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Atlantic Canadians were more likely in December to buy a home in rural areas as opposed to large cities and to budget less to make the purchase compared to the rest of the country, according to a new poll released on Monday by the Royal Bank of Canada.
"High home values continue to drive many Canadians further outside of major city centres, both in search of affordability and more space," said Amit Sahasrabudhe, RBC's vice-president of Home Equity Financing, Products and Acquisitions.
"Many Canadians continue to be financially resilient in the face of the pandemic, and this has carried over into the real estate market. Seen as a pillar of stability, Canadians continue to view home ownership as a worthwhile pursuit and are willing to shift their priorities in order to find affordable property within their budget."
The RBC Home Buying Sentiment Poll involved 1,066 respondents between Dec. 2 and Dec. 10.
Besides Atlantic Canadian's preference to buy rural (43 per cent compared to 26 per cent nationally) and avoid cities, it also found that buyers in the region were more likely to buy detached (61 per cent) or semi-detached homes (10 per cent) compared to the rest of the country.
Atlantic Canadians were also among the minority when it came to whether housing prices were unaffordable: 42 per cent – compared to British Columbia (78 per cent) and Ontario (71 per cent). It follows that those two provinces – British Columbia ($654,795) and Ontario ($561,112) – compared to Atlantic Canada ($209,103) and the national average ($445,237) were also required to budget the most amount of money to purchase a home.
Also, among the provinces/regions polled (British Columbia, Alberta, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada), only 26 per cent of Atlantic Canadians said they would have to move outside of a city to own a larger home with more space (compared to 51 per cent in Ontario and 45 per cent nationally).
Fewer than half said the housing market was strong (45 per cent nationally) even though more than 78 per cent in all provinces/regions said that home ownership was a good investment.
In terms of the impact of COVID-19 on personal finances, 59 per cent nationally (and 56 per cent in Atlantic Canada) said they were not in a worse financial position as a result of the pandemic.