A steady increase in the number of Canadians intending to invest in a home further bolsters the resurgence of Canadian housing market, according to the 17th Annual RBC Homeownership Study.
The survey, which tracks Canadians’ attitudes and behaviours around home buying and home ownership, revealed 10% of Canadians are likely to buy a home in the next two years, up three percentage points from two years ago.
Leading the trend are younger Canadians — aged between 18 and 24 years — of which 15% are most likely to buy, double that of 2009.
“Exceptionally low mortgage rates and improved affordability have been key reasons for the resurgence in the housing market this past year,” said Robert Hogue, senior economist, RBC.
Other factors motivating buying intentions include the growing belief that a house is a good long-term investment — a sentiment echoed by 91% of Canadian homeowners — and low existing mortgage rates.
Many investors treat home-buying as a long-term retirement nest egg. A quarter of those polled regarded their home as their primary source of retirement income.
The study also noted a growing shift in investors’ preference for the type of mortgage they felt would better protect them from future interest rate spikes. While most Canadians intending to buy a house favoured fixed-rate mortgage, about 40% of participants intended to take out a hybrid mortgage, which splits the principal in variable and fixed-rate components. The appeal of hybrids is up eight percentage points year-over-year.
“Canadians seem to be opting for more caution this year and may be factoring in potential rate increases down the road,” said Marcia Moffat, RBC’s head of home equity financing. “Choosing a combination mortgage can take some of the guesswork out of making a decision between whether it is better to lock in to a longer-term or stay in a variable rate.”
Moffat also cautioned that “it’s important that homeowners — especially first time buyers — get solid advice about what they can afford, not only today, but down the road.”
Homebuilders have been quick to respond to the prevailing sentiment of Canadian homebuyers. According to a recent commentary from Stewart Hall, economist, HSBC Securities (Canada) Inc. “Canadian housing starts jumped 6.1% month-over-month in February to an annualized rate of 196,700 units. This is up significantly from January’s revised 185,400 units.”