Is homeownership out of reach? Find out how Canadians feel in our Spring Debt Survey results

This year's survey had a strong focus on homeownership and generational wealth with many homebuyers saying they've gotten help from their parents to enter the housing market while others feel homeownership is simply out of reach for them.

The cold hard facts

  • 85% of those who have young children are worried about the future affordability of real-estate, when their children are ready for home ownership

  • 51% of Canadians with mortgages worry about making their mortgage payments

  • 3 in 4 Canadians who want a house, can't afford one

  • 75% of those who do not own a home want to own one but can't afford to

  • 71% who do not own a home worry about saving up for one

  • 5% of those with a mortgage went one step further and used equity from their own home to help their adult children purchase a home

Changing the conversation to short- and long-term goals

The dream of homeownership is still alive, and Canadians need help getting through the obstacle course that is the homebuying process. Before you can help them reach their dream of owning a home, they need to let you see their entire finance picture so you can set realistic expectations. Based on what they can afford, their first home may not be their forever home.


And, it's not all bad news!

Peoples attitude when it comes to debt and spending is changing. Although the pandemic has taken on toll on the mental health of many Canadians, those who are in debt have been feeling increasingly comfortable with their situation, as the pandemic has progressed.

  • 32% of those surveyed, report having no debt outside their mortgage. That's an increase of +5 pts vs. Fall 2020 and +11 pts vs. Fall 2019.

  • Depending on the type of non-mortgage debt Canadians are carrying it's either declined or remained the same since Fall 2020. They're not increasing non-mortgage debt.

  • Most notably, significantly fewer report having a personal loan (17%; -4 pts vs. Fall '20; -5 pts vs. Fall '19). And fewer are saddled with credit cards carrying a balance (51%; -9 pts vs. Fall '19) or lines of credit (32%; -4 pts) than were back in Fall 2019, prior to when the pandemic began.

This is excellent news as you go through the process of qualifying for a mortgage. Having no debt, or no debt other than a mortgage for those looking to refinance or transfer their mortgage is certainly something to cheer about. It could also result in clients getting approved for a higher limit on their new mortgage.


About our Debt Survey

On its eleventh year, the Manulife Bank Debt Survey was completed online by Ipsos between April 30 and May 4, 2021. It surveyed 2,001 Canadians in all provinces between ages 20 and 69 with household income of more than $40,000.

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