RBC says homebuying intentions in B.C. may be cooling

    VANCOUVER, March 4 /CNW/ - According to RBC Royal Bank's 15th Annual
Homeownership Survey, the pace of homebuying in British Columbia is set to
slow as fewer B.C. residents intend to buy a home in the next two years. The
poll found that 26 per cent of B.C. residents are either "very likely" or
"somewhat likely" to buy a home, down eight per cent from 2007.
    The number of British Columbians who would "buy now" in light of elevated
house prices and unstable economic conditions, has also slipped to 47 per
cent, from 59 per cent in 2007. Nevertheless, a strong majority of BC
residents (85 per cent) still believe that buying a house or condominium is a
"good" or "very good" investment.
    "In 2008, we may see a shift in homebuying activity as purchase
intentions appear to be softening and an increased number of potential buyers
say it makes more sense to delay the purchase a home until next year," said
Kevin Lutz, regional manager, Mortgage Specialists, RBC Royal Bank. "This
change in sentiment can likely be attributed to a number of factors such as
the rise in home prices and concerns about the economy, yet British Columbians
continue to see great value in homeownership."
    Among those looking to purchase a home in the next two years, 85 per cent
said they will likely buy a resale home and 62 per cent said they would want a
detached house. While 41 per cent said they plan on buying a home larger than
their current residence, the number of those looking for a smaller home
(29 per cent) is greater in B.C. than in any other region across the country.
    On average, B.C. homeowners approximate the value of their home at
$341,401, well above the national average of $239,560. They also estimate that
the value of their home has increased by an average of 28 per cent over the
last two years, making it among the highest percentage increases in the
    According to the poll, 17 per cent of British Columbians who plan to buy
a home in the next two years say they will choose a variable rate mortgage, up
from 14 per cent last year. However, fixed rate mortgages remain the preferred
choice with 44 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

    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 British Columbia
is +/-4.8 per cent (N=415) and the margin of error for British Columbia
homeowners is +/-6.0 per cent (N=266). 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: John Groves, RBC, (604) 668-2651; John Wright,
Ipsos Reid, (416) 324-2900

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