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The growing problem of mortgage fraud among millennials

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Out-of-reach home prices are making millennials increasingly comfortable with committing mortgage fraud, according to a new survey from Equifax.

The agency found that a quarter of millennials think it’s acceptable to inflate your income when applying for a mortgage, nearly double the 12 per cent of the general population.

“It’s concerning that so many younger adults we surveyed believe it’s OK to inflate their income to purchase the home they want,” said Julie Kuzmic, director of consumer advocacy at Equifax Canada, in a news release.

“Fudging income numbers when completing a mortgage application is fraud. It also becomes a slippery slope for these people who may end up stretching themselves too thin.”

While an exaggerated salary could help young buyers get approved for a mortgage, fibbing could catch up with you down the road.

“Failing to make mortgage payments in full and on time can negatively impact your credit history and credit scores,” said Kuzmic.

“What some may see as a little white lie during the mortgage application process could have legal consequences or become a very hard lesson for people to learn if they cannot keep up with their mortgage payments.”

It’s one thing to believe it’s acceptable to lie, but 19 per cent of millennials admit to going through with it on a credit or loan application, compared to 12 per cent for all other respondents.

Among millennials, 23 per cent called mortgage fraud a victimless crime as opposed to only 16 per cent of others surveyed.

Even though there’s little data to support the belief, 61 per cent of respondents blame foreign investors, not fraud, for higher homes prices.

Less than half (48 per cent) think the mortgage stress test should be relaxed, but 78 per cent said the federal government should help first-time homebuyers in some way.

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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