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File photo of a house for sale in Nova Scotia.

PAUL DARROW/The Globe and Mail

A senior economist at one of Canada's major banks says a widely anticipated downturn in the housing market may not be as deep or as long-lasting as some fear.

Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets, says demographic forces over the next decade will limit the damage.

Mr. Tal writes that there will be fewer Canadians under the age of 25 and between the ages of 45 and 54, but those groups account for a small portion of home buyers.

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But Mr. Tal says the group aged between 25 and 34 – the age group that makes up the vast majority of first-time buyers – will continue to grow, and he says growth in the housing market could be even stronger due to immigration.

Over all, the CIBC economist says the next decade will see an annual population growth of 0.9 per cent, in line with growth seen in the past decade – a period of strong demand for residential real-estate and a sharp jump in housing prices.

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