Good Time to Sell? Our Consumer Confidence Survey

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012


There’s no shortage of expert opinions from industry bigwigs about what the Lower Mainland real estate market is doing. So we like to check in with consumers to get their take on where the market is heading.

See the results of our September 2012 Consumer Confidence survey – and how sentiment has changed since we last got the consumer market pulse six months ago.

We asked three questions:

  • Do you think it’s a good time to SELL a house condo in the next three months?
  • Do you think it’s a good time to BUY a house/condo in the next three months?
  • With its high cost of living, WHY do you continue to call the Lower Mainland home?

Then we had them tell us their reasons in their own words, so we could group them together. Here’s what they had to say…

Good time to sell?

Opinions have flipped since we asked this “good time to sell” question six months ago. Only 34% of our 550 respondents think the next 3 months will be a good time to sell a house or condo, compared to 56% of 278 respondents last March. The top three reasons given on the No side were a belief that prices are on the way down as the market corrects (37%), that sales have slowed (25%), and that it’s a buyer’s market with too many competing properties for sale (16%). 

No answers were mostly consistent across demographics, with a slight difference spurred by home ownership: 60% of home owners compared to 49.2% of renters think it’s not a good time to sell. Regionally, Richmond residents (73%) lean more strongly toward the “no sale” end of the spectrum.

In the Yes camp, taking advantage of current high prices and selling before a market correction were paramount. More renters than owners (26.7% versus 11.8%) perceive that prices are high, however.

The spontaneous answers people gave also revealed a host of other factors: 

Good time to buy?

On the “good time to buy” question, our 550 respondents were almost evenly split, echoing the results of our March survey.

High prices coupled with a fear of home values dropping after a purchase were the largest deterrents to buying: 34% of the No side cited high prices, and 29% are anticipating prices will come down further.

On the Yes side, 28% per cent of respondents believe there was a lot to choose from on the market, 27% predicting a market correction (wanting to take advantage of lower prices), and 22% encouraged by the low interest rates. These were the also the three main reasons spurring the buying rationale in March 2012 too, though the emphasis changed.

On the question of whether this fall is a good time to buy, where respondents live plays a key role. Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, and Port Moody residents are the most optimistic about buying conditions, with 60% agreeing it’s a good idea to buy a house within the next three months. In contrast, the majority (51%) of Burnaby and New Westminster residents believe the timing is wrong.

Renters are less keen on the idea of buying in the near future: 39% of renters think the next three months is a good time to buy compared to 54.4% of home owners.  

See the full list of reasons here:

Why stay in the Lower Mainland?

Despite the region’s high liveability rating, it’s family first for why people choose to live in the Lower Mainland despite its high cost of living. Job ranked second (30%), followed closely by climate, scenery, and familiarity. Liveability factors such as parks, shopping, and transit ranked 7th. See the rest of the reasons given here:

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