Rising interest rates starting to pinch more Canadians, poll says

CALGARY – A new poll suggests a growing proportion of Canadians say they are feeling the affects of higher interest rates.

The quarterly MNP consumer debt index survey finds 43 per cent of Canadians say they’re feeling the effects of higher interest rates, up five percentage points from three months ago.

The poll done for insolvency firm MNP also said 51 per cent of respondents fear rising interest rates could impact their ability to repay their debts, while 33 per cent agreed that rising interest rates could possibly push them towards bankruptcy.

Forty-seven per cent said they do not believe they’ll be able to cover all living and family expenses in the next 12 months without going into further debt.

The survey finds just under half of respondents are $200 or less away from insolvency at the end of the month.

Scott Hannah with the Credit Counselling Society of Canada tells us many people are still so set on buying real estate.

“It’s the Canadian dream. We all want to own a home. It was our parents’ dream… grandparents’ dream. We want the same dream. And we equate that with having financial stability — success. And not having a home means we’re not as successful.”

Hannah says many people are often turned off by the term “budget.”

“We look at the beginning of a new year, when people often set resolutions around money and financial objectives. But they’re not realistic. As a result, they give up after a few months out of frustration and hardship.”

The poll comes ahead of the Bank of Canada’s interest rate announcement later this week.

The central bank has raised its key interest rate target three times since last summer, moves that have prompted the big banks to raise their prime lending rates.

The latest MNP poll was done between March 12 and March 16 and included a sample of 2,001 Canadians that were interviewed online.

The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.

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