You’ve probably seen the headlines: the Bank of Canada has raised their key interest rate. Yet again. And this hike isn’t any less forgiving than the last one. In another unprecedented move (anyone sick of that word yet?) the rate increased by 0.50%, double the normal increase of 0.25%. Yes, it’s a big jump that’s getting a lot of media buzz. But how bad is it really? Is it worth all the alarm? Will rates continue to climb?Continue reading “Rates Are On the Up and Up… But For How Much Longer?”
You might have heard some sensationalist news stories over the past year about Canadian homeowners over-borrowing. With the employment rate so low, and mortgage debt so high, how could Canadians possibly keep up with their payments? Headlines spewed dire warnings that once payment deferrals expired, borrowers would default in droves.
Except that isn’t what happened at all.Continue reading “Despite Uncertainty, Canadians Are Keeping Up With Mortgage Payments”
In so many ways, the pandemic has been devastating for Canadians. Between layoffs, supply-chain shortages, and healthcare challenges, the last year and a half has tested us in ways we never could have imagined a decade ago. And yet, in the midst of adversity, some silver lining has come to light: Canadians have actually been very smart with their money.
We know that Canadians have never had more disposable income. Lockdowns physically limited our ability to shop and dine out while CERB payments padded our pockets for months. But people weren’t running out and buying Teslas. In fact, they were using their excess cash to pay down expensive debt.
This happened almost immediately. Less than two months into the first lockdown, May 2020 saw the first decline in non-mortgage debt in decades. By January 2021, non-mortgage debt had plummeted by more than $20 billion, including a whopping decline of $16.6 billion in credit card debt. Now able to pay down their Visa bills, Canadians were able to incur more practical debt: mortgage debt.
Mortgage Debt in the Pandemic Era
As non-mortgage debt evaporated, mortgage debt ballooned. Almost $99.6 billion between the start of COVID and January 2021, to be exact. Why? Mortgage rates fell. The stock market soared. Extra disposable income made it a little easier to save for a down payment. But more than anything, the stay-at-home orders forced Canadians to really value their living spaces.
The Bottom Line
Canadians are trading in their bad debt for good debt. What’s the difference? Bad debt is spent on inessential items that don’t retain or accrue value, while good debt can enhance your net worth over time. In my opinion, mortgage debt is good debt.
Real estate values in Canada have only increased over the last 25 years. So when you take out a loan on a home, you’ll almost certainly see a return. Having debt tied to a tangible asset that appreciates in value is prudent, whereas having debt tied to an overcharged Amex card is not. The trend towards good debt is an indication that Canadians are getting more savvy at managing their money.
But it’s also a huge indication that Canadians value homeownership. You can even see it in how much they’re spending on home decor and renovations. With home values on the rise and rates remaining stable, it’s very likely that we’ll see mortgage debt climb even more than we already have.
Your best interest is my only interest. I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments. Like this article? Share with a friend.
Steve Garganis: 416-224-0114; firstname.lastname@example.org
Picture this: you’re buying a home or refinancing your mortgage. You hire a lawyer to facilitate the transaction. You decide to go with a mortgage that is NOT through one of the big six banks, like hundreds of thousands of Canadians do every year. Suddenly, you get a call from your lawyer. They want to charge you an additional fee for not choosing TD, CIBC, Scotiabank, RBC, BMO or National Bank.
Is this common? Unfortunately, it’s more common than you think.
Is this legal? You bet it’s legal.
Is this acceptable? That’s for you to decide.Continue reading “Your Lawyer May Be Overcharging You”
The Bank of Canada governor, Till Macklem, made no change to interest rates on April 21st, the 3rd of 8 annual meetings dates. This comes as no surprise, though, There wasn’t a chance of an interest rate hike anyway. You can read more on this here .Continue reading “Interest Rates to Stay As-is for Now. But When Will They Rise Again?”