Rising interest rates in Canada are a setback for the potential homeowner
Another interest rate hike marks another step backwards in Montrealer Elyse Gamache-Belisle’s journey toward home ownership.
The single mother of two young children works as a project manager. She went on an adventure a year and a half ago.
Gamache-Belisle collects thousands of cans and cashes in their empties for a down payment on a property.
Its objective is both to raise funds, but also to raise awareness of the challenges faced by potential buyers.
« I see rates going up, inflation going up, and if someone like me, a single mom with a good job, can’t afford to stay in my neighborhood, then a lot of people will have the same problem or worse, » she said. said.
She’s been saving for a decade, hoping to buy an apartment building in Montreal’s Villeray neighborhood where she could live and rent other affordable accommodations.
Gamache-Belisle says she loves shopping in the neighborhood and her children walk to school. But in 2021, a spike in real estate prices forced her, like so many Canadians, to wonder if her dream would ever come true.
« And sometimes I feel like my neighborhood pushes me away, » she says. « It’s like he’s telling me that I don’t have enough money to live here. »
So she started asking neighbors, family members and friends for their voids.
« A lot of people put their cans in the trash, it’s not good for the planet, so I ask them to give them to me, so that I can do something with these cans. I’ll exchange them for money for a house, and to offer someone a house at a reasonable rent. »
As the Bank of Canada on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to 3.75%, the sixth hike this year, Gamache-Belisle tried to take stock of how many more cans, in how many years still his goal is now. If she bought a property now, her monthly payments would total thousands of dollars more per year than in 2021.
Potential owners are also feeling the pinch of inflation, making it difficult to put money aside.
At the Jean-Talon market in Montreal, colorful displays of apples, cauliflowers and tomatoes are offered to shoppers. Many here say they can still find bargains: A man has filled a basket mounted on the back of his bicycle with a mound of apples. « It was all just five dollars, » he announced with a smile.
Yet the rising overall cost of food has put a damper on many budgets. The price of a stick of butter at a nearby store was $8 on Wednesday.
« I’m a caterer, » says a man, stopping in front of a fruit and vegetable stand. « I noticed that everything has increased, fruits, vegetables, fish, meat » he lists. He adapts by trying new recipes and is adamant that he will continue to try not to charge his customers more. « I don’t want to power this inflation wheel, » he says.
And Gamache-Belisle says that’s part of the message she wants to send with her can collection.
« I really want people to think about each other, how we can help each other, » she says. « Because we have a problem right now. »