CMHC: Retail, construction and services workers have high share of mortgage deferrals

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OTTAWA — Canada's housing authority says retail, construction and services workers were the most common deferrers of mortgage payments in the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

New data from Canada's Mortgage and Housing Corp. shows those sectors had the largest share of workers who had taken advantage of deferral programs by last May on mortgages they had signed before March 31.

CMHC says the high numbers of deferrals correlated with data showing the retail, construction and service industries were hit with the largest increases in unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the other end of the spectrum, CMHC found government, education and health-care workers had below-average shares of mortgage deferrals.

CMHC data shows the leisure and entertainment industry also experienced a 12.9 per cent increase in the unemployment rate between April and May, but that spike did not produce a large volume of deferrals.

CMHC says by the end of June, 17.9 per cent of people with outstanding homeowner mortgages insured by CMHC had exercised payment deferral options and the bulk of those people seeking deferrals were in Quebec, Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021.

The Canadian Press