Here are some of the stories that caught our eye this week:
Mortgage carrying costs will increase by 8% in 2018
This week Scotiabank forecasted a big change for first-time homebuyers as carrying costs for homes are set to increase by 8 per cent in 2018. The bank noted that a series of interest rate hikes and mortgage rule changes introduced over the past few years are have likely contributed to this increase. An extension of a stress test to uninsured mortgage holders, which is currently under consideration by OSFI, could further exacerbate affordability issues for new homebuyers.
RBC added to this sentiment with reports that housing affordability in Canada is at its lowest since 1990. At the same time, the bank pointed out that, while affordability looks bleak in major urban centres, trends outside the Greater Toronto and Vancouver areas have been more stable.
Peel Region to consider ending EQAO tests
Ontario’s second-largest school board, Peel District School Board, is considering nixing math and literacy testing for children in Grades 3, 6 and 9 administered by the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO). During meetings this week, Peel District education trustees voiced their concerns over the disconnect between what the EQAO tests and what students learn in the classroom.
Trustees noted the importance of EQAO scores to parents choosing schools for their children, and for real estate agents who use the scores to attract homebuyers to certain neighbourhoods. EQAO scores are currently the only standardized assessments available for public access, and the scores play an important role in the Fraser Institute’s annual school rankings.
See ya later, Sears
Sears Canada will soon be undergoing a full liquidation of its retail stores, ending a 65-year retail era in Canada. Sales in the stores should be beginning as early as next week, and will likely extend into the start of the holiday shopping season. Sears Canada currently has 74 full department store locations, eight Sears Home Stores, and 49 Sears Hometown stores, facing closure. It has approximately 12,000 employees in Canada, three-quarters of which are part-time.
Looking for something interesting to read? The CBC hosted a Debt over the decades panel this week to learn more about how different generations perceive and deal with debt.