Monday, March 9, 2009

Buyers ready to spend big in British Columbia

B.C. residents see ownership benefits, but most will wait a year

Seventy-eight per cent of B.C. residents -- the highest percentage in Canada -- believe they're in the midst of a buyer's market, according to a new Royal Bank of Canada survey.

Homebuying intentions in B.C. have shown no change from last year, with 26 per cent of residents planning to buy in the next two years, the bank said yesterday.

Still, 55 per cent believe it makes more sense to wait until next year to buy a home rather than purchase now, according to the survey done for the bank by Ipsos-Reid.

"Based on these figures, most British Columbians believe that the time is right for buyers and most remain largely confident that the long-term value in a home makes for a good purchase," RBC spokesman Kevin Lutz said.

Eighty-one per cent of people surveyed in B.C. believe that buying a home is a good or very good investment, the poll found.

B.C. homeowners estimate the value of their home at an average of $355,571 -- the highest average home value in the country.

On average, B.C. residents estimate the value of their homes rose 10 per cent in the last two years.

Nationally, most Canadians also believe it is a buyer's market, with more first timers planning on purchasing their own homes, RBC said.

"The current economic environment does not appear to have dampened Canadians' overall confidence in the housing market," RBC spokeswoman Karen Leggett said.

Sixty-five per cent of Canadians said they believe it's a buyer's market, with 27 per cent saying they plan to buy a new home over the next two years. That's up from 23 per cent in 2008.
At 48 per cent, almost half of respondents said it makes sense to buy a home now instead of waiting until next year.

Younger Canadians, those under 35 years old, are most likely to spark an upsurge in homes sales, with 48 per cent planning to buy a home, up from 36 per cent last year.

Renters appear to be tired of paying someone else's mortgage.

The survey shows 38 per cent of the renters plan on becoming homeowners in the next two years.

"Low mortgage rates and favourable housing prices are influencing home purchase intentions this year and may be the reason why more Canadians are poised to purchase over the next two years," RBC said.

A large majority of Canadians, 83 per cent, remain positive that home ownership is a good investment.

In a marked change from last year, 54 per cent of Canadians believe housing prices will be lower in 2009, up from 31 per cent in 2008.

Financial Post, with files from Business Reporter

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