Canadian confidence in housing market running low: poll

Even though owning a home is still widely seen as an important life milestone, most people – even homeowners – don’t feel confident in today's real estate market

Even though owning a home is still widely seen as an important life milestone, most Canadians are not confident in the current real estate market, according to a new poll released December 12 by real estate website Zoocasa.

Overall, only 37 per cent of respondents said they are confident in today’s housing market, the survey found. The proportion was higher among long-term homeowners (owned for 10 years or more), 50 per cent of whom have confidence in the market; this drops to 45 per cent among short-term homeowners and just 16 per cent among current renters.

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Buying real estate is usually perceived to be among the safest financial investments – and this is true, according to 68 per cent of long-term homeowners, who entered the market before the recent boom in prices. However, less than half (47 per cent) of short-term homeowners and only 30 per cent of renters said they feel the same way.

Although there is still a lingering perception that it’s better to pay into a mortgage than pay rent, most respondents disagreed with this idea – even homeowners. Just over one-third (36 per cent) of renters agreed with the statement that “paying rent is a waste of money,” and less than half (49 per cent) of homeowners agreed.  

Homeownership goals

Despite the lack of confidence in the market, homeownership was still held up as a major life goal by most Canadians, with 74 per cent of all respondents agreeing that it is an important life milestone. And 89 per cent of all homeowner respondents disagreed with the statement that they regret becoming a homeowner.

Still, only one quarter of homeowner respondents said they currently live in their dream home – and of the three-quarters who do not, 41 per cent think they will one day be able to afford their dream home. Furthermore, of those who don’t live in their dream home, 56 per cent say they will not be able to do so if current market conditions persist.

The majority (71 per cent) of Canadians agreed with the statement that the federal government should do more to improve housing affordability. That breaks down as 64 per cent of homeowner respondents, and 81 per cent of renters. Some 28 per cent of renter respondents also said that rising interest rates make them feel buying a home is out of reach.

Zoocasa said in its report, “[The survey] finds a recurring trend among existing homeowners and those aspiring to get on the property ladder: respondents who identified as long-term homeowners were most optimistic regarding the health of the market and their investment, compared to newer homeowners, and renters. In fact, those who identified as renters feel least confident overall about market conditions, their homeownership prospects, and their satisfaction with their current home.”

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