How much mortgage debt are your clients taking on?

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Canadians are increasingly taking on more debt to afford larger and more expensive homes, but in which province are homeowners particularly indebted?
According to BuzzBuzzHome, British Columbians have racked up mortgage debt faster than they’ve grown home values. In 2012, the average value of a house rose 83.7 per cent over 13 years, to $535,400 – this being before the market went ape. The amount of mortgage debt West Coast homeowners took on, however, increased more than 132 per cent over the same period to $241,800, or 45.2 per cent of the value of the home.
“Any time mortgage debt increases it’s concerning,” says Blair Anderson, the broker of record for Promise First Realty in Toronto. “Is it surprising? No. But concerning, yes. Mortgage debt is killing people more than any other kind of debt.”
Still, Anderson says most consumers aren’t stretching themselves too thinly.
“Each individual situation is separate, but I do make people aware that, just because they’re pre-approved for $500,000 doesn’t mean they should buy a $500,000 house.”
In some provinces, though, it seems the majority of homebuyers are growing their mortgages at a steadier pace. In Manitoba, for instance, housing values rose 109.2 per cent, but mortgage debt increased just 91.4 per cent. Similarly, in Ontario, home prices increased 64.1 per cent, but mortgage debt increased by 49.3 per cent.
What it really comes down to, Anderson says, is an individual’s ability to afford a property.
“If you can’t save five per cent for a down payment, you have no business buying a house,” he says. “I don’t want my clients to run into a situation where they have to get rid of the house. It’s not good for the market or for them as individuals.”
  • Hal Tagg on 2015-02-04 12:20:17 PM

    I have to disagree with two points in the article.

    One, the comment was made "Mortgage debt is killing people more than any other kind of debt". I feel that the opposite is true. Any other kind of debt is worse than a low interest mortgage debt. It is the payday loans, the unsecured credit cards, and high interest debt that is the worst kind of debt.

    Two, the last paragraph makes the comment "If you can’t save five per cent for a down payment, you have no business buying a house".

    I know that many will disagree with me on this. However, I think there are many good hard working Canadians with good credit, that make enough money to support a mortgage payment. I don't see the problem with helping them borrow the money for a down payment to help them get into their first house. If a private lender is willing to take the risk in lending the down payment money, why not let it happen.

    Some people don't have family that can help out. They shouldn't be excluded. I would say that a good portion of first time buyers have family help out. We need to continue to have the flex down program for people without family to help them out.

  • judy on 2015-02-04 1:39:53 PM

    I have to agree, if it is mortgage debt that is used for purchasing the house and not re-mortgaging for disposables: ie: boy toys, trips, meals out, cars, and the latest techno gadgets. Then it is probably good debt, mortgages should move only one way after the ink dries - DOWN.

  • Eric on 2015-02-04 1:57:38 PM

    I would have to agree with Hal on the first point, mortgage debt isn't bad debt. Though I would have to agree, if you want to buy a home, save your 5%. Being a seasoned Realtor, I see so many people turned down for a mortgage because they drive new vehicles, they have boats, quads, sleds or what ever else they feel they have to have. Very few will drive a good used vehicle and sacrifice the toys to own their own home. If they did, they would see how their net worth would increase and they would be able to have the toys later in life.

  • Danny on 2015-02-04 4:44:07 PM

    I think they all should get more and more credit cards to pay for mortgages and all their toys. It came to the point that it doesn't really matter anymore.

  • Peter Motem on 2015-02-04 4:58:25 PM

    Eric - You took the words right out of my mouth.

    Too many out there have "Keeping up with the Joneses" on the top of their priority list. Getting the financial situation sorted some time before the mortgage application would go a long way towards getting an approval...

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