Homeowners are optimistic but some to face heart-breaking truth

Tuesday, November 24, 2020   /   by Sergey Korostensky

Homeowners are optimistic but some to face heart-breaking truth

Canada's mortgage professionals report strong sentiment in the housing market but expect a rise in forced sales

One of the pillars of the Canadian economy that has recovered fast is the housing market.

While many sectors continue their slow climb from the economic depths of the first-wave of lockdowns, shuttered homes and real estate offices only intensified demand for homebuying.

As looser restrictions and desire-over-fear kicked in, the housing market bounced back fast in the summer and continues to set records.
However, the coming months will not be rosy for every homeowner, especially as mortgage payment breaks end and other support is wound down. Then there are those losing work.

Industry body Mortgage Professionals Canada says that it expects to see some homeowners facing tough times.

"With the mortgage deferral programs expiring for many in September, there are likely some homeowners who are currently determining whether they are able to continue to manage their mortgage debt obligation or be forced to sell,” said Paul Taylor, President and CEO of MPC. “We expect to begin to see the impacts of this on the market and in consumers' sentiments in our next report."

When it comes to perceived expected difficulty in making mortgage payments, 23% of those surveyed expect "some difficulty" making their payments as a result of COVID-19, and 4% expect "a lot of difficulty"; however, this is little changed from the previous two quarterly polls.

High sentiment
Although heartbreak appears inevitable for some, overall sentiment in the Canadian housing market remains high.

MPC’s chief economist Will Dunning acknowledges that for those negatively impacted during the pandemic, the decision or ability to buy a home will have been affected.
But he also highlights how the addition time spent at home has focused attention on weaknesses in domestic set-ups.

While just 7% of non-owners expressed intention to buy in the coming 12 months in the previous MPC survey, this has increased to 19% in the new report. The share of those who say they never intend to buy has halved to just 16%.