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Ratehub logo Roundup: October 2015

It seems like every day I come across something new that proves Canadians are relentlessly creative when it comes to personal finance. From Vancouver, where people are finding new ways to stake out their claim in one of the world’s hottest real estate markets, to Calgary, whose citizens are holding their own in spite of a shaky year for oil, ingenuity ruled again this month from coast to coast. Here’s what made the news in September:

Guess which country’s real estate prices are growing fastest

The answer is Ireland. But Canada is number 4 on the list, thanks to low mortgage rates and a low dollar that’s made our properties even more attractive to foreign investments (Sweden and Australia are numbers 2 and 3, respectively, in case you were wondering). Real estate investment isn’t a one-way street though. In Manhattan, more foreign real estate investment comes from Canada than any other country. And did you know Canadian real estate developers are taking their pitches overseas to drum up investment? A report in The Globe and Mail reveals power players are going straight to Beijing to sell Toronto condos.

We’re in more debt again

If something went wrong and your paycheque was delayed, would you be able to make it a week? Almost half of Canadians answered, “no,” when they were asked that question in a recent survey. It’s no wonder so many people are living paycheque to paycheque. Canadians now owe an average of $1.65 for every dollar of disposable income they earn. That includes mortgage debt, however, and many people lucky enough to own their homes are seeing their net worth increase rapidly along with real estate prices.

Laneway homes are the new lofts

Just when you thought Vancouver was out of room for new houses, the country’s most resourceful real estate city finds yet another way. Laneway homes – small second houses built on undeveloped parts of existing properties – are catching on to the point that at least one insurance company has created a special product just to cover the tiny buildings, and the contents within them. The insurance industry proved its agility twice this month, as a new car insurance policy for Uber drivers was announced as well. So if you have a house where your garage should be, and you count on ride sharing to get around, you’re now covered in all directions. Be sure to get car insurance quotes as only a few providers offer ride-share insurance.

Do your kids know how the bank works?

This story from the USA makes us happy. A high school in New York is teaching students about personal finance by letting them run a bank. Sponsored by Wauchula State Bank, the program lets students open accounts and pays high interest on deposits, and an elective class gives students a chance to help with everything from daily operations to marketing. We can’t wait to meet the next generation of savers.

Team updates

Look for at the Canadian Personal Finance Conference on October 17th & 18th in Toronto. We’ll be giving a fintech demo (that’s financial technology if you weren’t sure), and the keynote speaker is the wealthy barber and former dragon David Chilton. Come say hi if you’re there!

PSA: It’s October and the spending season is right around the corner. You might not be able to avoid opening your wallet for Thanksgiving, Halloween, Black Friday and Christmas, but we can help you prepare for it. We can help you find the right rewards credit card to turn your holiday shopping into something nice for yourself. And if you’re really organized, you can now compare high interest savings accounts to earn the most interest when you’re saving up for that big ticket item. Start early, spend wisely, and take deep breaths. It will all be OK.

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