How did Canadians fare on mortgage payments during the pandemic?

First-time buyers continue to dominate the market

How did Canadians fare on mortgage payments during the pandemic?

As much as 85% of Canadian homeowners said that they encountered “no difficulties” in maintaining their mortgage payments during the pandemic, although 31% of home buyers reported experiencing a bidding war, according to new data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

In the 2021 edition of its Mortgage Consumer Survey, CMHC also found that of those who encountered bidding wars, 60% said that they ended up overpaying for their home purchases. Still, the vast majority of buyers (90%) said that, overall, their purchased home meets their needs.

CMHC reported that first-time buyers are dominating this year so far, accounting for 53% of the consumer base. The remaining 47% were repeat buyers in 2021.

Among recent mortgage transactions, 65% were renewals, while 18% were refinances and 17% were directly for newly purchased homes. Approximately 40% of Canadian consumers reported that they obtained mortgage loan insurance, while 56% did not.

Read more: How is the focus on housing affecting Canadians’ spending power?

Fully 80% of consumers said that they were aware of the federal mortgage payment deferral programs, with 67% of this contingent agreeing that the system was a good way to help homeowners. Approximately 16% took advantage of the deferral program, with participation being higher among refinancers.

Amid this resurgent activity, however, more than eight out of 10 consumers said that their housing needs did not change despite COVID-19. Regarding their current housing situation, 52% of Canadians said that they were confident, and 47% felt optimistic. Only 10% reported being stressed, and 3% were frustrated.

For 77% of mortgage consumers, the pandemic also brought about a renewed and intensified appreciation for the value of their home.