wealthy canadians houses

Photo: Hernani Silverio/Flickr

For Canadians with $1 million or more of investable assets, home sweet home is worth quite a lot of money. A Bank of Montreal (BMO) Private Banking study found that, on-average, the primary residence of a high-net worth Canadian is worth $1.5 million.

However, that number spikes considerably depending on region. Though wealthy Ontarians stayed somewhat close to the national average at $1,787,900, the average value of the primary residence for well-heeled British Columbians was a staggering $3,908,200.

About 44 per cent of high net worth British Columbians also had a second property, compared to 36 per cent of the demographic Canada-wide and 27 per cent in Ontario.

Though wealthy British Columbians are more likely to own more real estate beyond their home, the value of that second property is, relatively speaking, not quite as high as their counterparts in other provinces. The average value of a second property is $1,170,200 in Ontario and $634,100 in British Columbia. The national average is $708,539 and the lowest among the regions is Quebec at $477,100.

Why the gap between Ontarians and British Columbians? Perhaps it’s because 67 per cent of British Columbians have a secondary property for vacation purposes compared to 40 per cent of Ontarians. Nationally, nearly half, or 47 per cent of the wealthy Canadians surveyed, said they owned that extra property purely as a vacation getaway. The other top reasons for owning another piece of real estate was for investment purposes (39 per cent) and to generate income (36 per cent).

The study also looked at mortgages to see how many wealthy Canadians owned their homes outright. Across Canada, 58 per cent of high net worth individuals had paid off their mortgage. Among those that still had a mortgage, the average value for mortgage debt was $176,000.

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