Wednesday, March 29, 2006

CNW Group: "42% of Canadian mortgage holders still happy with their rates despite recent increases

Canadian Institute of Mortgage Brokers and Lenders releases report on
mortgage choices and perceptions in a changing market

TORONTO, March 28 /CNW/ - A majority of Canadians believe their current
mortgage interest rates are manageable, despite recent hikes, according to a
report released today by the Canadian Institute for Mortgage Brokers and
Lenders (CIMBL). The information, gathered by Pollara in a phone survey in
February and analyzed in conjunction with Canadian housing analyst and CIMBL
economist Will Dunning, indicates that 42 per cent of Canadian residential
mortgage holders polled have not seen their overall standard of living
significantly affected by the recent mortgage rate increases.
'As the spring home buying season begins, interest rates remain at a
historic low and mortgage holders continue to be satisfied with their rates,'
said Ron Swift, President of the Canadian Institute for Mortgage Brokers and
Lenders. 'Our latest survey reveals that Canadians find their current mortgage
rates manageable, despite increases over the past eight months. In addition,
although mortgage holders anticipate further rises, the study suggests that a
majority will be able to tolerate an increase of up to 1 percent. That's great
news for the marketplace.'
For the mortgages currently held by Canadians, the average mortgage
interest rate is 4.9 per cent. Consumers are in tune with what the Bank of
Canada and economist are forecasting - 66 per cent of consumers say they
expect mortgage rate increases in the near future.

CIMBL's research shows that current mortgage holders have a surprisingly
high tolerance for potential interest rate increases. The study suggests thatif rates remain at current levels, 62 per cent of Canadians would faceincreased interest rates at their next renewal. Yet, only 21 per cent ofmortgage holders would see a significant impact on their standard of livingfor a monthly mortgage rate increase of $100; 53 per cent would see an impactwith an increase of $200. Sequentially, a further increase of one-half of a percent wouldnegatively impact 20 per cent of Canadian mortgage holder's overall standardof living. An increase of one-half of a percent from current rates wouldresult in an average monthly increase of $50 in interest ($72 up from $22).Total interest costs for Canadian mortgage holders would jump by more than$2.7 billion ($3.9 billion up from $1.2 billion). An increase of one percentage point from current rates would negativelyimpact the overall standard of living of 29 per cent of mortgage holderspolled. Such an increase in rates would cause an average monthly interestpayment increase of $123, bringing the total interest costs for Canadianmortgage holders to $6.7 billion, up $5.5 billion from current costs. In anticipation of a rise in interest rates, consumers are more likely torenew their mortgages early to lock into current rates. For the 15 per cent ofconsumers scheduled to renew their mortgages in the next twelve months,relatively small increases are expected - an average of $6 per month. Forthose renewing during the next one to six years, average costs will rise andpeak in about four years. "As always, there is uncertainty about future changes in interest rates,"Swift added. "CIMBL's report demonstrates that although mortgage rates are onthe rise, Canadians continue to borrow - whether they are taking out a newmortgage, renewing or refinancing an existing one. There is still a strongreal estate demand in Canada." The survey, "Consumer Mortgage Choices in a Changing Market", contains awealth of additional industry data including the age distribution of mortgageholders in Canada, popularity and rates of different mortgage types andmortgage terms, and the amount of remaining principal on existing mortgages.For a full copy of the survey, please visit: www.cimbl.ca."

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