*Confidence appears to be seeping back into the housing market, with a majority of Canadians saying it’s a good time to buy, according to Royal Bank’s 16th Annual Homeownership Survey released earlier this month.
*Royal Bank predicts that lower prices will lure a growing percentage of Canadians back into the housing market in the next two years.
*The survey of 2,026 Canadian consumers found that 9% were “very likely” to purchase a home or condominium in 2009 or 2010, and another 18% rated the prospect of purchasing a new home as “somewhat” likely. “Additionally, almost half indicate it makes sense to buy a home now versus waiting until next year,” the survey results state.
*The survey found younger Canadians are most likely to spark an upsurge in home sales. “In the under-35 group, 48% said they plan to buy, which is up sharply from 36% last year. Renters also appear to be saying they are tired of paying someone else’s mortgage, with 38% planning to become homeowners in the next two years.”
*A report released last week by RE/MAX confirms that entry-level purchasers are now the engine driving home-buying activity in almost every major centre in Canada.
*The 2009 RE/MAX First-Time Buyers Report, highlighting first-time buying activity in 32 residential housing markets across Canada, found that improved affordability is prompting many first-time buyers to get off the fence, out of the rental, and into the market.
*“While the current economic crisis has caused some first-time buyers to either take it slowly or apply the brakes, home ownership remains a top priority for those who are able to take advantage of reduced carrying costs, rock bottom interest rates and lower house prices,” explains Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President and Regional Director, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada.
*“Affordability has greatly improved and buyers are firmly in the drivers’ seat in just about every market we surveyed. The new reality is that homeownership remains well within reach for most first-time buyers,” he adds.
*The most affordable markets for detached homes, based on starting prices are: Moncton ($115,000), Charlottetown ($120,000), and Saint John ($130,000) in Eastern Canada; Windsor ($75,000), Niagara Falls ($119,000), and St Catharines ($125,000) in Ontario; Winnipeg ($185,000), Saskatoon ($190,000), and Regina ($210,000) in Western Canada.
*The United States’ recession will “probably” end this year if the government succeeds in bolstering the banking system, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Sunday in a rare television interview.
*In carefully hedged remarks in a taped interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes”, Bernanke seemed to express a bit more optimism that this could be done. Still, Bernanke stressed – as he did to Congress last month – that the prospects for the recession ending this year and a recovery taking root next year hinge on a difficult task: getting banks to lend more freely again and getting the financial markets to work more normally. – Toronto Star