Canadian mortgage holders in good shape, survey says

Derek Abma, Postmedia News

Most Canadian mortgage holders are on solid financial ground and could withstand the extra expenses that might come with higher interest rates somewhere down the road, according to survey results released Monday.

The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals said 84 per cent of those with mortgages could withstand paying an extra $300 or more on their monthly mortgage payments. In B.C., 33 per cent have made additional payments or increased payments, according to the study.

This leeway comes with most homeowners being in a good position in relation to the value of their home versus what they owe on their mortgage, and in their ability to negotiate reasonable terms on their mortgages, the survey showed.

It was found that the average Canadian mortgage holder has home equity — the value of their home minus their owed mortgage debt — of $146,000, or 50 per cent of the value of their home. In B.C., the average mortgage is $183,000 and for those with mortgages, the average equity is 58 per cent.

It was also found that people who have arranged a mortgage in the last year had attained an average rate of 4.23 per cent on five-year, fixed mortgages, which is 1.42 points less than the normal posted rates over this time. As well, the study found that 72 per cent of Canadians who have renegotiated a mortgage in the last year have been able to get a lower rate — 1.09 percentage points, on average.

“Canadians are being smart and responsible with their mortgages,” Jim Murphy, president and CEO of CAAMP, said in a statement.

The results were based on web polls with more than 2,000 Canadians this fall, more than half being homeowners with mortgages. No margin of error was provided.

– from November 9, 2010 The Vancouver Sun

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