Real Estate Weekly

October 02, 2012 09:00 ET

Consumer Confidence in Selling Homes Slides This Fall: REW.ca Real Estate Survey

But it's family ties-not the region's liveability-keeping Lower Mainlanders in the country's most expensive housing market.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Oct. 2, 2012) - The September REW.ca Real Estate Consumer Confidence Survey reveals a recent flip-flop - and slide - in consumer sentiment towards selling a home in the Lower Mainland. According to the survey, a majority (58%) of residents think it's not a good time to sell over the next three months, while only 34% disagree, believing it is a good time to sell. This marks a big switch in consumer opinions from just six months ago, when the REW.ca March Real Estate survey found that 56% of residents had a positive outlook on selling a home, with only 33% thinking otherwise.

This reversal in consumers' sentiments toward selling supports the view that the Lower Mainland is currently experiencing a buyer's market. Of the 58% of residents who don't think the time is right to sell a home, 37% cited a belief that prices are on the way down (market correction) as their main reason. 25% of the people in this group blamed slowing sales, while 16% said there were too many properties for sale. Of the 34% who feel it is a good time to sell, taking advantage of current high prices and selling before a market correction were considered paramount.

As for whether it's a good time to buy this fall, little has changed since the spring. Consumers are still equally divided, with 50% of respondents agreeing it is a good time to buy (compared to 46% in March). The largest deterrents to buying this fall include high prices (34%) coupled with a fear of home values dropping after purchasing (29%). On the other hand, would-be buyers believe the market offers a lot of inventory with lower prices. Low interest rates also continue to be a key factor.

The survey also uncovers what keeps people residing in the Lower Mainland, even though it is an expensive place to live. Despite the region's highly touted liveability ranking, 43% of residents cited family as the number one reason, ahead of job (30%), climate (18%), and scenery (16%).

"Our surveys are designed to get in touch with consumers and really find out what people are thinking," said Ian Martin, General Manager, REW.ca. "Our fall findings indicate that consumer confidence in the Lower Mainland market is waning - particularly when it comes to selling homes - but we should all keep in mind the fact that real estate markets are cyclical. We are also intrigued by the revelation that, despite the Lower Mainland's enviable lifestyle offerings and stunning scenery, family is the number one reason why people stay in this market. Home truly is where the heart is."

Survey Highlights (See complete survey results at http://www.rew.ca/articles/good-time-to-sell-our-consumer-confidence-survey-335.)

Question: "Do you think it is a good time to sell a house or a condo in the next 3 months?"

  • September Results: 34% Say Yes, 58% Say No
  • March Results: 56% Say Yes, 33% Say No
  • Top reasons it is a good time to sell this fall (for the 34% "yes" group):
    • 26% say prices are high
    • 24% say that prices will go down/ market correction /housing bubble
    • 13% say it is a seller's market
  • Top reasons it is not a good time to sell this fall (for the 58% "no" group):
    • 37% say prices will go down/market correction/housing bubble
    • 25% say housing market is soft/sales have slowed down
    • 16% say it's a buyer's market /too many properties for sale

Question: "Do you think it is a good time to buy a house or condo in the next 3 months?"

  • September Results: 50% Say Yes, 38% Say No
  • March Results: 46% Say Yes, 42% Say No
  • Top reasons it is a good time to buy this fall (for 50% "yes" group):
    • 28% say it is a buyer's market / many properties for sale
    • 27% say prices will go down/market correction/housing bubble
    • 22% say interest rates are low
  • Top reasons it is not a good time to buy this fall (for 38% "no" group):
    • 34% say prices are high
    • 29% say prices will go down/market correction/housing bubble
    • 16% say they are concerned about the economy

Top five reasons people continue to reside in the Lower Mainland, despite high cost of living:

  • Family (43%)
  • Job (30%)
  • Climate (18%)
  • Scenery (16%)
  • Lived here a long time/all my life (14%)

Key regional findings:

  • Richmond residents are the most pessimistic in the region about the fall being a good time to sell a home - 74% feel it isn't a good time (compared to the Lower Mainland's overall average of 58%). Only 23% of Richmond residents believe it is a good time to sell.
  • Tri-Cities/Port Moody/Maple Ridge residents are the most optimistic about buying a house this fall - 60% of residents think the next three months will be a good time to buy.
  • Burnaby and New Westminster residents are the most pessimistic about buying a home: 51% say it is not a good time (compared to the Lower Mainland's average of 38%). These cities also contain the highest percentage of residents optimistic about selling this fall: 39% buck the trend and say the timing is right.

More information about the survey

The complete survey charts are available - click here: http://www.rew.ca/articles/rew-ca-september-2012-consumer-confidence-survey-334. 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. 550 interviews were completed between September 4 to 19, 2012 with Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley residents, 18 years of age or over, and is a representative sample. The survey contains a 4.2% 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.

About REW.ca

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. REW.ca goes beyond property listings to offer a complete consumer guide to real estate shopping with online agent selection and neighbourhood profile information. REW.ca is the online arm of the Real Estate Weekly newspaper and owned and operated by Glacier Media. www.rew.ca.

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