Boomers Are Carrying Mortgages Into Retirement

More seniors are struggling to make mortgage payments

By Jennifer Hughes


Seniors have the highest rate of mortgage delinquencies in Canada, according to a recent national report by CMHC that looked at mortgage and consumer credit. While delinquency rates are relatively low and stable in Canada (only 0.3%), rates have been higher among those 65 or older than in any age group since 2015 and they’ve been rising. This suggests that some seniors’ mortgage loans are more vulnerable and that those over 65 might be at higher risk for financial instability if they are unable to make payments on time due to retirement or other changes.

Using figures based on the last quarter of 2018, the CMHC report showed that, overall, debt among Canadians was rising faster than incomes.

Fewer Canadians aged 45-54 have mortgages, but those over 55 are increasingly likely to be carrying a mortgage. Those over 45 are also more likely to have larger debts. Reasons for this include low interest rates and the rising cost of housing.

While home equity has increased among seniors, it’s becoming more normal than in the past for baby boomers (those between the ages of 55 and 73) to have mortgages after they retire. Past generations were able to purchase houses at affordable costs and pay them off within a reasonable amount of time, but that’s no longer the case. Now, nearly two-thirds of Canadian debt is attributed to mortgages.

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