CBC Digital Archives

Home buyers feeling fearless despite high interest rates

In 1968, Canadians first got their hands on credit cards, making it faster and easier to spend money they didn't necessarily have. Aside from their plastic, many Canadians also deal with the varying burdens of student loans, mortgages and all the other factors that contribute to personal debt. The CBC Digital Archives looks back on the times and troubles of personal debt in Canada, exploring how we get into debt and how we might avoid it.

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Mortgage rates keep creeping up in 1981, but buyers are not discouraged; in fact, they're charging into mortgages at rates of 15 per cent and more. Potential buyers feel pessimistic that rates will get any better, so they're taking a gamble and buying fast, before things change. In some cases, they're buying without a second thought. "They just decide that they have to buy a house and they don't pay any attention to the rate," says one real estate agent.
• The word "mortgage" is a combination of two French words, mort (dead) and gage (pledge). Seventeenth-century English legal expert Edward Coke concluded that a mortgage was a "dead pledge" because if the mortgage is paid off, the deal is dead. But if the debtor cannot pay off, his property is taken away, making that property dead to them.
  • The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation was founded by the federal government in 1946 to help provide housing for thousands of demobilized Second World War veterans returning to Canada. It funds individual households and housing projects across the country; among others, the CMHC provided grant money for the construction of the unique Habitat 67 in Montreal.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Feb. 26, 1981
Guest(s): Carey Halavin
Reporter: Fred Langan
Duration: 1:44

Last updated: November 24, 2014

Page consulted on November 24, 2014

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