Homebuying intentions in Alberta may be slowing down, finds RBC Survey

    But a majority of Albertans still think now is the time to buy

    CALGARY, March 6 /CNW/ - Homebuying intentions in Alberta appear to be
cooling, according to RBC Royal Bank's 14th Annual Homeownership Survey. The
poll found that 12 per cent of Alberta residents said they are "very likely"
to purchase a home in the next two years, down from 18 per cent last year, but
still ahead of the national average of 9 per cent.
    Another 24 per cent said they are "somewhat likely" to buy in the next
two years - also ahead of the national average (19 per cent). Still, according
to the poll, in light of current housing prices and economic conditions,
52 per cent of Alberta residents said it makes more sense to buy a home now
rather than wait until next year. Among those who intend to buy, 43 per cent
plan on buying a home bigger than their current residence, and 76 per cent
stated they will buy a resale home.
    "Record buying seasons in Alberta over the last few years may help to
explain why purchase intentions in the province have softened," said Don
Peard, regional vice-president, Mortgage Specialists, RBC Royal Bank. "That
said, buying intentions among Albertans are still higher than the country
average, and with housing prices likely to rise even higher, many are saying
the time to buy is now."
    The poll found that 68 per cent of Alberta residents - the highest
average in the country - expect housing prices will be higher by this time
next year and 46 per cent expect to see mortgage rates higher in a year's
time. A majority (53 per cent) said they are concerned about increases in
interest rates in 2007.
    On average, homeowners in Alberta estimate the value of their homes at
$278,049. They also believe their homes have risen in value by an average of
43 per cent over the last two years - by far the highest increase in the
country, and well above the national average of 22 per cent.
    Albertans continue to see great value in homeownership, with 91 per cent
of those polled stating that buying a house or condominium is a "good" or
"very good" investment. Also according to the poll, 58 per cent of Albertans
have a mortgage on their home, with an average of $104,219 left to pay.
    These are some of the findings of an RBC poll conducted by Ipsos Reid
between January 18 and 22, 2007. The online survey is based on a randomly
selected representative sample of 2,404 adult Canadians. With a sample of this
size, the results are considered accurate to within +/-2.0 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 +/-6.4
per cent (N=235) and the margin of error for Alberta homeowners is +/-7.7 per
cent (N=161). 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 2001 Census data.

     SURVEY RESPONSES                 Nat   BC    AB   SK/MB  ON    QC    AT
    Own a home                        61%   62%   68%   66%   63%   52%   66%
    Percentage of homeowners who
     have a mortgage                  63%   65%   58%   52%   65%   64%   57%
    Homeowners who will likely
     choose a fixed rate when they
     next renew their mortgage        54%   58%   59%   69%   53%   42%   66%
    Are very likely to purchase
     a home in the next two years      9%   11%   12%   10%    9%    6%   10%
    Believe mortgage rates will be
     higher in one year's time        43%   45%   46%   43%   44%   38%   49%
    Believe housing prices will be
     higher in one year's time        59%   65%   68%   63%   62%   47%   58%
    Homeowners who have borrowed
     against the equity in
     their homes                      39%   40%   46%   46%   42%   28%   33%
    Homeowners who have refinanced
     their home in the last
     12 months                        28%   29%   29%   30%   27%   25%   29%
    Plan to buy a bigger home         48%   49%   43%   51%   47%   59%   37%
    Plan to buy resale home           77%   80%   76%   84%   76%   78%   70%

For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Cathryn Tucker, RBC, (403)
292-3970; John Wright, Ipsos Reid, (416) 324-2900; For full tabular results,
please see the Ipsos Reid website at www.ipsos.ca

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