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Is Your Home an Expense, or an Investment?

9 November 2012

Scotiabank recently surveyed a group of homeowners, asking them everything from whether they considered their home as an expense or investment to whether or not they’ll still have a mortgage when they enter retirement. Here are the findings from that survey.

Expense, or Investment?


As you can see from the above chart, a large majority of Canadians (77%) view their home as an investment rather than an expense. That may not be good news for policymakers in Canada, who are trying to get Canadians to reduce the amount of debt they take on. Some analysts have even said that this is a trend that this is a dangerous trend, and that Canadians should start paying more attention to what they’re actually paying for a home, instead of what they’re gaining from it.

But, that doesn’t mean that Canadians in all regions feel the same way. As you can see from the above chart, homeowners in Manitoba and Saskatchewan feel the most that their home is an investment, at 80 per cent; while those in Alberta are the least likely to view their homes as an investment, with only 69 per cent of respondents saying they think so.


Knowing that just about everyone wants to become mortgage-free, Scotiabank also asked people during the survey about becoming mortgage-free, whether or not they were or weren’t; and if not, if they’re taking any measures to become mortgage-free a little faster.

As you can see from the chart below, while 69 per cent of homeowners reported having a home, only 40 per cent of them were actually mortgage-free.

Broken down by province, you can see that British Columbia has the highest amount of residents that are mortgage-free; while Atlantic Canada has the least.

Mortgages and Retirement

Knowing how important it is for people to enter retirement carrying as little debt as possible, the survey also asked respondents whether or not they’d be holding a mortgage when they go into retirement. While 32 per cent of people said that they would carry a mortgage in their Golden Years, a much larger majority – 72 per cent – also said that they are taking steps to pay off their mortgage faster.

David Stafford, Managing Director of Real Estate Secured Lending at Scotiabank, says that aside from just showing us where the Canadian mortgage market roughly stands today, the survey results can also help those homeowners who feel as though they’re never going to get that mortgage paid off.

“What I want Canadians who are feeling a little overwhelmed in paying off their mortgages to know is, that paying off their mortgage is totally achievable. And the great news is that a number of Canadians who were in the same position have reached the goal of being mortgage-free,” says Mr. Stafford. “With rates at historic lows, there’s never been a better time to take years off your mortgage.”

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