Calgary homebuying intentions fall – Strong price gains put some potential buyers on the fence: BMO

Fewer Calgary homeowners intend to buy a property in the next five years, according to the BMO Housing Confidence Report released on Wednesday.

The report said plans to buy in Calgary have decreased by 13 per cent since the fall (39 per cent versus 52 per cent).

In Calgary, the 12-month price expectations have dropped to 2.1 per cent from 2.4 per cent in the fall.

Sal Guatieri, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, said “in Calgary, strong price gains appear to have put some potential buyers on the fence.”

According to the Calgary Real Estate Board, month-to-date until May 21, there have been 1,658 MLS sales in the city, up 3.95 per cent from the same period a year ago. The median price has risen by 3.97 per cent to $405,500 and the average price has increased by 2.69 per cent to $458,355.

Nationally, 48 per cent of Canadian homeowners intend to buy a property in the next five years – mostly unchanged from fall 2012 – signalling a high level of confidence in Canada’s housing market is continuing into 2013, said BMO.

“The relative strength of the Canadian housing market continues to bolster homeowners confidence, while improving affordability across all regions reflects that Canadians are making responsible choices when it comes to financing a home,” said Martin Nel, vice-president of lending and investments for BMO Bank of Montreal.

BMO’s second semi-annual report, conducted by Pollara, tracks confidence in Canada’s housing market among Canadian homeowners by measuring intentions to buy or sell, price expectations and overall mortgage affordability. The report found: close to half of all homeowners under 40 intend to purchase a larger home within the next five years (46 per cent), and are three times more likely to move to a more expensive rather than a less expensive neighbourhood (24 per cent versus eight per cent); 10 per cent of homeowners plan to buy a recreational property in the next five years, down two points from last fall; and homeowners planning to buy an investment property have declined to six per cent from eight per cent last fall.

Nationally, sensitivity to price increases has lessened significantly as intentions to buy would drop only four points in the event of a five per cent increase in home prices compared with a 10 point drop last fall. Over the next year, homeowners expect prices to rise by 2.0 per cent.

“Alberta appears to be the most sensitive region to price changes, where a five per cent increase in prices would result in a 12 point decrease in buying intentions, compared with only one point in the fall. Over the next year, Albertans expect prices to increase 1.9 per cent, down from three per cent in the fall,” said BMO.

In another report released Wednesday, the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals said the anticipated change in the annual rate of housing starts for the Calgary census metropolitan area is expected to be a positive 600 to 1,800 units, creating 2,500 jobs.

The Change in the Canadian Mortgage Market report said average annual starts for the Calgary CMA in 2011 and 2012 was 11,067.

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

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