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CALGARY, July 10, 2017 – A new survey released today by MNP LTD finds that Albertans are concerned about the uncertainty of a potential housing bubble and impending interest rate hikes, adding financial stress to households already carrying a record level of debt.
Six in ten (61%) of Albertans and nearly half (48%) of Canadians homeowners are concerned about the impact rising interest rates will have on their finances. At the same time, more than half of Albertans (59%) are worried about the potential impact that a decline in house prices might have on homeowners.
“Many are financing their unaffordable lifestyles by borrowing against their homes. Making matters worse, many are not making regular payments against the principal. With the financial stress of the downturn, and the threat of an increase in interest rates, Albertans are going to find it even harder to make ends meet,” says Calgary-based Donna Carson, Licensed Insolvency Trustee at MNP LTD, a division of MNP LLP.
Nearly four in ten (39%) homeowners in Alberta say that they will be faced with financial difficulties if the value of their home goes down, the highest proportion among other provinces. Even if home values don’t decline in the near future; three in ten Albertans (31%) who have a mortgage agree that they are ‘in over their head’ with their current mortgage payments.
Homeowners aren’t the only ones concerned. Nearly 80% of Albertans rate their ability to cope with a 1% interest rate increase as less than optimal. The vast majority of Albertans (83%) would have difficulty absorbing an additional $130 per month in interest payments on debt.
“We’ve become far too comfortable paying only the minimum payments on our debts. It’s time to start assessing our ability to pay down those debts and ask ourselves if we can truly afford them if there is a rate change,” says Carson.
When asked about their personal debt situation, the majority of Albertans don’t feel optimistic. Nearly seven in ten (69%) rated their debt situation as less than good, while 16%rated their situation as bad. On a scale of one to ten, from terrible to excellent, Albertans gave themselves an average rating of 6.
With nearly four in ten Albertans (38%) finding themselves within $200 per month of financial insolvency, there is little wiggle room left to pay any unexpected bills or debts. If that amount is increased to $300 per month, a staggering 42% of Albertans would be on the verge of insolvency, with nearly one in four (22%) not making enough to cover their bills and debt payments. Four in ten (42%) say they are concerned about their current level of debt.
“Albertans should be bracing themselves for what’s ahead, especially those who already consider themselves to be in financial distress. Seek professional advice and start creating a realistic plan to deal with that debt,” says Carson.
Other poll highlights include:
MNP LTD, a division of MNP LLP, is one of the largest personal insolvency practices in Canada. For more than 50 years, our experienced team of Licensed Insolvency Trustees and advisors have been working collaboratively with individuals to help them recover from times of financial distress and regain control of their finances. With more than 200 Canadian offices from coast-to-coast, MNP helps thousands of Canadians each year who are struggling with an overwhelming amount of debt. Visit
www.MNPdebt.ca to learn more.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between June 19 and June 21, 2017, on behalf of MNP Debt. For this survey, a sample of 2,002 Canadians aged 18+ from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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