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March 2019 Newsletter

Kristy Towson

Compass Mortgage Group

Mortgage Broker




Interest Rates

The following is an excerpt from the VERICO Economic Report written by Michael Campbell

The drastic change in the Bank of Canada’s stance regarding future increases in interest rates since October is a clear indication that the Bank and the Finance Department are surprised by the impact of rising rates on the real estate market and the overall economy. Gone is the October talk of three to four more rate hikes by the end of 2019 to today’s mantra of “wait and see.”

I still shake my head at the thought that they were surprised that an economy that had been built on debt and record low interest rates, especially in the real estate market, would react negatively to higher rates. Despite the fact that surveys and polls had relentlessly delivered the message that higher rates would cause consumers to cut back. 

The average Canadian has nearly $23,000 in non mortgage consumer debt. It shouldn’t have been a surprised that by July, 2018, after four quarter point increases a third of Canadians were worried about paying the bills and bankruptcy. Environ Analytics calculated that for the average person living in Calgary the five rate increases since July, 2017 would translate into $3,641 in higher interest costs. In Halifax, an extra $2,246, Winnipeg and Montreal $2,100 more and in Vancouver, a whopping $3,943 in additional interest payments.  

You don’t need an economics degree to figure out that taking an extra $2,000 to $4,000 out of people’s pockets will impact their spending. The increase in interest rates cut Canadians average discretionary income by 5% along with a 5% drop in their net worth because of the fall in homes prices. Simply put, people feel poorer and they’re paying significantly more in interest expenses - and that’s never a recipe for consumer confidence.

Is this a scam? Red flags

(NC) From spam emails to fake government workers asking for personal information on the phone, scams are all around us. Some are more obvious than others, but do you know how to protect yourself from the sneakier ones?

Here are some warning signs for both online and offline scams:

Wire transfer. Many scams involve a request to wire money electronically using a money transfer service like MoneyGram and Western Union, or using cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. Remember that sending a transfer through these services is like sending cash — once the amount is picked up, it's almost impossible to get your money back.

Unsolicited friend requests on social media. Don't accept friend requests from people you don't know. Does their profile look fairly empty or have posts that are very generic? Do they seem to be promising more than friendship? These are some red flags that point to a scam. Delete that request. Check your privacy settings to ensure your profile is protected.

Spelling mistakes. Be skeptical of emails, messages or websites that contain misspelled common words, grammar errors that make it difficult to read or expressions that are used incorrectly. Email and web addresses should also be examined closely to see if there are subtle mistakes or differences.

It's just too good to be true. Everybody loves a great deal. But shocking offers, unbelievable discounts and unreal rates may signal that the offer isn't quite what it seems. Ridiculously low prices usually equal cheap products or counterfeit goods. Free offers may require providing your credit card for shipping. Small tactics like these can lead to big profits for scammers.

Unsolicited calls. You might get a call from someone claiming that you have a virus on your computer, or that you owe taxes or there has been fraudulent activity in your bank accounts. Know that legitimate organizations will most likely not call you directly. Don’t take any chances. Hang up and call the organization yourself using the number from a trustworthy source, such as the phone book, their website, or even invoices and account statements.

Find more information at www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/fraud.


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