Despite concern that worst is yet to come with COVID-19, Canadians believe house prices will only go up: RBC poll

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      Many Canadians believe that the worst is yet to come with the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

      Yet in the face of this grim scenario, they continue to bank on the strength of the housing market.

      They trust that home values have nowhere to go but up.

      A recent poll by Canada’s largest bank found this outlook as the real estate market in 2020 defied expectations of a turndown.

      The RBC survey showed that some 79 percent of respondents said yes to this statement: When it comes to COVID-19, I believe that we are in the worst period of the crisis now or I believe that the worst period of the crisis has yet to come.

      As well, 78 percent agreed to this: I am concerned about the financial impacts of COVID-19.

      However, respondents in the RBC Home Buying Sentiment Poll expressed clear faith in the housing market.

      Some 52 percent believe that home values will only go up in the immediate future.

      Also, 80 percent agreed that that home ownership is a good investment.

      Almost half or 45 percent think that the housing market is strong.

      In addition, 56 percent indicated that they may purchase a new home with their spouse or partner.

      Amit Sahasrabudhe is the vice-president of RBC for home equity, financing, products and acquisitions.

      “It shows a very strong belief by Canadians in housing ownership overall and the continued strength of the overal housing market despite their overall concern over the economy,” Sahasrabudhe told the Straight by phone Monday (January 11) when the polls results were released.

      The RBC executive noted that a key factor in the performance of the real estate market in 2020 was a shift in demand from urban core areas.

      Buyers wanted bigger houses and spaces to accommodate home offices.

      “Given commuting to work being less of a factor, many Canadians are drawn to the option of more affordable housing in suburbs,” Sahasrabudhe said.

      In the RBC poll, 45 percent said that if they were to own a home or a larger house, they would likely move out of the city they are currently residing.

      Also, 15 percent indicated that they would purchase a new home in a city not near a major metropolitan area.

      Likewise, 60 percent agreed that the housing market in their current local area is overpriced.

      As many Canadians consider their housing options, Sahasrabudhe noted that RBC offers expert advice as well as online tools.

      “The importance of homebuyers getting the advice they need at this time to make these kinds of decisions is a very critical factor,” he said.

      As an example, Sahasrabudhe said that one can start by understanding how much they can afford to buy a home with RBC's True House Affordability tool.

      For homeowners thinking of buying a new property, RBC’s Home Value Estimator is a useful resource to get an estimate of the value of their house.