April 5, 2012 / 10:04 AM / 5 years ago

Most Canadians plan no home buying in next 2 yrs-RBC

* Survey shows 73 pct unlikely to buy in next 2 years
    * 47 pct expect prices to rise in the next year

    By Jon Cook	
    TORONTO, April 5 (Reuters) - A growing majority of Canadians
do not intend to buy a house in the next two years, even with
mortgage rates near record lows, according to a Royal Bank of
Canada survey released on Thursday.	
    In RBC's annual poll of Canadian homeowners, 73 percent of
respondents said they are unlikely to buy within the next two
years, an increase of 2 percent over the previous year's survey.	
    However, 46 percent of those polled expected mortgage rates
to stay at ultra-low levels next year, up sharply from 30
percent in 2011. The poll also found that nearly 60 percent felt
this year was a good time to buy a house, compared to 41 percent
that felt 2013 would be better.	
    "Canadians still feel confident about real estate but are a
little uncertain about where the market is heading and when it
makes sense to buy," said Marcia Moffat, head of home equity
financing at RBC.	
    Moffat added that considerations such as affordability may
be keeping potential home buyers on the sidelines.	
    Canadian policymakers and economists have fretted about
rising housing prices as household debt levels have soared. The
ratio of debt to personal disposable income hit a record 151.9
percent last year.	
    The market has been sustained by ultra-low interest rates
since the financial crisis began in 2008. The Bank of Canada is
widely expected to keep its main policy rate at the current 1
percent until the third quarter of 2013 as global economic
growth remains subdued. 	
    Earlier this week, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney
warned that household spending relies too much on low borrowing
rates and the high value of homes, which prompted traders to
increase bets on a rate hike in late 2012. 	
    Recent industry data showed overall home prices rose just
0.1 percent in January from December, but were up 6.5 percent
from a year earlier. 	
    In the RBC poll, 68 percent of homeowners said the value of
their home had increased in the last two years, but only 47
percent expected prices to be higher a year from now.	
    The poll was conducted by Ipsos Reid between January 24 and
30.

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