dent of ca­reer sales for RBC stated that the home-buy­ing in­tent was a re­flec­tion of con­sumer con­fi­dence in the Prairies. How­ever, he did warn that af­ford­abil­ity con­tin­ues to be a con­cern of the buy­ing public. It is in­ter­est­ing to note that ap­prox­i­mately half of those in­di­cat­ing a pur­chase in the near fu­ture were go­ing to do so this year while the other half were go­ing to wait another year be­fore test­ing the mar­ket. This will re­sult in a bal­anced mar­ket with sales be­ing equally strong in both 2015 and 2016. The Prairies have never been ac­cused of be­ing a boom-and-bust mar­ket. Per­cep­tion re­gard­ing mar­ket con­di­tions is a funny thing. A full 39 per cent feel we are in a bal­anced mar­ket while an equal 39 per cent feel it is a seller’s mar­ket. Another 23 per cent feel we are in a buyer’s mar­ket. Ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try stan­dards, we are in a bal­anced mar­ket in Man­i­toba. This is af­ter years of be­ing in a seller’s mar­ket. Only 19 per cent feel hous­ing prices will be lower next year while 39 per cent feel they will go up in price. The rest feel prices will re­main about the same. This statis­tic is prob­a­bly re­gion­ally split. Saskatchewan prices have been soar­ing in re­cent years and are now set­tling or even de­creas­ing in cer­tain price ranges, whereas Man­i­toba prices con­tinue to in­crease slightly each year. Whether one feels prices will go up or down, 82 per cent of Prairie re­spon­dents feel hous­ing is a good in­vest­ment. This con­fi­dence bodes well for the 43 per cent of prospec­tive home buy­ers who will be pur­chas­ing their first home. Although not high­lighted in this poll, I am cer­tain those ex­press­ing con­fi­dence would be im­pacted by the ex­cel­lent mort­gage rates that are avail­able. Fixed and vari­able rates re­main ex­tremely low with no ap­pre­cia­ble in­creases on the hori­zon. This also low­ers risk, some­thing that peo­ple on prairies have shown aver­sion to over the years. In Man­i­toba and Saskatchewan, we know a good deal when we see one. There is def­i­nitely con­cern be­ing ex­pressed about af­ford­abil­ity with the con­stant in­crease in taxes, charges and fees as­so­ci­ated with buy­ing and own­ing a home. How­ever, we also re­al­ize that this is an as­set that will con­tinue to in­crease in value, not just from an in­vest­ment stand­point, but also a lifestyle. Mike Moore is pres­i­dent of the Man­i­toba Home­builders’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

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