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More homeowners in Toronto and Calgary are planning to buy a condo in the next five years, while buyers in Montreal and Vancouver are reconsidering the prospects of high-rise living, says BMO’s latest condo buying report.

The survey, conducted by Pollara, looked at buying intentions for the next half-decade among homeowners in four major Canadian city centres. The findings:

  • In Toronto, 31% of prospective buyers plan to purchase a condo in the next five years, up 11 points from the fall — suggesting, obviously, that consumer confidence is up
  • Intent to buy condos in Vancouver has dipped by five points, from 33% in the fall to 28%
  • Prospects for condos among homebuyers in Calgary has risen 8 points from the fall (33% vs. 25%), while intent to buy a traditional home has dropped from 71% in the fall to 58%
  • 24% of buyers in Montreal will be opting for condo living, down 3 points. However, intent to buy a house in Quebec’s largest city has risen by 16 points, from 46% in the fall to 62%

“For many first-time buyers, particularly in high-priced markets like Toronto and Vancouver, condos represent an affordable stepping stone into the housing market,” said BMO mortgage expert Frances Hinojosa. “On the other side of the spectrum, many in the baby boomer demographic may be looking to downsize from the family home — leading some to consider the condo market as well.”

Hinojosa said the report also shows prospective buyers aged 50 and over are more likely to be planning to purchase a condo than those under the age of 50 (30 per cent versus 17 per cent).

To conduct the survey, Pollara polled 1,008 Canadian homeowners online between February 21st and 27th, 2013. Data was weighted by region, based on the most recent Census figures, so that it is representative of Canadian homeowners.

The condo buying report follows on the heels of another BMO report that said the Canadian housing market was cooling. That report also noted that new condo sales in Toronto plunged 55 per cent in the first three months of this year from high levels a year ago.

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