Quebecers Most Confident in Canada on Strength of Housing Market: Survey



    TORONTO, Feb. 20 /CNW/ - First-time homebuyers in Quebec are the most
confident in Canada about continued strength in housing values, according to a
new report released today by Genworth Financial Canada, The Homeownership
Company, a subsidiary of Genworth Financial, Inc. (NYSE:  GNW).
    "Outside of the red-hot housing markets in Alberta and the Toronto area,
most first-time buyers say they're not hugely worried about a potential drop
in home value. Quebecers appear to be significantly more confident than
Canadians in other regions," said Peter Vukanovich, president of Genworth
Financial Canada.
    Among Canadians making their first home purchase, only about one-third
(33 per cent) of respondents surveyed for Genworth's winter First-Time
Homebuyer's Monitor were worried about a potential decline in future housing
values. In Quebec, only 19 per cent cited it as a consideration out of a list
of seven areas surveyed; property taxes, interest rates and high monthly
payments being the others ranked.
    Genworth's winter First-Time Homebuyer's Monitor provides a comprehensive
snapshot of the preferences and expectations of first-time buyers across
Canada. Property taxes, interest rates and high monthly payments were the
highest ranked among a list of seven issues first-time buyers were asked
about, while concerns that housing values might decline in the future ranked
the lowest.
    "Overall, this report illustrates that Canadians continue to have
confidence in the strength of the housing market. They take cyclical market
fluctuations in stride and are focused on the long term benefits of building
equity sooner", said Vukanovich.
    "That said, there are some issues which do concern them, such as high
monthly payments. But the good news is that there are innovative mortgage
insurance solutions available to help make homeownership more affordable," he
said.
    "Canadians are savvy shoppers, and they're looking at the bigger
financial picture," said Vukanovich. "Economic factors like monthly payments,
rising interest rates and property tax increases are playing a much greater
role in homeownership decisions - particularly among the first-time homebuyer
segment," he added.
    "Nationally, more than two thirds (68 per cent) of respondents said that
a home is the single most important investment they'll ever make. This shows
that Canadian first-time homebuyers continue to believe that buying a home
remains one of the most solid personal investments they will make in their
lifetimes, and that they understand the importance of achieving the goal of
homeownership."

    
    The Genworth survey highlighted some interesting perspectives:

    -   The most common level of down payment intended was between 5-10 per
        cent, while 25 years was the most preferred amortization term and a
        five-year mortgage term remains most popular nationally.

    -   Nationally, most first-time buyers planned to spend between
        $100,000-$199,000, except in Alberta and the Greater Toronto Area,
        where respondents cited $200,000-$299,000, and British Columbia where
        first-time buyers expected to pay $300,000-$399,000.

    -   Almost 60 per cent of first-time buyers said they'd get mortgage
        information from the Internet, including the use of online mortgage
        calculators to see what monthly payment they could afford.
    

    The full Genworth Financial First-Time Homebuyer's Monitor is available
at www.genworth.ca.

    About Genworth Financial Canada:

    Genworth Financial Canada, The Homeownership Company, works with lenders,
mortgage brokers, real estate agents and builders to make homeownership more
affordable and accessible throughout Canada. The company combines global
experience in mortgage insurance with technological and service leadership to
deliver innovation to the mortgage marketplace.
    In addition to releasing two First-Time Homebuyer's Monitor reports
annually, Genworth Financial Canada also issues reports on Canada's housing
market and condo market in winter and summer; all in conjunction with the
Conference Board of Canada. Our intention is to educate and provide useful
information to consumers, homeowners, future first-time homebuyers and
governments. We believe homeowners and homebuyers require up-to-date
information about Canada's housing market to make informed decisions about
homeownership, for many the most important investment of their lifetime.
Genworth Financial Canada also listens to homebuyers about their challenges
and concerns, to make us better informed about how we can continue to offer
innovative products that help more Canadians realize the dream of
homeownership sooner and more affordably.
    Additional information about Genworth Financial Canada is available at
www.genworth.ca or through mortgage lenders.





For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Sherri Leclair, Genworth
Financial Canada, Marketing/Communications Leader, (905) 287-5408 or
sherri.leclair@genworth.com


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