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Survey of Prospective Home Buyers Indicates Move Away From Rentals, Desire to Save
In October 2017, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) surveyed 2,507 prospective home buyers online. Respondents were all prime household decision-makers who intend to purchase a new home within the next two years, including approximately 1,500 First-Time Buyers, 500 current owners, and 500 previous owners.
The survey results highlight a few key trends, primarily a desire to stop renting and a need to save for a downpayment and mortgage. The survey indicates the following trends in prospective home buyers:
Moving away from rentals: The top motivator for First-Time Buyers and Previous Owners to purchase a home was the desire to stop renting. Also high on the list was improved accessibility and the investment opportunity buying a house presents.
Searching for the perfect home: Over four-in-ten First-Time Buyers and Previous Owners say they would delay their home purchase if they were not able to find their ideal home, but a similar amount say they would be willing to compromise on several factors to purchase a home in the time frame desired.
New mortgages: The majority of future home buyers intend to obtain a mortgage to finance their home purchase, with First-Time Buyers showing higher incidence compared to Previous Owners and Current Owners.
Managing money: The majority of all future home buyers say they are likely to have a financial buffer in case their expenses change in the future. Furthermore, the majority of future home buyers, especially Current Owners, agree that they feel confident they have the necessary tools and information to manage their mortgage and debt load.
Saving for the future: Among all groups, saving for a down payment and determining what type of home to buy were the two most common actions completed one to two years prior to the purchase of a home.
Interest hikes: About one-in-four prospective home buyers stated that they would be very likely to consider delaying their purchase in the event of an increase in interest rates.
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Building permits up in Western Canada, down east of Manitoba
Four provinces reported increases in March, led by British Columbia with an increase of 12.8% (+$180 million). Meanwhile, all provinces east of Manitoba reported declines. The largest decrease was in Ontario, down 1.4% (-$43 million) due to lower construction intentions in the residential sector.
Quebec drives movement in non-residential permits. The national value of permits for non-residential buildings rose 7.9% in March, due to higher construction intentions for both institutional (+$175 million) and commercial (+$166 million) buildings. Gains in both of these components stemmed from Quebec. A high value permit for an addition to the Centre hospitalier de lUniversit de Montral drove the increase in the institutional component.
In the industrial component, the value of permits declined 15.6% in March (-$102 million). The decrease was largely the result of lower construction intentions in Quebec, where multiple high-value permits were issued in February.
Canadian home sales edge higher in March 2019
Home sales via Canadian MLS Systems edged up 0.9% in March 2019 following a sharp drop in February, leaving activity near some of the lowest levels recorded in the last six years.
There was an even split between the number of markets where sales rose from the previous month and those where they waned. Among Canadas larger cities, activity improved in Victoria, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Oakville-Milton and Ottawa, whereas it declined in Greater Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, London and St. Thomas, Sudbury and Quebec City.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity fell 4.6% y-o-y to the weakest level for the month since 2013. It was also almost 12% below the 10-year average for March. That said, in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, sales were more than 20% below their 10-year average for the month. By contrast, activity is running well above-average in Quebec and New Brunswick.
It will be some time before policy measures announced in the recent Federal Budget designed to help first-time homebuyers take effect, said Jason Stephen, CREAs President. In the meantime, many prospective homebuyers remain sidelined by the mortgage stress-test to varying degrees depending on where they are looking to buy. All real estate is local, and REALTORS remain your best source for information about sales and listings where you live or might like to in the future, added Stephen.