As always with national surveys, it's difficult to glean any local relevance, in terms of hard data or fact for those of us who place import on such things. But that said, from knowledge of past national surveys and hard local data, I'd say its safe to assume that applied in Victoria, the answers to these questions become more firm. As in more agents would believe these statements than in other parts of the nation--as a group, they've drunk deep from the fountain of real estate "truth" and therefore have more firm belief; if real estate were a religion, and agents were its prophets, Victoria's agents would likely be classified as fundamentalists. Of course, there are exceptions to that rule.
Here's the highlights (emphasis mine, paraphrased etc):
- Even the real estate industry in Canada is having a hard time swallowing the complete turnaround in the housing market (a dubious claim based not on hard evidence)
- A new survey from Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. found more than a quarter of its agents do not believe the housing market's current strength is sustainable
- 61% of agents surveyed believe the market is sustainable
- 28% don't and another 11% didn't know
- 36% of agents who believe the market is unsustainable say the recovery will end with interest rates climbing, which they say is inevitable
- Another 20% of that group says there is no job/income growth to sustain prices
- Overall, 66% of those surveyed said low interest rates were the number one reason behind the recent strength of the housing market. No other category even got a double digit response.
- Of course, Phil Soper sees sustainability, as he's ever the eternal optimist
What I read was few agents cared enough to understand the reason why the market shifted so dramatically so swiftly. After all, the majority feel the market is sustainable. Only 28% don't. I'd wager the 11% of "don't knows" are really the 11% of agents making 60% of the commissions--they don't care, because they sell houses in all market conditions and make lots of money doing it too.
I don't think we should give any weight to this kind of survey. To quote Jim Sutherland in BC Business magazine:
Anyone who’s read a real estate article or two will be familiar with the oft-quoted usual suspects: developers, realtors, condo marketers, economists working for banks, real estate companies and government agencies. Undeniably these are well-qualified people who know a great deal about the subject. Most of them even work in the field, and of course anyone who’s ever held a job knows what “work” means. Between reports, secondments, committee meetings, ancillary projects, emails, phone calls, lunch dates and farewell gatherings in the boardroom, if these experts spend two or three hours a week thinking and writing about real estate, they’re performing some kind of magic. No wonder so many of them were caught flat-footed by last year’s sudden downturn, then blindsided again when things picked up this spring.In other words, for all their so-called expert status, they really don't spend much time establishing credibility for their opinions.