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MNI BRIEF: Long Mortgages Still Leave Canadians With Big Bills


Canadians are increasingly spending more than half their disposable income to pay bills even after many respond to higher interest rates by extending the length of their mortgages to reduce monthly payments.

The share of new uninsured mortgages with a total debt service ratio of more than 50% increased to 16.6% in the fourth quarter of last year, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Thursday. Those kinds of uninsured loans climbed 49% in the three years up to that point. Mortgages with 20% down-payments don't need insurance.

Mortgage lending growth by non-bank lenders also now matches that of the major chartered banks, CMHC said. In the past, some investors have raised concerns about shadow banking in Canada and lower loan scrutiny outside the big banks.

Officials have warned about risks in consumer finances after the central bank hiked from 0.25% to 4.5% in the year through January, in a nation with some of the highest consumer debt measures in the G7. (See: MNI: Canada Warned Ending Mortgage Bonds Could Be Costly)

MNI Ottawa Bureau | +1 613-314-9647 |
MNI Ottawa Bureau | +1 613-314-9647 |

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