Jan. 13, 2010

Property Investment Remain Popular in Canada

With the start of new year, more Canadians are primarily focusing on paying down their debts, a poll conducted for Manulife Financial in December 2009 claims. This outcome came after three quarters of increases of interest in investment.

The priority to pay down debts has gotten to its highest level in 5 years in December. Taking care of their consumer credit is now the main priority of 28 percent of 1000 polled Canadians. It was 20 percent two years ago and 24 percent last year. Paying down one's own mortgage is the second top priority. 14 percent of respondents share this opinion, in comparison with 11 percent from a year ago. The thrid most common answer of Canadians was that they are saving for retirement, 11 percent of Canadians are of this opinion - last year it was 14 percent.

Concerning overall financial state of Canadians, 46 percent of respondents think their financial situation is better now than it was 5 years ago. Last year, the number of Canadians who share this view was 5 percent higher and it was 14 percent higher two years ago. 28 percent of polled Canadians believe that their financial situation 5 years back was just the same as it is today, and 25 percent of Canadians consider their current situation to be worse than it was in late 2004.

As for Manulife Sentiment Index, after three quarterly gains in a row, it has decreased in December from 3 months earlier by 7 points to +18. The main focus of the index are the feelings of Canadians about investing in few categories.

It is mainly based on these categories:
-Investing in their homes is the top choice of Canadians. Still, in December 2009, the index for investing in property has declined by 5 points, to +52.
-Investment in real estate decreased by 13 points in December, after quite a few gains this year. Its level, +27 is still higher than it was last year, when it actually went to the negative territory.
-The current level of balanced funds is +16, and they increased by 2 points.
-Cash and fixed income investments decreased by 8 points to + 10 in December.
-The current level of equities is -5, as they have decreased by 6 points.

I'm quite pleased to see Canadians still find investing in their homes this important. And it is also great to know that our country has responsible citizens, the top priority of whom is paying their debt. I'm quite curious whether the repeated warnings by the Bank of Canada's representatives has influenced it somehow.

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