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Survey explores 2012 real estate market attitudes in Burnaby and beyond

A third of Burnaby homeowners anticipate increasing home prices in 2012, according to a new poll.

The Mustel Group survey, released Dec. 30, shows just 19 per cent of respondents believe real estate values will drop, while 47 per cent expect prices to remain stable.

University of B.C. Sauder School of Business professor Thomas Davidoff said the real estate market is influenced most when people are at the extremes—either keenly interested, or totally ambivalent.

"Where consumer expectations of prices are coming from, that is not an easy thing to figure out," he said, noting that many experts are concerned prices in Greater Vancouver may be inflated due to an "overenthusiastic" market.

This may lead the region to a market correction this year, he said.

The survey also found if cost was no object and residents could move anywhere in the Lower Mainland, 56 per cent of Burnaby residents would stay put.

Asked the same question, nine per cent of Fraser Valley dwellers said they would re-locate to Burnaby.

In terms of market outlook, there was a striking difference between Burnaby respondents and those in Richmond, South Delta and White Rock.

Sixty-seven per cent of respondents in those communities predict the market will remain stable—a 21 per cent difference from Burnaby homeowners—while just eight per cent foresee a decrease.

Davidoff said even though increased interest among buyers can fuel higher prices, it's impossible for the average person to forecast fluctuations in the market.

"Economists are barely capable of saying anything intelligent about it."

He said 2012 housing prices could remain stable if interest rates, inflation and income levels also stay steady.

Questions for the poll were fielded Nov. 25-30, 2011 to 349 homeowners from across the Fraser Valley with a margin of error of plus or minus five per cent.

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