Alberta may see slowdown in homebuying, finds RBC Survey

    CALGARY, March 4 /CNW/ - Homebuying intentions in Alberta appear to be
cooling, according to RBC Royal Bank's 15th Annual Homeownership Survey. The
poll found that eight per cent of Alberta residents said they are "very
likely" to buy a home, down four per cent from 2007, while those who said they
are "somewhat likely" to buy fell three percentage points from last year.
    The poll also found that given current house prices and economic
conditions, the number of Albertans who would "buy now" rather than wait until
next year has also dropped from 52 per cent in 2007 to 38 per cent. Despite
this, a large majority of Alberta residents continue to see great value in
homeownership, with 83 per cent saying that buying a house or condominium is a
"good" or "very good" investment.
    "While purchase intentions in Alberta remain the highest in the country,
we may see a slight cooling as potential homebuyers decide to sit tight this
year," said Don Peard, vice-president, Mortgage Specialists, RBC. "We can
attribute this shift in sentiment in part to the hot housing market that has
caused home values to skyrocket. Nevertheless, Albertans remain very confident
that buying a home is a smart, worthwhile investment."
    Among those looking to buy within the next two years, 75 per cent said
they will likely purchase a resale home and 68 per cent said they would opt
for a detached house. Albertans are also intent on moving up, with 57 per cent
saying they plan on buying a home larger than their current residence, and
only 11 per cent looking to downsize.
    On average, Alberta homeowners approximate the market value of their
homes at $350,603, well above the national average of $239,560. In fact,
Albertans estimate that the average value of homes in the province has
increased by 44 per cent over the last two years - the highest percentage
increase across Canada.
    According to the poll, 12 per cent of Albertans who plan to buy a home in
the next two years will choose a variable rate mortgage, which is up
significantly from five per cent the previous year. However, fixed rate
mortgages remain the preferred choice with almost half (49 per cent) of
respondents planning to lock in their rate. Thirty-nine per cent said they
plan to choose a combination of both fixed and variable.

    Regional Differences             Nat    BC    AB SK/MB    ON    QC    AT
    Own A Home                       64%   64%   65%   73%   67%   51%   74%
    Percentage of Homeowners Who
     Have a Mortgage                 62%   62%   62%   47%   63%   66%   57%
    Owners and Renters Very Likely
     to Purchase a Home in the Next
     Two Years                        7%    7%    8%    9%    7%    7%    5%
    Believe Mortgage Rates Will Be
     Higher in One Year's Time       46%   49%   38%   48%   49%   41%   48%
    Believe Housing Prices Will Be
     Higher in One Year's Time       56%   58%   39%   65%   61%   50%   64%
    Homebuyers Likely to choose a
     Fixed Rate Mortgage on their
     new home                        49%   44%   49%   42%   51%   51%   42%
    Homebuyers Planning to Purchase
     a Detached Home                 70%   62%   68%   71%   70%   74%   75%
    Homebuyers Planning to Buy a
     Bigger Home                     52%   41%   57%   57%   46%   63%   50%
    Homebuyers Planning to Buy
     Resale Home                     76%   85%   75%   79%   77%   65%   83%
    Homebuyers Planning to Buy a
     New Home                        24%   15%   25%   21%   23%   35%   17%

    These are some of the findings of an RBC poll conducted by Ipsos Reid
between January 17 and 21, 2008. The online survey is based on a randomly
selected representative sample of 3,023 adult Canadians. With a sample of this
size, the results are considered accurate to within +/-1.8 percentage points,
19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian
population been polled. The margin of error for residents of Alberta is +/-6.0
per cent (N=268) and the margin of error for Alberta homeowners is +/-7.4 per
cent (N=175). The margin of error will be larger for other sub-groupings of
the population. These data were statistically weighted to ensure the sample's
regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian
population according to the 2006 Census data.

    For full tabular results, please see the Ipsos Reid website at

For further information:

For further information: Jackie Braden, RBC, (416) 974-2124; John
Wright, Ipsos Reid, (416) 324-2900

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