VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/26/13 -- The March 2013 REW.ca Real Estate Consumer Confidence Survey reveals an upward trend - and increasingly brighter outlook - in consumer sentiment towards buying a home in the Lower Mainland. According to the survey, a slight majority (54%) of residents think it is a good time to buy over the next three months, while only 34% believe it is not a good time to buy. Today's findings mark a year-long rise in consumers' opinions towards purchasing property. A similar REW.ca survey in March 2012 found that only 46% of consumers felt good about buying. Confidence grew to 50% in last September's survey, and is now buoyed by today's 54% figures.
But as consumer confidence about buying increases, sentiment towards selling homes continues to slide. The survey showed that 63% think it is not a good time to sell. This continues the trend of the last survey in September 2012, when a major flip-flop in confidence occurred. From March to September 2012, REW.ca surveys showed those who did not think it was a good time to sell shot from 33% to 58% in six months. Of the 63% who would not sell in the coming three months, almost half cited concern about dropping property values to explain their pessimistic outlook, while 20% blamed slowing sales, and another 12% said there were too many properties for sale. On the other hand, 26% of Lower Mainlanders do feel this spring is a good time to sell, but they're still pessimistic about the market. The key reason for saying it's a good time to sell was the urgency to sell property before prices erode even further.
Meanwhile, the slow but steady warming trend towards buying supports the view that Greater Vancouver is still experiencing a buyer's market, and consumers are starting to catch on. Of the 54% of residents who think the time is right to buy a home, 23% said the main reason for their optimism was that prices have come down. 20% of people in this group feel they should take advantage of today's low interest rates, while 18% of these would-be buyers believe the market is ripe with opportunity as it offers a lot of inventory. For the 34% who feel this spring is not a good time to buy, high prices and the hope that prices will go down further were the primary deterrents.
If I had a million dollars...
The survey also uncovers the residential property types preferred by Lower Mainlanders. All respondents were hypothetically given one million dollars (no more, no less) to spend on a property type of their choice, anywhere in the Lower Mainland. Prefaced by the fact that the farther you move from the City of Vancouver, the less you pay, 34% of residents chose a large house and property in a suburban setting, ahead of a small detached house (20%), a luxury condo in a city centre (12%), or a townhouse and duplex in a city (10%). 23% of respondents chose to keep the million dollars and rent. The most popular locations include Vancouver (28%), Langley (12%), and Burnaby (8%).
Other interesting survey highlights include the fact that residents still want to purchase properties with land (54%). The youngest demographic (18-34) much preferred a large house and property over all other property types (at 47%), while the oldest demographic (55+) had the strongest inclination to not purchase property at all, choosing to keep the million dollars and rent (at 37%).
"We conduct these surveys every six months as a temperature check on how consumers are feeling about the real estate market in the Lower Mainland," said Ian Martin, General Manager, REW.ca. "Our findings this spring indicate that the tide is turning when it comes to perceptions towards buying homes, and, for the first time in a year, more Lower Mainland residents feel now is the time to buy - people want to get in before the market starts going up again. But, understandably, as confidence in buying waxes, sentiment towards selling wanes. We also loved our million dollar question, as we now know that most people prefer a large home in the suburbs over a luxury condo in the heart of a city."
Key regional findings:
-- Fraser Valley (Langley-east) residents are the most optimistic in the region about buying a home this spring - 68% of residents think the next three months will be a good time to buy, compared to the Lower Mainland's overall average of 54%.-- Fraser Valley (Langley-east) residents are also the most pessimistic in the region about the spring being a good time to sell a home - 79% feel it isn't a good time, compared to the Lower Mainland's overall average of 63%.-- Surrey/Delta/Langley residents are the most optimistic about selling this spring; 31% feel the time is right, compared to the region's average of 26%.-- Richmond residents are the most pessimistic about buying a home: 44% say it is not a good time (compared to the Lower Mainland's average of 34%).
About the survey
The complete survey charts are available here: www.rew.ca/news/vancouver-real-estate-cosumer-survey-mar2013
The survey was sponsored by REW.ca and conducted by Mustel Research Group. This REW.ca survey is part of a regular series of polls focused on local residents' behaviours and beliefs. These survey findings provide additional views of the real estate market, beyond the analysts and economists. 561 interviews were completed between February 28 to March 12, 2013 with Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley residents, 18 years of age or over, and is a representative sample. The survey contains a 4.1% margin of error. Both renters and owners were surveyed. The regions included in the survey are: City of Vancouver, North Shore, Burnaby/New Westminster, Tri-Cities/Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows, Richmond, Surrey/Delta/Langley east to Aldergrove, Abbotsford/Chilliwack.
REW.ca is Greater Vancouver's home for comprehensive online local real estate search. REW.ca is the first local website to bring together real estate buyers, sellers, agents, brokers and developers in one search portal covering the Greater Vancouver market from Hope to Pemberton including the Sunshine Coast. REW.ca goes beyond just property listings by providing local news, community data, stats, trends, and analysis to offer a complete consumer guide to real estate search. REW.ca is the registered trademark for the online arm of the Real Estate Weekly newspaper, and is owned and operated by Glacier Media Inc. www.rew.ca.
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