Welcome to September! Summer’s not officially over, but for most of us it’s time to get back to work or school. August didn’t bring many surprises in the world of personal finance, but if you’re just getting back from a nice long vacation, here are some stories you might have missed:
The province that’s home to Canada’s most expensive housing market may also be home to some of Canada’s most savvy homeowners. A study released last month showed that 25% of British Columbians—and as many as 40% of Vancouverites—who own a detached home have a secondary unit that they rent to others. This news comes after an announcement that prospective buyers will soon be able to count 100% of rental income toward their annual earnings when buying a home.
The study looked at homeowners in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC, and found an average of 14% of homeowners in those provinces rented a portion of their house. Meanwhile, in Vancouver, competition is heating up for purpose-built rental apartment buildings, as investors impatiently wait for rents to catch up with market values.
Across the country, students are heading back to school and are wondering how they’re going to pay for it all. Newfoundland and Labrador recently announced it would end its student loan program in favour of non-repayable grants, while new rules in Ontario are making it easier for students to qualify for loans. At the same time, the federal student loans program is reportedly stepping up efforts to collect outstanding student debt. While student loans are helpful to many students, a CBC report says many others are stopping the gap with their credit cards. If you’re planning to use a credit card to get through the school year, our advice is to set a budget, do your best to pay the full balance each month, and compare credit cards to find the best one for your situation.
For now, anyway. Toronto, notorious for setting real estate records on a daily basis, saw the average price of a detached house slip below the $1 million mark in July to a measly $996,970. Real estate prices typically fall in July and August before perking back up in September. So, by the time you’re reading this, prices are probably already starting to head higher.
The summer respite apparently didn’t materialize in Vancouver this year, however, where some neighbourhoods saw year-over-year price increases of 20% on single-family detached homes. The average price of all homes in Toronto and Vancouver is slightly less eye-popping, respectively reaching $609,236 and $866,772 in July.
Interest Rate Announcement Wednesday
The Bank of Canada (BoC) makes their next interest rate announcement this Wednesday morning at 10:00am, which could have an impact on variable mortgage rates. In July, the BoC dropped the rate by 25 basis points to 0.50%. They’ve gone lower than that before—the rate was 0.25% for several months in 2009—so don’t rule out the possibility of another cut. Whatever happens, we’ll have the breakdown of what it means for you on our blog and Twitter as soon as it’s announced.
Did you know the average wedding in Canada costs over $30,000? If you’re getting married, you’ll want to take a look at our new infographic: How Credit Cards Can Help You Cash In On Your Wedding. It has all the best tricks for using credit cards to turn big wedding expenses into big travel rewards for your honeymoon.
Not planning a wedding bust still want to know how to get the most out of your credit cards? Start by asking our founder, Alyssa Richard; that’s what Global’s The Morning Show did. Click here to watch the video and get Alyssa’s take on how to pick the right travel rewards card and take full advantage of perks like travel insurance.