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Most Canadian mortgage owners concerned about payments, survey finds



A recent survey conducted by Ratehub.ca sheds light on the rising apprehension among Canadian homeowners regarding their mortgage payments. The data reveals that a significant 67% of respondents express worry about meeting their mortgage obligations when faced with renewed terms. Furthermore, 69% of homeowners reported that paying off their mortgages has become notably more challenging over the past two years due to increased interest rates.


The survey's findings indicate that homeowners are making significant financial adjustments in response to the prevailing high-interest rate environment. Penelope Graham, the director of content at Ratehub.ca, points out that mortgage holders are actively seeking various options to navigate through these challenging circumstances. Almost 29% of respondents revealed their intention to refinance their mortgage loans as a strategic move to offset the impact of the heightened rate environment.


Graham notes, “It’s evident that mortgage holders facing a more challenging rate environment upon renewal are exploring options to mitigate the impact." The survey unveils that 24% of surveyed homeowners considered downsizing their homes, while 29% contemplated the option of refinancing their mortgages. Additionally, 54% of respondents acknowledged tightening their budget in other areas, and 17% were considering a switch to an alternative lender to cope with rising costs.


Exploring these alternatives, Graham explains, “This can prove to be an effective way to offset higher rates, either by switching to a lender with more favorable term features, extending their amortization, or pulling out built-up equity to help with higher monthly payments.” She further emphasizes that the surge in mortgage rates is resulting in a reduction in borrowers' spending power.


Breaking down the mortgage landscape, the survey reveals that 65.1% of respondents currently hold a fixed mortgage rate, while 34.9% have opted for a variable mortgage rate. Looking ahead, 62.6% of homeowners plan to secure a fixed mortgage rate at renewal, while 37.8% are inclined towards a variable mortgage rate. Graham attributes the continued popularity of fixed mortgage rates to borrowers' preference for stability amid the volatile marketplace, even as expectations for lower variable rates in the near future persist.


In terms of methodology, the survey, conducted from December 3, 2023, to December 31, 2023, involved 2,651 adults aged 18 and older residing in Canada. The online research panel method was employed across various devices, including desktops, mobile phones, and tablets, to gather insights into the financial sentiments of Canadian homeowners.


As mortgage owners grapple with the challenges posed by increased interest rates, the survey provides a comprehensive snapshot of the evolving landscape and the strategic decisions homeowners are contemplating to navigate through these uncertain times.


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