The tightening of Canada’s housing market is forcing young, first-time buyers to re-think their plans, but older, established owners are also being forced to make changes.
A recent survey of about 1,000 Canadians suggests as many as 41% expect they’ll use the equity in their homes to fund their retirement. There are two cautions that can affect that plan. First, home prices are unlikely to continue appreciating they way they have for the past decade. Second, there’s the argument that as Baby Boomers age and sell their homes to collect their equity, the influx of those homes onto the market will push prices down.
Point number-two does not take into account demographic trends, particularly immigration, which will have a mitigating effect especially in large urban centres. The first point, though, deserves serious consideration especially in light of the growing trend to carry mortgage debt into retirement.
Slowing equity growth combined with lingering mortgage debt equals a shrinking nest egg.
There are several solutions including working longer, fixed rate and longer-term mortgages, and home equity lines of credit. But the best one is to be as aggressive as possible in paying off your mortgage, especially in today’s low interest rate environment.