Category Archives: rates

the $200 margin of error

This is hard to believe, but apparently more than half of all Canadians are just $200 away from not being able to pay their bills.

“With such a small amount of wiggle room, any kind of unanticipated hardship, such as a job loss or even a car repair, could send an already struggling family into financial despair,” said Grant Bazian, president of MNP’s personal insolvency practice, which is one of the largest in Canada.

For 10 per cent of Canadians, the margin of error when it comes to household finances is even thinner, at $100 or less.

But those with anything at all left at the end of the month were in better shape than many: A whopping 31 per cent of respondents said they already don’t make enough to meet all their financial obligations.

Then there’s this little detail:

Another hair-raising finding from the survey: Roughly 60 per cent said they don’t have a firm grasp of how interest rates affect debt repayments.

The statistic helps explain why many indebted Canadians end up taking on more debt and high-cost loans, said Bazian. “That’s how so many end up in an endless cycle of debt,” he noted.

Shouldn’t be a problem, interest rates are low forever now aren’t they?

Read the full article over at Global News.

The correlation between interest rates and speculation

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz has said he doesn’t think there’s a strong correlation between interest rates and speculation, claiming even a 5% increase in rates wouldn’t have an impact on real estate speculation in Canada.

Over at BetterDwelling.com they disagree with this thought:

It was almost stupid to not buy property at these rates, since it was almost free money. This didn’t just give speculators more capital, it created speculators out of people that would normally not be able to play the game. These aren’t Bay Street suits with wads of cash. Everyone from your barber to grocery store clerks are turning into real estate speculators. Cheap rates, a larger qualified buyer pool, and the expectation that you can always make money, turned shelter into lottery tickets.

Read the full article here.

Debt addicts face painful withdrawal

Canadians love debt that gets sunk into ever rising property prices and banks and other lenders have been happy to provide.  As long as rates only go down this is a pretty good situation, but what if rates were to go the other way one day?

Financial companies have been more-than-willing lenders. But there are several reasons why Canadians have been such enthusiastic borrowers.

Last week, new figures showed that consumer lending now totals more than $2 trillion, a new record. As we reported last week, for every dollar of Canadians’ disposable income, they owe almost $1.67.

From the point of view of Canadians, money has never been so cheap. But the rising cost of housing, especially in the country’s biggest cities, has also drawn people into taking on more debt.

Continue reading Debt addicts face painful withdrawal

Can we fix affordability with more debt?

Most people agree that there’s a problem with the BC real estate market, and that problem is usually called ‘affordability’.

Affordability usually means what you’re buying is too expensive, but it can also mean that you just can’t afford the monthly payment.

Interest rates look at risk of rising, but have been at rock bottom levels for years.  That means there’s not much room to move on ‘affordability’ when it comes to interest rates.

So we’re stuck with two options: price comes down or government starts giving away money.

Important announcement” for first time home buyers from the BC government.

Daily Hive says they know what this announcement will be.

Update: They were correct, here are some details:

The B.C. Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership program will provide a maximum of  $37,500 — or up to 5 per cent of the purchase price — with a 25-year loan that is interest-free and payment-free for the first five years.

“The dream of home ownership must remain in the grasp of the middle class here in British Columbia,” said Premier Christy Clark.

The intention of the program is to assist people who can afford the mortgage payments on a new home but are challenged to make the down payment.

The province will start accepting applications for the program on Jan. 16, 2017.

Homebuyers will pay no monthly interest or principal payments over the first five years as long as the home remains their principal residence.

After the first five years, homebuyers begin making monthly payments at current interest rates.

If too much debt got us into this problem, surely it can get us out of it right?

Meanwhile the Bank of Canada is warning again about huge mortgages and growing household debt.

Poloz: wait and see on interest rates

The Canadian economic outlook is ‘uncertain’ and that sets a high bar for interest rate changes according to Bank of Canada Governor Poloz:

“The situation hasn’t changed much, as far as I can see,” Mr. Poloz said in the Q&A session following a speech in Toronto Monday evening.

He said the wide range of uncertainties that the bank outlined in its October rate decision, when it said it had considered a rate cut but opted to hold the line until more clarity had emerged on such issues as the U.S. election, the pace of Canadian trade, the evolution of the housing market and the impact of Canadian infrastructure spending “is still present. It’s only been a few weeks.”

Read the full article over at the Globe and Mail.