Home buying momentum in Canada continues to gain steam with the portion of Canadians who are very likely to purchase a home in the next two years rising to 10 per cent from seven per cent two years ago, according to the 17th Annual RBC Homeownership Study. Younger Canadians, aged 18 to 24, will lead the charge this year, with those very likely to buy almost doubling to 15 per cent from eight per cent in 2009.
The RBC study conducted by Ipsos Reid found that 91 per cent of Canadians homeowners believe a home is a good investment, the highest level in 12 years, and one-quarter (26 per cent) expect their home to be their primary source of income when they retire.
“With the Canadian housing market showing continued vigour, it’s not surprising that Canadians feel more confident in the long-term value of owning a home,” said Robert Hogue, senior economist, RBC. “Exceptionally low mortgage rates and improved affordability have been key reasons for the resurgence in the housing market this past year.”
Most Canadians who intend to buy a new home in the next two years are planning to take a fixed rate mortgage (44 per cent). However, combination mortgages had the highest increase in popularity this year, with 40 per cent intending to take both a variable and fixed rate component, up from 32 per cent last 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.”
“The expectation of higher mortgage rates on the horizon could be motivating buying intentions this year. But it’s important that homeowners – especially first time buyers – get solid advice about what they can afford, not only today, but down the road,” added Moffat.
In addition to seeking customized advice from a financial advisor, Moffat provides the following tips:
- Lock in your rate when you apply for your mortgage.
- “Stress test” your mortgage for rate increases.
- For first time home buyers, leave some wiggle room.
For homeowners renewing their mortgage:
- Take advantage of early renewal options.
- Consider a combination (hybrid) mortgage to manage your interest costs.
Canadians can visit the new RBC Advice Centre www.rbcadvicecentre.com/ to stress test their mortgage for potential rate increases. The RBC Advice Centre is an online resource that gives Canadians access to advice about all aspects of their finances including their homeownership goals. With the guidance of RBC mortgage specialists, Canadians have access to free, no-obligation professional advice and personalized one-on-one service about RBC mortgage products and services.