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Four-in-ten Canadian homeowners have either made extra mortgage payments, or increased the amount of their mortgage payment in the past year, finds a survey by Manulife Bank of Canada. Homeowners with mortgage debt paid down an average of $6,300 in the past year, with 18% making an extra lump-sum payment, 17% increasing their regular payments, and 5% doing both.

Read: Developers banking on soaring home prices

Further, 56%  reduced their debt in the past year, up from 51% a year ago, while 80% say that being or becoming debt-free was among their top financial priorities.

“These results are encouraging,” said Rick Lunny, president and CEO, Manulife Bank of Canada. “Effective debt management is absolutely central to long-term financial health, and clearly many Canadians are taking advantage of the low-rate environment to reduce their debt.”

Read: Canadians expect to pay $60K in mortgage interest

Additional findings include:

  • 79% are willing to cut back on some of their discretionary spending if it means they could be debt-free sooner;
  • homeowners who have a mortgage report an average of $190,000 in mortgage debt, ranging from an average of $242,300 in Alberta to $127,300 in Atlantic Canada;
  • one in six say they’d struggle to make regular mortgage payments within one month if they lost their job;
  • 70% would direct any extra money towards retirement savings; and
  • more than one-third of homeowners would encounter financial difficulty if their mortgage payment increased by 10%.

Originally published on Advisor.ca

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