Despite the slowdown of house prices in most parts of the country, many Canadians feel that real estate will be more costly by 2014, according to a new survey released yesterday.

According to the latest Spring Housing Report, released by BMO, about half (52 per cent) of Canadians say housing will cost more in two years. The survey also revealed that the majority of homeowners are confident that housing values will hold in their area (84 per cent), while 27 per cent of homeowners have plans to either buy or sell in the next year.

Real estate prices have yet to slow down in most parts of the country, despite predictions they'd eventually even out before rolling back later this year.

“As the economy starts to pick up, I think it’s more likely we’re going to see rising rates going forward,” said Katie Archdekin, head of mortgage products at BMO Bank of Montreal, during a media conference.

BMO earlier this year made headlines with a 2.99 per cent rate, and while Archdekin acknowledged the temporary offering successfully “brought attention,” she declined to predict if something like it could be offered again this year.

A new buying trend this year has an increase in young single females buying turn-key properties, said Conrad Zurini, broker of record for Re/Max Realty Inc., also present for the conference call.

“Last year, we saw a lot of buyers settling for properties that meet some of their demands with the intention of undergoing renovations to bring it to the next level,” he said. “That seems to be changing this year, with most buyers – led by the single female demographic – wanting a property that doesn’t need the extra work.”

Zurini and Archdekin were joined by Paul Maranger, senior vice president, sales and broker, for Sotheby’s International Realty. Maranger said demand in luxury single-family homes and condos were remaining strong, especially in Toronto.

He noted that foreign buyers, particularly from Asia, were helping to push demand for luxury condos, while having less impact on single family homes. That’s because many of them come from regions that primarily feature high-rise living, and thus such buyers have been sticking to what’s familiar to them.

When asked about the Maritime provinces, Zirini said the strong buying activity there is likely to balance out there this year, and likely offer a glimpse at what will happen elsewhere in the country.

“The east is going to set the tone for the rest of the country,” he said. “It’s kind of microcosm of the rest of the country. And those trends will spill over into Ontario.”

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