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How COVID-19 Is impacting existing and aspiring homeowners

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Today, Mortgage Professionals Canada (MPC) released the first report in a timely series of consumer surveys tracking the effects of COVID-19 on Canadian homeownership sentiment. 

Today’s report, Rapidly Evolving Expectations in the Housing Industry, was written by MPC Chief Economist Will Dunning. The report outlines how most current home owners have not been severely impacted by COVID-19 with respect to their employment situation, and many further are only expecting a short-term change in employment. The vast majority of current owners have also expressed comfort with current mortgage debt and reinforced the overwhelming perspective that they remain pleased with the decision to purchase a home.

“It’s quite important to track ongoing shifts in the housing market in Canada, which is a key economic engine of our overall economy,” said Paul Taylor, President and CEO of MPC. “What we have seen clearly is that the vast majority of home owners are not feeling a long-term financial impact related to COVID-19, and that potential home buyers are still very much in the market for a home, signs of which are being seen in regions across the country.”

“To this point, the greatest economic effects of COVID-19 have been experienced by young age groups and people in lower wage occupations. In consequence, the housing market impacts will likely be greater in the rental sector than for homeownership,” Taylor continued.

This report has four major sections that outline consumer opinions and expectations:

  • How Covid-19 has affected employment and incomes; 
  • Impacts on expectations about buying homes; 
  • Attitudes and expectations on topics related to housing markets and mortgages; 
  • Opinions about the mortgage deferral program.

“Our intention is to conduct the same survey three more times, in six-week increments, to track any changes in sentiment,” Taylor explained. “It will be interesting to see how consumer attitudes may change with the competing pressures of the evolving pandemic emergency, economies reopening and mortgage deferral programs expiring.” 

MPC is creating important new data that will assist in tracking shifts in Canadians’ expectations about the housing market in order to monitor the evolving market circumstances, notably due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the reasons we look at economic trends is that, most of the time, the recent past gives us reasonably reliable clues about what might happen in the near future. That is not the case in these extremely abnormal times as the COVID-19 emergency has resulted in extremely volatile shifts in the Canadian housing market,” said Will Dunning, MPC’s Chief Economist.

Home owners and buyers continue to exercise caution in their purchasing decisions, and have made appropriate adjustments to home buying plans. Heightened economic anxiety has tempered expectations about the pace of growth in the value of a home. Despite this, there is more confidence that now is the right time to buy a home or condominium.

“A large majority of mortgage holders (72%) do not foresee any difficulty in making ongoing mortgage payments,” added Taylor. “There is a quite small minority (5%) of mortgage holders who expect that they will have a lot of difficulty with future mortgage payments. Yet, hundreds of thousands of Canadians have joined the mortgage deferral program, because they are uncertain about their future situations, and they want to have as much flexibility as possible.”

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