On the heels of CAAMP's latest fall survey report on the residential mortgage market, there is concern that mortgage debt is rising and that Canadians are taking out longer-term mortgages. But despite the number of long-term mortgages almost doubling between 2007 and 2009, CAAMP's chief economist Will Dunning said Canadians' mortgage debt remains reasonable.
"While many Canadians have been negatively affected by the recession and worry about the future, the vast majority are in solid financial situations," said Dunning. "Consumers continue to be thoughtful and strategic about their mortgage decisions, treating home ownership as the bedrock of their personal financial plans, and their decisions have provided stability as we weather these challenging economic times."
The CAAMP survey also found that 80 per cent of respondents have more than 20 per cent equity in their homes and fewer took equity out of their mortgages this fall compared to a year ago. Recent statistics from the Canadian Bankers' Association show that 0.43 per cent of mortgages are in arrears, a number that has stayed fairly stable over the past six months.
Another key finding of the survey was the surprisingly higher number of respondents optimistic about the housing market - 61 per cent said they felt it was a good time to buy a home, nearly double the response from last year.
"Attitudes about whether this is a good time to buy a home have never been higher in the three years that CAAMP has surveyed on that question," the report said. "Only a small minority expects house prices to fall, and more than one half expect stable prices."