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The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) said Monday that a survey it commissioned found 45 per cent of pre-retired homeowners in the province are relying on the value of their property increasing to fund their retirement.

“Owning a home is not a substitute for retirement planning,” said Tyler Fleming, director of the investor office at the OSC, which found homeowners without any retirement savings or plan are among those most likely to be counting on value of their home appreciating.

The survey found 76 per cent of Ontarians 45 or older own their home and among this group of homeowners, nearly 37 per cent say that they are relying on the value of their home increasing to provide for their retirement.

DBRS Inc. noted in a report out Monday that Canadian house prices are up about 230 per cent in the past decade but that wealth is far from a sure thing and the debt agency pointed out that in a span of less than six months prices in the Greater Toronto Area have plunged 31 per cent from their peak.

“Findings suggest a large number of Ontario homeowners, 45 plus (particularly pre-retirees) are replacing retirement planning with the belief that home equity gains will finance their retirement,” said the OSC, in its report. “This approach to retirement planning can be sustainable so long as residential properties maintain or increase in value. However, to the extent Ontarians 45 plus are overestimating their ability to finance their retirement using their homes, or if there is a downward pricing correction in Ontario’s housing market, a number of Ontarians 45 plus may be at risk of not meeting their retirement savings goals.”

The survey also found among those 45 plus Ontarians, who are not yet retired, 73 per cent own their homes — 38 per cent with a mortgage and 37 per cent without a mortgage. Among that group, 38 per cent have no investment savings.

The regulator said the research findings will be used to support the development of its seniors strategy, which the OSC has identified as a priority for its 2017-2018 fiscal year.

The survey was conducted between May 9 and 16, 2017 by Innovative Research Group and involved an online survey of 1,516 Ontarians, aged 45 and older. The results were weighted by age, gender and region using the latest Statistics Canada census data to reflect the actual demographic composition of the adult population aged 45 and older residing in the province.

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