Fewer Canadians are planning to purchase a home in the next two years, but more than a third of those will be first-time homebuyers, according to a study released Tuesday.

The annual poll by Royal Bank found that 15 per cent of those surveyed say they're likely to buy in the next two years, a drop from 27 per cent from the previous year.

Among those with buying intentions, 40 per cent say they'll be signing a mortgage for the first time.

Sean Amato-Gauci, senior vice-president of Home Equity Financing with RBC, says current economic and industry trends are consistent with this bleaker homebuying forecast.

But an overwhelming majority of those polled (84 per cent) still see real estate as a sound investment. While 52 per cent say now is a good time to get into the market.

Nearly half of those surveyed (49 per cent) say they expect mortgage rates to be same this time next year, while 43 per cent admit they believe home prices will continue to climb.

"Our findings suggest confidence in the housing market is still high and young Canadians are the bright spot as they look to buy their first home and seek the advice to do it right," said Amato-Gauci in a release.

The 20th Annual RBC Home Ownership Poll was conducted online by Ipsos Reid from Jan. 31 to Feb. 8.

The survey polled a randomly selected sample of 3,005 Canadian adults, and is considered accurate within +/-3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.