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BMO Bank of Montreal

May 25, 2015 06:00 ET

BMO Private Banking Study: Affluent Canadians' Average Home Price Tops $1.5 Million

- Fifteen per cent of affluent Canadians have a mortgage, with an average mortgage debt of $176,000

- More than one third own at least one additional property

- Top reasons for having a second property include for vacations and as an investment

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 25, 2015) - BMO Private Banking, part of BMO Wealth Management, today released the results of a study examining real estate and high-net worth Canadians (those with investible assets of $1 million or more). The study is part of a series examining trends among Canada's affluent.

According to the study, wealthy Canadians' primary residences are worth, on average, $1.5 million. Further:

  • Almost all (95 per cent) own their residence (versus renting).
  • Fifty-eight per cent state they have paid off their mortgage.
  • Among those with a mortgage, the average amount they have left to pay back is $176,000.

"It's encouraging to see that so many affluent Canadians are making it a priority to be mortgage free, a significant financial milestone for any home owner," said Craig Downey, Vice-President and Managing Director, Platinum Banking, BMO Private Banking. "For those who still have a home loan, your banker can work with you to design a cashflow strategy as part of your wealth plan that will allow you to pay off your mortgage years sooner. In the process, it will also reduce your overall borrowing costs and could allow you to put money aside for other priorities."

Is Two Better Than One?

With cottage season just around the corner, the study also revealed more than one third (36 per cent) of high-net worth Canadians own at least one additional property. Of that group, 40 per cent own two or more extra properties. On average, the value of the second property is $708,539.

Top reasons for having a second property include:

  • Purely for vacation purposes (47 per cent)
  • It is an investment (39 per cent)
  • It is an income-generating property (36 per cent)
  • It is something to pass on to future generations (28 per cent)
  • It is used to escape winter or hot summer weather (18 per cent)
  • It will be used for retirement (12 per cent)
  • It will be used for business purposes (9 per cent)

Among those with an additional property, 80 per cent own one in Canada, 27 per cent own in the U.S., 11 per cent own in Europe, eight per cent own in Central America, South America or the Caribbean, seven per cent in Mexico or Asia respectively and five per cent in Australia.

"Many high-net worth families have significant equity accumulated in their principal residence and investment portfolios," said Mr. Downey. "For those looking to diversify their investments, purchasing an additional property in Canada or abroad can be a great option as interest rates are close to all-time lows. However, before they sign on the dotted line - it's important to ensure the purchase of another property does not impact their current lifestyle and fits well with their wealth plan."

He added, "Additionally, having the financing already in place puts more control into the hands of the buyer. They can avoid being subject to financing conditions or the complicated process of purchasing or financing a property abroad."

Regional Breakdown:

Region Average value of primary residence % who have paid off mortgage % who have mortgage Average value of mortgage debt % who own a second property Average value of second property % top reason for having a second property for vacation purposes
National 1,489,400 58 15 176,000 36 708,500 47
Quebec 678,600 47 20 95,800 39 477,100 50
Ontario 1,787,900 56 15 231,500 27 1,170,200 40
Alberta 719,500 70 14 199,200 44 642,600 33
B.C. 3,908,200 67 13 236,100 44 634,100 67

Survey results cited in this study are from an online survey that was conducted by Pollara between October 15th and 28th, 2014 with a sample of 306 Canadians 18 years of age and older, who have at least $1 million in investable assets (excluding employers retirement plans, insurance products or their home).

About BMO Private Banking (formerly BMO Harris Private Banking)

Backed by the stability and resources of BMO Financial Group, professionals at BMO Private Banking are responsible for the successful management of wealth by providing expert advice and highly personalized services -- all in a coordinated approach. Banking services are provided by Bank of Montreal. Investment management services are provided by BMO Private Investment Counsel Inc. Estate, Trust, Planning and Custodial Services are offered through BMO Trust Company.

For more information on BMO Private Banking, please visit http://www.bmo.com/privatebanking.

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