Residential Market Commentary - Improving, but fragile
Canadians appear to be feeling pretty good about their personal finances as we head into the sixth month of disruptions and restrictions caused by the coronavirus.
A recent poll by the Angus Reid Institute suggests 80% of Canadians rank their financial situation as “good” or “great”. Back in April that number was 73%.
However, on the other side, a significant group of about 20% call their circumstances “bad” or “terrible”. That number climbs to 30% among those who are receiving Employment Insurance or CERB payments.
The pollsters describe the overall situation as “improving but fragile”.
The caution among consumers becomes clear when their buying intentions are analyzed. Regardless of how they feel about their finances, 56% do not see the next 12 months as a good time to make a major purchase like a car or home. Among lower income earners (less than $50K/yr.) that sentiment rises to 65%.
The quarterly Consumer Debt Index, produced by insolvency trustees, MNP Limited, also indicates growing financial confidence among Canadians.
The index now stands at 96, up three points from the previous quarter. It suggests that 61% of Canadians are confident they will be able to cover their living expenses for the next 12 months without going further into debt. Forty-three percent rate their debt situation as excellent.
Canadians appear to believe they have weathered the worst of the pandemic and the economic slowdown.
“Many also found it easier to spend less over the last few months since they were required to stay home,” says MNP president Grant Bazian.