More than half of Canadians would wait a year to buy a home: poll

As buyers continue to sit on the sidelines, poll uncovers reasons for waiting, plus other homebuyer trends

With home sales in major cities such as Metro Vancouver way down, a new poll has asked Canadians whether they are waiting to buy a home  and why.

More than half (56 per cent) of respondents polled by Ipsos for the annual RBC Home Ownership Poll said they thought it would be better to wait a year or more before buying a home.

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Of those, 54 per cent say it is because they expect home prices to fall over the next year – a number that rises to 68 per cent of British Columbians waiting to buy. In addition, 47 per cent of Canadians waiting to buy cite uncertainty in the market as their reason.

Some 44 per cent of poll respondents who are waiting to buy a home say they would potentially wait for two years or longer. This figure rises among 18-34-year-olds to 55 per cent.

However, despite the wait-and-see approach, the Canadians polled largely have faith in real estate as a good investment and a better financial decision than renting. Just over eight out of 10 Canadians said a home or condominium purchase is still a good investment, while two-thirds (66 per cent) of Canadians said they feel it makes more sense to buy than rent.

The poll also found that Canadians are well positioned to handle a potential downturn in housing prices (71 per cent) or an increase in interest rates (63 per cent).

And although many Canadians are waiting to buy a home until they see where the market goes, more than half of first-time homebuyer respondents (56 per cent) said they may buy sooner than later because of fears of future interest rate hikes.

The poll also looked at other homebuyer trends, and found that buying a home with a partner or spouse has been steadily declining (42 per cent versus 49 per cent in 2017), while purchasing a home alone is increasing (32 per cent versus 29 per cent in 2017).

Nicole Wells, vice-president of Home Equity Financing at RBC, said, ”We’re seeing a fundamental contrast in who's at the buying table. There is a surge in confident, in-control solo home buyers and, on the polar opposite end, those who are saying they can't do it alone and need the assistance of family."

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