RBC survey finds the majority of Atlantic Canadians say now is the time to buy

    Survey also reveals pace of homebuying slightly lower than last year

    HALIFAX, March 6 /CNW/ - Homebuying intentions in Atlantic Canada appear
to be cooling, according to RBC Royal Bank's 14th Annual Homeownership Survey.
The poll found that 10 per cent of Atlantic residents said they are "very
likely" to purchase a home in the next two years, a drop from 14 per cent last
year, but on par with the national average of 9 per cent.
    Even so, given current housing prices and economic conditions, a large
majority (68 per cent) of residents in Atlantic Canada - more than any other
region in the country - said it makes more sense to buy a home now, rather
than wait until next year. Among those who intend to buy, 37 per cent plan on
buying a home bigger than their current residence, and 70 per cent stated they
will buy resale.
    "Fewer people may be planning on purchasing a home in the next couple of
years, but the message from Atlantic Canada is clear - buy now, not later,"
said Rex Thomson, regional sales manager, Mortgages, RBC Royal Bank. "This
feeling may be attributed to a concern, among those polled, that housing
prices are on the rise and that interest rates may increase this year."
    The poll found that 58 per cent of residents in Atlantic Canada expect
housing prices will be higher by this time next year, and a majority
(56 per cent) said they are concerned about interest rate increases in 2007.
Half (49 per cent) said they expect to see mortgage rates higher in a year's
    On average, homeowners in Atlantic Canada estimate the value of their
homes at $122,378, and estimate their homes have risen in value an average of
16 per cent over the last two years. More than residents in any other region
in the country, Atlantic Canadians continue to see great value in
homeownership, with an overwhelming 96 per cent of those polled stating that
buying a house or condominium is a "good" or "very good" investment.
    The RBC poll also found that 57 per cent of Atlantic Canadians have a
mortgage on their home, with an average of only $68,294 outstanding on their
mortgages - well below the national mean of $105,558.
    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 in Atlantic Canada
is +/-7.2 per cent (N=183) and the margin of error for Atlantic Canadian
homeowners is +/-8.7 per cent (N=126). 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.

    RBC 2007 HOMEOWNERSHIP SURVEY    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 full tabular results, please see the Ipsos Reid website at

For further information:

For further information: Lori Smith, RBC, (902) 421-8121; John Wright,
Ipsos Reid, (416) 324-2900

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