04/10/2014 04:22 EDT | Updated 06/10/2014 05:59 EDT

Young Canadians increasingly upbeat about home ownership, survey suggests

More young Canadians believe owning a home is a very good investment, according to those who responded to a new RBC home ownership survey.

The poll, conducted online between Feb. 4 and 14, found 86 per cent of Canadian respondents aged 25 to 34 believed owning a house or condo is a solid investment.

That’s up from 78 per cent in 2013, a year when many believed rising mortgage rates would soon make it more expensive to own a house. Rate hikes have reversed since last year.  

RBC conducts the same survey annually. This year market research company Ipsos Reid spoke to 2,591 adult Canadians in a sample that was weighted to select respondents from each demographic group.

Young respondents also said were more likely to say they intend to buy a house in the near future in 2014 than last year.

Among Canadian respondents aged 25-34, 36 per cent said they were somewhat or very likely to buy a home, compared to 25 per cent in 2013.

About 28 per cent of respondents aged 36-44 and 20 per cent of those 45 to 54 were also contemplating a home purchase, but those buyers were less likely to be on their first home.

Look for job stability, downpayment

"When we talk to Canadians, there’s a few key factors that tell them now is a good time to purchase." Erica Nielsen, vice-president for RBC home equity finance, told CBC News.

“One is job stability – they feel comfortable and confidence in the job that they have now. The second thing they talk about is manageable debt and the third is the ability to afford the down payment.”

The RBC poll found 40 per cent of respondents said the main thing they were looking for before buying a home was that their debt was manageable, 37 per cent said they would look for job security and 34 per cent would wait until they had a down payment.

Nielsen said, since the rules changed to shorten mortgage amortization to 25 years and demand a higher level of down payment, buyers have become more savvy about what they need to buy a home.

“There’s been a greater awareness that you are taking on debt that is manageable to your personal circumstances,” she said.

That awareness is doubly important in expensive markets like Vancouver and Toronto, she said. But across Canada, homes still are perceived as affordable to young Canadians, Nielsen said.