After four consecutive quarters of rising homeownership costs, housing affordability improved in the third quarter of 2010 thanks primarily to a drop in mortgage rates and some softening in home prices, according to the latest Housing Trends and Affordability report released today by RBC Economics Research.
"The improvement in affordability during the third quarter has relieved some of the stress that had been mounting in Canada's housing market over the past year," said Robert Hogue, senior economist, RBC. "After appreciating rapidly during the strong rebound in resale activity last year and early this year, national home prices recently came off the burner and retreated modestly as market conditions cooled considerably through the spring and summer."
RBC notes that affordability could well improve further in the near term, with additional cuts in the posted five-year fixed rate already in place in the early part of the fourth quarter and previous home price increases still being rolled back in certain markets.
However, RBC expects the Bank of Canada will resume its rate hiking campaign by the second quarter of next year, which will eventually have a more sustained upward effect on mortgage rates.