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TORONTO (Reuters) - The number of Canadians who express an intention to buy a home within the next two years has dropped significantly from last year, according to a Royal Bank of Canada report released on Tuesday, suggesting a slowdown in the housing market.
Overall intentions to purchase a home dropped by five percentage points to 23 percent in the survey.
Respondents who said they were "very likely" to buy fell to 7 percent from 9 percent in 2007. That's the lowest level since the survey was started 15 years ago, the bank said.
The number of Canadians who would "buy now," rather than wait until next year was still strong at 52 percent, but down from 58 percent in 2007.
The number of respondents who said that purchasing a home is a good investment was at 85 percent, down from 90 percent in 2007, but still stronger than the 76 percent of 10 years ago.
"While those very likely to buy a home might be at its lowest level in over a decade, we need to keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of Canadians still believe purchasing a home is a good investment," said Catherine Adams, vice-president of home equity financing at RBC.
The weaker outlook can also be seen in the number of respondents who expected housing prices to rise, at 56 percent, down three percentage points from last year's 59 percent.
The online survey poll was conducted for RBC by Ipsos Reid between January 17 and 21, 2008 and is based on a randomly selected representative sample of 3,023 adult Canadians. The results are considered accurate to within plus/minus 1.8 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Peter Galloway