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A whopping 41% of Kelowna homeowners are mortgage-free

At first, I thought these numbers must be wrong.

Really, a hefty 41.3% of Kelowna homeowners are mortgage-free in a real estate market that's notoriously expensive with mortgage interest rates at their highest in 20 years

41.3% sounded so high.

But, then I got to thinking and talked to expert mortgage broker Aaron Marsh of Rampone-Marsh Mortgages.

<who>Photo credit: Rampone-Marsh Mortgages</who>Aaron Marsh is a broker with Rampone-Marsh Mortgages.

"That statistic doesn't surprise me," said Marsh.

"You have to remember that 25 years ago you could buy a house in Kelowna for ($168,900 for a single-family house, $137,950 for a townhouse and $101,750 for a condo). If you took a typical 25-year amortization on that mortgage and chipped away at it with 25 years of monthly payments you'd have it paid off."

By the way, we contacted Marsh as an authority because his firm, Rampone-Marsh, was voted 'best mortgage broker' in this year's Best of Kelowna awards.

<who>Photo credit: Ian MacDonald on Unsplash</who>Generally, the key to being mortgage free is to pay it off over 25 to 30 years.

Kelowna has a lot of people who bought decades ago, paid down their mortgage religiously and are now reaping the benefits of being mortgage-free.

In fact, that figure of 41.3% of homeowners being without a mortgage works out to 25,225 households having no mortgage out of the total 61,020 private households in Kelowna.

These numbers come from 2021 data from Statistics Canada that was analyzed and released by online gaming experts Casivoo.

Now, why are online gambling experts getting into the survey game?

To inform the public with relevant information, but, also, I suppose, to get the Casivoo name in the news.

Anyway, it is interesting that 41.3% of homeowners in the city are mortgage-free.

It's a coup of dedication, planning and hard work for homeowners who bought at the right time and stuck out the 20, 25 or 30 years to pay off the mortgage.

There's also a lot of wealth in Kelowna, so a portion of the mortgage-free must be the rich who bought a house outright or with a massive downpayment and paid off the mortgage quickly.

However, the bought-cheap-and-paid-it-off-over-25-years is the more likely scenario.

The 41.3% mortgage-free figure puts Kelowna at No. 8 on the list behind Thunder Bay at 47%, Peterborough with 45.2%, St. Catharines-Niagara at 43.5%, Victoria with 43.2%, Windsor at 42.8%, Belleville-Quinte West with 42.3% and Kingston and Nanaimo tied in 7th at 42%.

The top 7 cities on the list are a mix of places where house prices are lower, roughly the same and higher than Kelowna's.

That means if you bought a house years ago, for whatever price, and pay down the mortgage systematically, you will eventually pay it off.

See the whole list of 38 cities across the country below.

<who>Photo credit: Becca Tapert on Unsplash</who>It's getting increasingly difficult for young people to get into their own home and pay off the mortgage.

"I also won't be surprised to see Kelowna's percentage come down from 41.3%," said Marsh.

'It's a sad part of life that Canadians' incomes have not kept pace with the increase in home prices. It's become unaffordable for many and it will take longer and longer to pay off mortgages."

Even if some people have paid off their mortgage or whittled down a big chunk of it, they now have the equity to refinance, take out a loan or line of credit against the house or start a reverse mortgage.

Marsh said that's been happening as some people find it hard to keep up with the cost of living, need a cash infusion or better cash flow.

With benchmark home prices in Kelowna now at $1 million for a typical house, $725,000 for a townhouse and $507,000 for a condominium, people signing onto mortgages currently face the daunting task of big mortgage payments for the next 25 to 30 years.

"Obviously, every Canadian hopes to pay off their mortgage," said Marsh.

"Every homeowner we work with we devise a play to pay it off eventually."

</who>This list was generated by based on Statistics Canada data.

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