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Monday, March 9, 2009 - Softening economy has Albertans eyeing housing market

"Despite the ongoing recession, many Albertans are planning to buy a house in the near future.

According to a study released by RBC, more than two-thirds of Albertans believe it’s a buyers market. The study, which measures home buying intentions across Canada, found that the housing market plan’s of Albertans are back to 2007 levels.

Albertan confidence in the housing market is far higher than the national average in which only 65 per cent of people across Canada believe it is a buyer market.

Don Peard, vice-president of mortgage specialists at RBC, the despite the global recession people’s beliefs about home ownership have remained consistent.

“Across the country there’s no question most Canadians still view the purchase of a home to be a very good investment. That comes up crystal clear and obviously emphasised in Alberta,” said Peard.

Another statistic that indicates increased faith in the housing market is that 27 per cent of those polled said they are likely to buy a home in the next two years. That’s an increase of four points from last year and is the biggest single-year gain since 2001.

“Purchase intentions have increased due to some softening of the economy and various real estate markets across the country,” said Peard. “Obviously, we’ve seen some prices drop and secondly we’re also benefiting from some of the lowest interest rates we’ve seen in the history of lending.”

One of the positives of a weakening market is that it can bring new people into the market.

“It does improve affordability and it tends to bring some people into the market that maybe couldn’t afford a home two or three or four years ago in a Fort McMurray or an Edmonton or a Calgary,” said Peard.

In the survey, respondents were also asked if environmental considerations affected their house buying decision. In Alberta, 81 per cent said environmentally friendly features were important to them. Environmental features were described as options that would conserve energy use in a house.

“We’ve seen, probably over our last three annual housing surveys, the environmental factor is becoming foremost on more people’s minds every year. So I think that’s a positive,” said Peard.

The survey was conducted with a sample of 2,026 Canadian adults and the results are considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 per cent."

Written by ROLAND CILLIERS, Ft McMurray Today
posted in General at Mon, 09 Mar 2009 21:10:44 +0000

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