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Canadian homeowners don't think they'll be mortgage-free until they're 57: CIBC

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TORONTO - The average Canadian homeowner doesn't think they'll be mortgage-free until they're 57 — two years longer than what they expected last year, a survey by CIBC suggests (TSX:CM).

The survey also found that half of those surveyed said other debt, from credit cards to lines of credit, have increased and impeded their ability to pay off their mortgage more quickly.

"Our view would be that Canadians are taking a look at their broader finances and are working to pay down other debts first to reduce their interest costs," said Colette Delaney, executive vice-president of mortgage, lending, insurance and deposit products at CIBC in an email.

"Those with a growing amount of non-mortgage debt are less likely to be taking extra steps to pay down their mortgage, and this can lead to a longer payback period."

Of those who said they have taken on additional debt since buying a home, only 11 per cent were able to make an extra payment on their mortgage last year.

Meanwhile, 19 per cent of those who have not added to their debt loads since buying a home were able to make lump sum payments.

The report released Friday also found those in British Columbia expected to be the oldest at 59 when they have paid off their mortgage, followed by those in Manitoba and Saskatchewan at 58.

Elsewhere, the average expected age was 57 years old.

Delaney said that the longer someone has to hold a mortgage may mean the less savings they have for retirement.

"Being mortgage free sooner can help accelerate retirement savings, but carrying a mortgage into your late 50s can have the opposite effect and make it more challenging to reach your long term savings goals," said Delaney.

The poll was conducted online by Leger Marketing surveyed 1,503 adult Canadians mortgage-holders between Feb. 19 to 25.

The polling industry's professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

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