Look out renters. The news is out. Rents are predicted to go up in Metro Vancouver.

An article in the Vancouver Sun today announced that low vacancy rates and unprecedented demand is pushing rents higher and higher. It appears that the high cost of home ownership (real estate) is kicking would be buyers down the food chain a couple of notches to expensive rental accommodation.

High rents have a tendency to keep people poor and out of the real estate market.

Once again a cry for affordable housing can be heard from an important part of the population - middle and low income families. This crescendo-ing sound of desperation comes at a time when consumer debt in Canada is at an all-time high at $535 billion dollars (excluding mortgages.)

Impossible rents and impossible mortgages combine to broadcast a very strong message to governments that something is wrong with this picture.  Middle and lower income families are being displaced to the suburbs and even worse, out of the real estate market entirely instead of being accommodated in some meaningful way.

The argument that nothing can be done because it’s a simple matter of the economic law of supply and demand has been made before. It was made for many years before the credit crunch of 2007-08 brought the world to its knees. What followed was massive government intervention to keep auto manufacturers, big banks and other corporate entities deemed too big to fail out of bankruptcy.

High rents have, in the past, led to rent controls and may once again if something substantive is not done to accommodate young, elderly, middle and lower income families with affordable housing.

Post-secondary school students also become victims of high rents because they do not have an income. They are students. Society needs a highly skilled and technically trained workforce so it’s not just the students that benefit from their studies but society at large. There is a public interest element to the cry for help for affordable housing.

There are solutions – new ones waiting to be discovered by innovative thinking and decisive public policy. There are also old ones like rent controls, wage and price controls and doing nothing - which ultimately leads to disaster for everyone.

I think it’s time for governments to act on affordable housing.

Today there is good and bad news.

The good news came from a StatsCan report about all of the household debt in Canada that many  experts have been complaining about – how Canadians have been accused of being bad money managers but guess what? This report confirms that we are not broke and precariously dangling from a cliff of troublesome household debt, but quite the opposite. Canadians have significant assets to back all of the debt – and more. There is a net-worth surplus.

As published recently by the Vancouver Sun, a former chief economic analyst for Stats Can, Philip Cross, revealed that two-thirds of the $1.8 trillion in household debt were mortgages.

Finally someone agrees with what I’ve been saying for many years.

thank god for good lawyers

CBC news reported that a 26 year old cancer patient was denied long-term disability payments despite having disability insurance through her employer’s group plan. The reason: her cancer was a pre-existing condition.

Following the headline, they interviewed a lawyer who pointed out there were many nasty little secrets hidden in the fine print of insurance contracts that routinely allowed insurance companies to avoid payment.

Do Canadians have a laissez-faire attitude towards debt? High consumer debt is the result of income to cost-of-living disparity, paired with burdensome high interest rates.

A new report on debt from CBC news repeats a familiar theme that debt levels are out of control because "interest rates are at an all-time low, life is great and the economy is not bad… People seem to have a laissez-faire attitude toward debt right now,” says Laurie Campbell, CEO of Credit Canada Debt Solutions.

I say that’s laissez-unfair.

Recent research indicates that many Canadians believe their debt is either below or on par with the national average, however many of them are wrong, and many have relatively more debt than they think.

Ratesupermarket.ca recently polled 6,090 Canadian credit card holders and found that 42% of those who believed their credit card debt is “average” actually have above average debt.

Remember, if you are experiencing financial difficulties do not wait. Call Solutions Credit Counselling at 1(877)588-9491 or fill out our Debt Consolidation Questionnaire and get your Free Credit Counselling Advice today.

For more information visit Debt Canada - your Canadian credit education centre.

If you are a woman in debt, speak with Women and Money first. We specialize in helping women with their personal and business financeMoney management advice you can count on!


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