B.C. residents increasingly fearful of interest rate hikes: poll

Forty-one per cent of B.C. residents are worried they will have financial difficulties if rates go up, according to a poll

Interest rates have been creeping up over the past year, and British Columbians are becoming increasingly anxious about their finances, according to the results of a new MNP survey.

The poll found 41 per cent of B.C. residents are worried they will have financial difficulties if rates go up. This is three percentage points higher than in June.

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Meanwhile, many poll respondents – 45 per cent – say they are already feeling the effects, compared with 37 per cent in June. Almost half of all those surveyed – 48 per cent – say they are becoming more concerned as time goes on.

“It’s been over a year now since the first interest rate increase, and as rates continue to inch higher, more British Columbians are feeling anxiety about the increase in debt-carrying costs,” said MNP Ltd.’s Linda Paul.

“With the cost of living in the province trending upward along with the pace of debt accumulation, we are going to see a more immediate and significant effect on borrowers with rate increases in the future.”

Despite these numbers, B.C. respondents say they are optimistic about their debt situations. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of those polled say their current debt levels are better than they were a year ago, 38 per cent say they expect they will be in better shape next year and 46 per cent say they think their debt situations will improve over the next five year.

Nationally, 45 per cent of respondents say they are already feeling the effects of previous increases and 45 per cent – four percentage points higher than in B.C. alone – say they will be in financial trouble if rates go higher.

The Bank of Canada is scheduled to make an interest-rate announcement Wednesday October 24, with most pundits predicting another quarter-point increase to the overnight rate.

- With files from Joannah Connolly

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