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Average Metro Vancouver homeowner worth more than any others in Canada: StatsCan

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StatsCan research suggests the average Metro Vancouver homeowner was worth about $435,000 in 2016

Debt expert says latest StatsCan numbers don't mean every homeowner in Metro Vancouver is debt-free

METRO VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The average homeowner in Metro Vancouver is worth more money than those anywhere else in Canada, thanks to the high value of real estate.

Scott Hannah, president and CEO of the Credit Counselling Society, says that doesn’t mean every homeowner in this region is debt-free.

“It really depends on circumstances in life. For example, those of us who may be looking to perhaps move and re-locate to a less expensive place, it may put you in a better position. But for the vast majority of us who plan on living in our houses — it’s our home and we plan on staying there — we really should be… taking a very conservative approach,” he explains.

“Just because my home has gone up $100,000 or $200,000, if my circumstances haven’t changed dramatically — in terms of my income and other assets — I need to be careful… and resist the temptatation to take on additional debt.”

He says it is possible to take on additional debt based on the net worth of your home. However, you can run into trouble if you have equity in your home but aren’t able to meet your monthly expenses based on your current income.

Hannah admits that for many people, owning a home means initially need to devoting all of available income towards making the purchase and handling a mortgage, people need to get serious about saving for retirement.

“It comes a lot quicker than what they expect and if they don’t take steps to address that, they may find themselves needing to sell that home at one point in the future.”

“If you’re counting on your home to finance your retirement and taking a lot more debt when your income is lower, you’re putting yourself in a very precarious position and people need to balance this and not forget about other forms of savings as really a determining factor in terms of managing their affairs in the future,” adds Hannah.

Census research from Statistics Canada suggests the average Metro Vancouver homeowner was worth about $435,000 in 2016.