British Columbians are carrying largest mortgages in Canada…are also the most concerned with rising interest rates…Report says median BC mortgage is $180,000…$50,000 greater than national average…Royal Bank Mortgage Specialist figures new mortgages in Metro Vancouver averaging $350,000…

These days, my banker has the air of a man who could use a long drink and a short nap. He is up to his neck in anxiety-ridden clients. They’re clamouring to renegotiate their lives.

By the dozens, they’re abandoning the good-times crapshoot of the variable rate mortgage and signing on to the solid-citizen path of the dependable, and more dependably expensive, fixed rate. This is happening everywhere. It’s like homeowners have discovered religion.

Meanwhile, that sound you hear is the clack of calculators determining just how much room homeowners will have left in their reconstituted budgets to do things like, oh, say, eat. In our part of the world, where a recent Conference Board of Canada report found that 67 per cent of Metro Vancouver households already “struggle with the high cost of housing,” and devote 30 per cent or more of all income to shelter, the wiggle room would be, I estimate, diddly plus squat. I know it will be in mine.

Read the full article, “If mortgage rates rise, does the sky fall?” in the Vancouver Sun (April 22, 2010).

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