10 ways money changed in 2016 - The Dime Turner

Official blog of Refresh Financial

10 Ways Our Money Changed In 2016

Canadian money

2016 was an interesting year for money in Canada, especially when it came to the housing market. We saw a lot of ups and downs, good news and bad news. Here’s a quick recap of 10 ways money changed in 2016, more than one of which likely affected you personally:

1. Fewer of us were able to qualify for an average Canadian home.

The new mortgage rules implemented by the federal government make it harder for many average Canadians to qualify for a mortgage. It is especially difficult to qualify in Canada’s hot real estate markets, like Vancouver or Toronto, because housing prices are so high. According to the new rules, you have to pass a rigorous mortgage stress test in order to qualify, and whether or not you succeed is dependent entirely on your income. In the new year, we might see more Canadians move to less populated areas so that they can afford to buy a home.

2. The rate you get your mortgage at is likely to be lower.

Sites like ratehub.ca are reporting a lower average mortgage rate being listed on their website. So, despite some banks raising their fixed rates, the average variable rate is down. Many experts predict the rates will rise soon enough, though.

3. Foreign investors now pay a 15% tax on home purchases in Southern British Columbia.

The hope here was to slow the foreign investment in real estate market in Canada’s larger cities, enabling more Canadian residents to purchase a home. While it’s not had a huge effect, a slight slowdown has been detected since implementing the new rules.

4. Walmart began its ban on accepting Visa across Canada.

It began in Thunder Bay, was implemented in Manitoba, and will continue to roll out across the country, unless Visa agrees to lower its high fees to merchants.

5. Your financial institution might have paid you back money that they overcharged you.

Several major Canadian financial institutions have turned themselves in for overcharging customers over the last few years. These institutions agreed to pay their loyal customers back every cent they overcharged.

6. The cost of a payday loan became cheaper in a few provinces.

The fee per $100 borrowed from payday loan companies has dropped significantly due to new regulations in Alberta and British Columbia, while other provinces have hinted that they will follow suit. While it's always a good idea to stay away from payday loans at any cost, if you do seek one out, you will pay less.

7. Your consumer debt might be getting smaller.

Reports also suggest that the majority of Canadians are bringing their debts down. It’s the few who are increasing their debts who are bringing up the average for everyone.

8. You might have defaulted on a loan.

The rate of delinquency on debt has gone up just slightly this year.

9. If you’re in Fort McMurray, you’re probably in more debt than ever.

A combination of the devastating fire that wiped out the city, as well as the dips the oil industry experienced this year has led to Fort Mac residents relying heavily on credit to get back on their feet.

10. You might be spending less on food.

It’s true! Food prices have reported their first drop in a long time in the last quarter of 2016.

The big picture here is that Canadians still struggle with debt. If you feel like you’ve struggled this year, why not make the change now? Find out more about the Refresh Financial Secured Savings Program and start turning your finances around. Click here.

What are some of the ways your money changed this year? Let us know in the comments!

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