Bankers at some of Canada’s biggest lenders say they are seeing a shift toward larger down payments on home purchases, reports The Globe and Mail.

Down payments are a bit of a black box to observers of the real estate business. Average down payments are one of those mysterious data points that are not publicly available, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce economist Benjamin Tal pointed out in a research note recently.

But Sean Amato-Gauci, senior vice-president of home equity financing at Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest mortgage lender, told The Globe and Mail that the bank has seen average down payments in its uninsured portfolio of mortgages rise by about 10 per cent in the last two years (uninsured mortgages are generally those where the down payment is greater than 20 per cent).

Down payments in the bank’s insured portfolio (banks must insure mortgages if the borrower puts down less than 20 per cent) are also increasing.

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