Canadian Homeowners Consider Themselves 'Smart Spenders' According to BMO Study



    TORONTO, March 27 /CNW/ - The majority of Canadian homeowners believe
they are "smart spenders", according to a new Harris/Decima report
commissioned by BMO Bank of Montreal. Respondents also say they want the
flexibility to use credit in a responsible and timely manner so they don't
miss out responding to challenges and opportunities.
    The majority of homeowners feel they are cautious with their spending
habits and a total of 26 per cent describe themselves as 'very disciplined'.
    When asked to define 'smart spending' the majority surveyed describe it
as spending within their budget and always getting the best bang for their
buck. From a personal behaviour perspective, 84 per cent of "smart spenders"
describe themselves as "bargain hunters" or looking for value, while more than
80 per cent say they do their research when making a major purchase.
    "Homeowners' motivation to capitalize on long-term personal growth
opportunities rather than impulse purchases, such as an expensive car or an
exotic trip, is a clear demonstration of their 'smart spending' credentials,"
said Lynne Kilpatrick, Senior Vice President, BMO Bank of Montreal. "More than
41 per cent say they would use additional credit for home renovations and 34
per cent would invest in their retirement savings."
    The survey shows three-quarters of homeowners have debt over and above
their mortgage, with the average debt load at $29,400. Approximately 80 per
cent say they would be very or somewhat confident managing large amounts of
debt. This level of confidence can be partly attributed to the opinion that if
used wisely, money can create money. However, half of respondents say they
have missed out on past opportunities because of a lack of funds.
    "Individuals need maximum flexibility to respond to unexpected
contingencies and also opportunities," said Ms. Kilpatrick. "A home equity
product such as BMO's Homeowner ReadiLine gives Canadians the choice and
control to call the shots, reduce the cost of borrowing and it's there when
you need it."

    
    Regional Differences

    -  Using additional credit to invest in retirement is higher in Vancouver
       than any other city where 45 per cent say they would use additional
       credit to finance their retirement fund.

    -  In Vancouver and Calgary where house prices have sharply increased,
       more than half of respondents say they missed out on an opportunity to
       buy property due to a lack of funds. (51 per cent and 56 per cent
       respectively).

    -  In Montreal, 63 per cent say they did not need to borrow and
       64 per cent note they do not want to live beyond their means. In
       addition, census metropolitan area (CMA) data show more Montrealers
       consider themselves to be disciplined spenders.

    -  Homeowners in Regina are more likely to have three lines of credit
       than any other region surveyed, and are the most likely to want a loan
       that offers them total control over their spending. They are also the
       most conservative investors in the country, preferring to hunt for
       bargains instead of "spending money to make money."

    -  In Atlantic Canada, 72% of homeowners would use their line of credit
       in an unexpected financial emergency
    

    The Harris/Decima online poll was conducted from Feb. 15 to 26 and is
    based on a sample of 1,875 homeowners, aged 35-65 with at least
    20 per cent home equity.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Katelyn Hunter, Toronto,
katelyn.hunter@bmo.com, (416) 867-3996; Lucie Gosselin, Montreal,
lucie.gosselin@bmo.com, (514) 877-1101; Laurie Grant, Vancouver,
laurie.grant@bmo.com, (604) 665-7596


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