First Canadian Title (Services de Titres FCT)

First Canadian Title (Services de Titres FCT)

May 05, 2005 12:30 ET

Survey shows one in three homeowners aren't properly protected

Those over 60 are least informed, most vulnerable to real estate fraud Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, News Editor OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - May 5, 2005) - Despite a booming real estate market that is pushing housing prices to all-time highs in many communities across the country, a new survey commissioned by First Canadian Title suggests that one in three Canadian homeowners has no knowledge of one of the most important ways to protect their biggest investment.

The national survey conducted by Environics Research, between March 11 and April 6 of this year, asked approximately 1,400 Canadian homeowners whether they had purchased title insurance for their home. Only 23 per cent of those who had purchased title insurance could confirm that they fully understood what it covered. The vast majority of those with coverage had not taken the time to understand how to use it to their full benefit.

The Consumers Council of Canada (CCC) recommends the purchase of title insurance for both new homebuyers and existing homeowners, based on findings from a CCC study, which was released today.

"As the Consumers Council points out, it is critical that Canadian homeowners take the time to verify that their homes are protected by title insurance," said Susan Leslie, Vice President, First Canadian Title. "In the past, this protection was only available to new home buyers; however, as of last year, title insurance is now available to existing homeowners - so there is no longer any excuse for not being protected."

Of those surveyed, 49 per cent confirmed they either had no coverage or did not know if they were covered by title insurance. 71 per cent of Canadian homeowners without title protection had absolutely no understanding of title insurance - a number that rose to 78 per cent for those over the age of 60.

"It's particularly disturbing to see a lack of knowledge of title insurance among older Canadians, as they are likely to be mortgage-free and spend more time away from their home," said Leslie. "These two conditions make them attractive targets of real estate fraud - something that we are seeing on the rise in Canada."

Traditionally, homeowners have purchased title insurance to protect themselves from such surprises as back property taxes that were not paid by a prior owner, or were reassessed, or the cost of a settlement with a neighbor whose new driveway or fence crept across a property line. However, a growing number of Canadians are seeking out coverage to protect themselves from real estate fraud and the costs involved in defending ownership - a concern that has been fueled by numerous high-profile incidences reported in the media.

"Real estate fraud is real and a growing concern for financial institutions, insurers, law enforcement and the industry generally, and we are all working hard to mitigate the risks," said Leslie. "Most people are familiar with how to protect their credit card from fraud by keeping the card secure and only providing it to authorized merchants. As indicated by the survey, a lot more education is required to ensure that Canadian homeowners are aware of the risks and take steps to protect their most valuable asset - their home."

About First Canadian Title
First Canadian Title is Canada's leading provider of title insurance for residential and commercial real estate transactions and other related products and services. Established in 1991, we pioneered the concept of title insurance in Canada, and now issue hundreds of thousands of new policies each year. As the Canadian arm of First American Title Insurance Company - one of the world's premier title insurers - our financial strength, stability and commitment to service excellence are second to none in the industry.

Based in Oakville, Ontario, First Canadian Title employs over 500 people from coast to coast. Our customers include more than 11,000 lawyers and notaries nationwide, every major Canadian chartered bank, other lending institutions, real estate professionals, mortgage brokers, and builders.

For the complete survey or more information please contact:
David Doze
Pilot PMR
416-779-5560
david@pilotpr.com

Mary De Sousa
Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications
First Canadian Title
1-800-307-0370 ext. 3092
mdesousa@firstcdn.com
IN: ECONOMY, FINANCE

Contact Information

  • David Doze
    Primary Phone: 416-462-0199 ext. 25
    Secondary Phone: 416-779-5560
    E-mail: david@pilotpmr.com