Lender study focuses on debt levels

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HomeEquity Bank and Equifax Canada teamed and published the Debt Retirement study, which found debt among seniors is growing.

"At HomEquity Bank, we're not surprised to see the results of this study,” Yvonne Ziomecki, a senior vice-president with HomEquity Bank said in a release. “Every day, we hear from seniors who are struggling with debt. It can be due to inadequate pensions, the high cost of living or costly health care issues, but debt is increasingly a concern for many seniors.”

According to the study, debt among seniors 70+ has increased 13%. Many of those still carry mortgages – drawing attention to the growing opportunity for brokers to provide long-term mortgage and financial advice for clients.

"It's shocking to find Canadians 71+ are still carrying hefty mortgages," Laurie Campbell, CEO of Credit Canada Debt Solutions said in the release. "By this age, they are fully retired and there's no opportunity to increase their income."

Some key findings of the study include:
  • Mortgage debt is increasing fastest in the Greater Toronto Area and Quebec and less so in Alberta and British Columbia
  • In 2015, 16.5% of people aged 55+ are carrying a mortgage. This is an increase of 10% from 2013
  • The average mortgage balance for Canadians aged 55+ grew by 11% from $158,000 in 2013 to $176,000 in 2015
  • The average mortgage balance is highest in the 55 to 60 age group, at $189,000, and lowest for the 75+ age group at $134,000
  • Seniors aged 71+ with a mortgage have an average balance of $140,000
  • Overall debt for those 70+ has increased by 12% between 2013 and 2015 versus only a 4% increase for those under 70. 

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