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Inflation & interest pinching consumers


High inflation and increasing interest rates have a lot of Canadians keeping a close watch on their finances and for many, housing is a key concern.


The latest consumer survey by the credit monitoring service Equifax suggests that just 50% of Canadians are comfortable with their personal economic outlook. That is a marked decline from 61% last year.


The Equifax data indicates an increasing use of credit cards. At the end of September the average credit card balance in Canada was a record high $2,121.00. Total, non-mortgage debt per consumer is nearly $21,200.00.


The survey focused on renters when measuring housing concerns. One-in-five respondents (20%) said they are unable to find affordable rentals in their preferred location. Seventeen percent said they are thinking about moving to another part of the country to save on housing costs, while 14% felt they would have to move in with family to save money.


Financial pressures also appear to be weighing on home owners and home buyers. Figures from real estate boards across the country show significant declines in the number of sales in major metropolitan areas. An ongoing shortage of new listings is keeping inventories tight.


For those who already have a home, mortgage renewal has become a concern for 53% of them, according to a recent Leger survey. However, 52% say they have a plan to manage higher monthly payments. Most intend to cut spending in other areas.


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