Home-buying intentions jump: RBC poll
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.