Record low interest rates are helping Canadians pay off their debt faster, but cheap borrowing costs are not enough to overcome the red hot housing sector, according to a new survey.

The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals says 35% of Canadians were able to bump up their payments in the last year, some of them taking advantage of a renewed loan at a lower interest rate. That lower rate allows them to apply more of their monthly payment to principal as opposed to just interest.

CAAMP found in its May survey that the average mortgage rate of a Canadian homeowner is 3.24%, that’s down from 3.5% a year ago. It said the renewal rate for what it called “recent” mortgages was down to 3.02% on average.

The group’s statistics show most people are doing better on renewal. Of the 2.2 million borrowers who have renewed or refinanced in the past year, 1.2 million saw their rate fall. Of the 750,000 who saw an increase, the rate was negligible. In the entire country, only 4% of borrowers have an interest rate of 5% or more.

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