REGINA -- A new poll by the Royal Bank of Canada has found far more Canadians in Saskatchewan and Manitoba believe in the strength of the housing market than the overall economy.

According to the RBC Home Buying Sentiment Poll, only 10 per cent of respondents in the prairies felt the economy is strong, but 42 per cent believed in the strength of the housing market.

Real estate agent Craig Adam says it proves the buyers are still out there and looking.

“What we have seen over the course of the last year, lots of buyers, limited inventory and of course interest rates being low, that’s why a lot of buyers are on the market,” Craig Adam said.

When it comes to purchasing a house, prairie residents were more interested in buying a home in the suburbs or a rural area, than a major city centre. The poll found 39 per cent of people in Saskatchewan and Manitoba felt they would likely have to move out of the city they are in if they want to own a larger home.

Canadians as a whole were most interested in buying property in the suburbs or a commuter city, followed by rural areas. Only 14 per cent of Canadians polled said they would consider buying a home in a major metropolitan area.

“The trend is a lot of people are working from home these days, and so certainly living in the city isn’t that necessarily a priority anymore,” Adam said.

“I think it’s something that’s always been there but the pandemic seems to have accelerated the process for a lot of people,” Broker and owner of Royal LePage Regina Realty Mike Duggleby said.

The poll revealed those in the prairies have a modest budget when buying a house. Respondents said their budget for a new home would be just over $300,000. This is significantly lower than respondents in British Columbia, who said they would spend more than $650,000, and slightly higher than those in Atlantic Canada, who said they would spend about $210,000.

“Pretty close to an average price in the Regina market itself, but as you get out into some of these bedroom communities the prices are significantly higher. There’s some pretty big houses,” Duggleby said.

As well, 78 per cent of respondents were concerned about the financial impacts of COVID-19, however less than half were concerned about a second wave of the pandemic impacting the real estate market.

Duggleby said the start of 2020 was unsure, but sales started accelerating in May, surpassing the previous years sales.

“I’ve been struggling to explain exactly why we had the surge in sales through the balance of 2020, but it was there and it’s definite,” Duggleby said.

The poll also found 60 per cent of all respondents think their area has overpriced home values and over half feel the homes will become even less affordable in the near future, but Adam said he expects the market to remain balanced throughout the year.