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Residential Market Commentary - Fending off fear

March 24, 2020 | Posted by: Dallas Martin

Residential Market Commentary - Fending off fear

The months ahead – as the Coronavirus pandemic plays out – are shaping up to be trying times. For people with debt, and in particular mortgage debt, money could get tight.

Canadians are still heavily indebted – $1.76 in debt for every dollar of disposable income. And now they are losing their incomes at an unprecedented rate. Last week saw 500,000 new jobless claims in just four days. That is 2.5% of the workforce. Hundreds of thousands more are on the way as industries across the country announce more and more cutbacks and shutdowns.

Borrowers have every right to be concerned, but they should not be afraid. Steps are being taken to protect them, their businesses, their employers, and the overall economy. Ottawa has an $82 billion aid plan and the Bank of Canada has slashed its trendsetting interest rate. The Central Bank is also buying $50 billion in insured mortgage debt in order to give lenders more options.

These are uncertain and, therefore, unsettling times. The biggest problem, beyond the COVID-19 outbreak itself, is fear of the unknown. Anxious mortgage holders need to know that there are many options at their disposal and that lenders are ready to work with them.

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