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You had your best-laid plans and then COVID-19 came along and hammered the entire economy. But you’ve got this – if you have the right information. Join Rob Carrick and Roma Luciw on Stress Test, a podcast guiding you through one of the biggest challenges your finances will ever face.

Roma: Super cheap mortgage rates have made homeownership affordable despite soaring prices. More people were able to buy homes even if they saddled themselves with huge mortgages.

Rob: Then, the Bank of Canada jacked up interest rates to fight inflation.

Roma: Welcome to Stress Test, a personal finance podcast for millennials and Gen Z. I’m Roma Luciw, personal finance editor at The Globe and Mail.

Rob: And I’m Rob Carrick, a personal finance columnist at The Globe. Two types of buyers are seeing their mortgage payments increase. People on variable-rate mortgages and people who need to renew their fixed-rate mortgages. One way or another. All homeowners with a mortgage are sweating higher rates.

Roma: And the surge in rates has really caught homeowners off guard. Keep in mind that soaring inflation, the weakening job market, and fears of a recession are already hurting household finances. Rob, what’s going on with housing? I thought you just bought a house and sat back and watched its value grow.

Rob: That was actually the story for years in Canada. You bought a house, you watched it grow. Your mortgage payments were quite manageable because the interest rates were low, and that totally took the pressure off rising prices. But interest rates have shot up in the past 18 to 24 months, and now people are finding it very difficult to afford their mortgages. Rob, tell us what people are up against.

Roma: Well, you’ve got mortgage payments going up by hundreds and hundreds of dollars a month. And for many families and homeowners, you have to ask yourself, where is that money coming from? Sometimes, it means no holidays and no going out to eat. Other times, it means savings are sacrificed. Or I think in a worst-case scenario, households are taking on debt through credit cards or lines of credit to get by. What I’m seeing is people that are very worried about the rise in monthly payments. Now, variable mortgages were a surefire way to save money for a long time. What’s going on with that now, Rob?

Rob: Well, I can remember academic studies showing that over the decades, variable-rate mortgages were almost always the right choice, and it became almost a bit of a religion with the home buyers. But in the pandemic, we sort of hit a bottom for interest rates, and they had to come back higher. And that’s what they’ve done. And variable rate mortgage holders are experiencing interest rate increases like they have never experienced in the past. And it’s catching, catching, catching. Every time the Bank of Canada adjusts rates, people are being snowed under by higher mortgage costs.

Roma: Let’s keep in mind that those with fixed mortgages are also not off the hook because some of these mortgages are going to be coming up soon, especially if you had a five-year year.

Rob: Yeah, it’s true. There are people with five year mortgages who got a great rate, let’s say between 2 and 3% are in that neighborhood. And now they’re going to renew. It could be in the high 5% range. It’s a shock.

Roma: We hear all the time from different sources about how much more difficult this is. We had a poll this week that talked about how I think a third of homeowners are now finding their mortgages very, very difficult. More recently, we’ve also seen house prices have been falling in some places, and that’s also impacting homeowners.

Rob: Yeah. You know, if your payments are high, you can maybe get some comfort from the fact that at least your house was holding its value in increasing. But that’s not happening. You’re getting hit from two sides now. Your mortgage payments are way higher, and your house value is rising, and it might actually be starting to slip. I mean, I think it’s possible that there will be some people whose houses are worth less than they paid. If this housing market continues the way it is, it’s going to be quite a shock to people, and housing is going to disappoint. I don’t think falling prices are that big a deal. I think the fundamentals in the Canadian economy, all this immigration we’ve got are going to support the housing market in the long term, but it’s going to be a rough road for the next little while.

Roma: Our first guest is a woman in her 20s with a variable-rate mortgage. Since interest rates started rising, her housing costs have gone up by 20%. That’s up after the break.

Cara: So, my name is Cara. I am 24 years old, and I live in Vancouver, B.C..

Roma: Cara bought her condo after she graduated from university.

Cara: So, I had a full-time job lined up, and I knew that I wanted to buy. Owning property has always been a goal of mine. So, after graduating, I started the process right away. It was in that phase in 2022 when the prices were crazy, and I felt a bit of FOMO if I didn’t start the buying process immediately. So I felt a bit of pressure. So, I was going to a ton of listings. At that time, there were multiple offers, and it was quite a stressful situation, so I took a while to find the place I liked. I was looking for a spacious one-bedroom because my trajectory of living in this apartment is about 5 to 10 years. So, I found what I was looking for. I ended up in a 720 square foot apartment, one bed, one bath. It has a solarium and a den as well. So it’s perfect for my partner and I. We also adopted a dog, and we’re thinking that we’ll be able to live in this place in the future with maybe one child just in the first few years of their life.

Roma: She bought her home for $900,000 with a down payment of about 25%.

Cara: Yeah, I think it’s really important to talk about how I bought my house at 23 with such a large amount. The way I did that is through an inheritance. And I feel like looking at my friend’s situation. It’s really hard to be able to buy a place at such a young age or even in your 20s without having help from your parents. So, I was very lucky in the sense that my parents were able to pay for my university education. I did the co-op program at my university. So, all of my internship money and everything went completely into savings. And I’ve had a job since I was 14, and I’ve never had a job since. So on my own, when I graduated, I had about 100 K in savings, so I had 100 K on my own. My mentality was that I was going to use that one K to buy a place, and that was going to be my down payment. And then I did end up getting an inheritance. My grandparents passed away, so I ended up using that instead, which allowed me to put down $250,000 on the $900,000 apartment.

Roma: Both her mortgage broker and her family advised her to get a variable-rate mortgage.

Cara: Looking back, I think maybe I don’t think they’re wrong, but I think looking back at historical mortgage rates are high-interest rates, that it was a very low time if you look in the last 20 to 30 years. I do wish I had thought more about getting a variable rate mortgage, but I did rely only on the suggestion from my mortgage broker, which is also partly why I did that. It was kind of still a bit of a gamble, and I understand why people suggested that I still go on the variable rate just because the fixed rates were not a massive steal at the time.

Roma: The gamble has had big implications on her biweekly mortgage payments.

Cara: So when I started my mortgage, my mortgage payment was $1,400, and my amortization period was 30 years. And I believe at the time, every payment I had, about $400 to $500, was going to my principal, and the rest was going to interest. And now it’s only up a little bit. The reason why I believe the term is I have a variable fixed mortgage, so my payment doesn’t actually go up every time the variable rates increase. It’s only when I hit my trigger rate. So right now, it’s at $1,600, and I’ve hit my trigger rate. But I believe my amortization period is around 46 years right now. So if I were to take the full 46 years, I’d be paying this off almost my entire life, which is really disheartening to see.

Roma: Cara’s base salary is around $118,000, plus an annual bonus. More than half of her take-home or after-tax income goes to housing.

Cara: So, my current housing costs are made up of a bunch of different things. First of all, I have my $1,600 biweekly mortgage payment. Then, I also have the extra mortgage principal payments that I make. And I do that because, again, it feels really uneasy to have a 46-year amortization period and to be paying my mortgage well into my 70s, maybe possibly 80s. So I also contribute, on average, around $900 extra. So that puts it to well over $2,000. Then, I have my strata fees, which are $500. So, on average, I would say I probably spend about $4,625 per month on my housing. And that actually doesn’t include property tax and all that. So it would probably be closer to around 5000, which is an insane amount of money to be spending on housing. And it’s not something I’m super happy to share, to be honest. It almost feels embarrassing to be saying I’m spending that much on my housing.

Roma: Despite the higher cost. She’s sticking with her variable rate.

Cara: I’ve thought about taking a fixed rate many times since the interest rates started going up. When it first started going up, I thought, okay, it’s maybe a few interest rate hikes, I can handle that. And then it kept going up, and I thought, okay, they can’t put it up anymore. And I think after the third or fourth hike, I sent an email to my mortgage broker and asked for his opinion, and I thought maybe it would be a good time to set into a fixed. His advice was still to wait it out because the fixed rates, I think at that time, were around 6% already. So it was already still really high. His idea was that eventually, they’re going to start coming down, and he thought they would start coming down by the end of this year. So I don’t think it will happen, but hopefully, next year. And then now I’m sitting here thinking maybe I should have actually just gone ahead and not taken his advice and settled into a fix. But I still think it was the right idea not to because I do think, hopefully, they’ll start going down next year. And I’m trying to think of it in the span of my term. So over five years, if it’s at a very high rate for two years, but it’s still low in the last three years, then maybe I made the right decision overall.

Roma: In the meantime, the value of her property has declined. Comparable places are now selling for about $800,000.

Cara: It gives me an immense amount of anxiety knowing that my apartment has gone down probably around $100,000 in less than a year. It’s very, very scary. But I try and think about ten years. That’s kind of the thing that gives me a little bit less anxiety. So I just try and remind myself that I’m not going to sell at a loss, although it definitely makes me think if real estate is as much of an investment as it has been in the past, I think it’s definitely not the case that real estate is the same type of lucrative investment as it was for my parents, but I’ve always thought it was still an investment and now I’m starting to think that maybe it’s not. Yeah.

Roma: Looking back, she wishes she hadn’t felt all this FOMO about housing.

Cara: I think it made me lose sight of the critical thinking I would have had if I wasn’t in that phase where everyone was buying. There were tons of bidding wars, and everyone was saying, “Get into the Canadian real estate market as soon as you can”.I think I wish I had taken a step back and maybe bought when other people weren’t buying.

Roma: After the break, we’ll hear from a nurse whose interest rate more than doubled when she had to renew her mortgage this year.

Meghan: My name is Meghan. I am 30 years old, and I live in Kingston.

Roma: Meghan bought her house for $248,000 in 2018, a year after she started working as a nurse. It’s a semi-detached two-story house with three bedrooms in a family neighborhood.

Meghan: At the time, it was definitely something that seemed realistic. I definitely had been saving, and I’d been watching the market and was definitely aware of what I could afford at the time. I would say if it was now, I would absolutely not be seeing that as a very realistic goal for me. But at the time, the housing market was a bit more affordable. The numbers that I was looking at to know how much I could afford were more so for the down payment. I wasn’t really thinking afterward how much my mortgage was going to be. It was more so do I have a down payment for this house? And then I was going to figure out the rest later.

Roma: She got a five-year fixed-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 2.14%. Her amortization was 25 years. She was happy with the deal, which translated to monthly payments of about 1100.

Meghan: I did not know that that was a great rate. I had heard again people at the bank had said rates are really good right now, but I did not know. And on the flip side, what a bad rate was per se. I did not know historically what they had been. I would say that at that time, like in 2018, it probably was around a third or 40% of my income going towards mortgage, home insurance, utilities, hydro, etc.. At that time, back in 2018, there definitely was money left over.

Roma: She spent the rest of her savings, roughly $16,000, on a kitchen reno and other repairs for her aging home. But interest rates aren’t the only thing that’s changed in the five years since Meghan bought her home.

Meghan: I had a child during that time, so that was a big change. Yeah, in 2018, when I bought my house and I got the five-year fixed mortgage rate, I understood that I was signing something that said five years, but I didn’t quite grasp what that meant in five years. How big of a difference the interest rates would be? And I did know that the interest rates were changing because when I spoke to friends who had purchased houses in the last five years who did do the variable, I was thinking like, who? Thank God I didn’t do that. I’m so lucky that I have a fixed rate. But then, as the time approached, I definitely was starting to get nervous. In my head, I just was hoping and hoping that they would start going down before I had to do it. I should have been more worried about it. I knew what that meant for me, but I was not thinking about it. The year leading up to it. I had just had my child. I was graduating from university. I had a big test to write. I was more focused on my family. Preparing for this new baby. And so, I was definitely putting my worries about that on the back burner. I just couldn’t let myself go there because I didn’t want to spiral in and stress myself out over something that I couldn’t really do anything about.

Roma: The bank contacted her a couple of months before she had to renegotiate her mortgage in July.

Meghan: I had lots of options. There was a small part of me that wanted to do the variable rate again in hopes that it would come down next year. The following year. The following year, when I had looked at all my options with the one, two, three, four, and five-year fixed rates, I decided ultimately to go with a three-year rate. The interest rate was 5.6%. I could have gone with the five, which would have been 5.3%. I figured that the 0.3 difference wouldn’t make it or break it for me. And then that gave me hopefully a shorter term. And I was really hoping that the interest rates would be lower in three years. Rather than waiting for the five. And being stuck with it for five years. I am on maternity leave, so I knew I didn’t have one. It wasn’t like when I was working and could work more hours and make more money. So, the variable went up. So, I knew I was on a fairly fixed income for the remainder of the year.

Roma: Still, her monthly costs are significantly higher.

Meghan: Yeah. So before, like I said, I was paying closer to $1,100 a month. Now it’s over $1600 a month. So, $500 more, which I know in today’s world, doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is a lot. As I was saying before, I’m on maternity leave, so I’m on a very fixed income, and that is well over 50% of my income going towards my mortgage now. So, it has been a bit of a shock. I really think if it wasn’t for my partner, who obviously lives with me, he would contribute to the mortgage as well as the bills, etc. And I really don’t know what I would do without that additional income. I’m sure I could make ends meet, but I would be making a lot greater sacrifices, one of which would be my car.

Roma: She got a top-up from work during her first five months of maternity leave. Now she’s living on EI.

Meghan: So I’m using my credit cards a lot more now, whereas I was not previously. And like I said, I am fortunate enough that I just remind myself that come January, I will be going back to work, and I can pay those off then. But that again accumulates more interest and is just more spending, unfortunately. But it is where we’re at. It definitely has affected how much I thought I would enjoy my maternity leave. I have enjoyed being able to spend this time with my newborn, and that’s great. But knowing that I had to remortgage halfway through my maternity leave and then have to spend over half of my payments on my mortgage has been terrible. There are just things like stressors that I previously wouldn’t have thought of. Like when she needs more diapers. I am thinking now, thinking like, Oh dear. Like there’s just another payment, and I’ll be using my credit card for that. Whereas before, I don’t think I would have worried about it. It wouldn’t have been a stressor at all, which has been a necessity, and I would have bought it. Whereas now, there’s always something in the back of my head that’s reminding me that I should be trying to save this money.

Roma: On the plus side, the houses on her street now sell for roughly $450,000. That’s 200,000 more than what she paid.

Meghan: Knowing that it has been appreciated is nice to know, but it certainly doesn’t help me with my current situation and my current bills. And again, now that things have changed so rapidly in five years, it does make me a bit more cautious of who knows what could happen in the next 20 years because that’s how long I have to pay off my house essentially. So, I am a little bit less naive now to know that it is a good investment overall, but it might not be as big and good as an investment as I once thought.

Roma: Before rates ballooned, Meghan and her partner talked about selling and buying a newer place that’s not in the cards anymore, but they’re grateful to be able to keep the house they have.

Meghan: Definitely not something I would reconsider. I am very happy that I have my house. I feel very fortunate to have a roof over my head, especially now as a new mom. I can start picturing this as somewhere where our family will all grow, and you know my daughter will be safe. But I would have, like I said, I would have definitely done more research. I had no idea what I was getting into when I first got my house.

Rob: We’ve heard from two recent buyers struggling with rising interest rates. They’re now spending more than half their income on housing, and it’s a crunch. Joining us to discuss this phenomenon is Victor Tran, an Ontario-based mortgage broker at True North Mortgage. He’s worked in the business since 2007. Victor, can you give us a sense of what you’re seeing in terms of how rising mortgage rates have affected the young buyers who bought into the market recently? How are they doing?

Victor: Well, it depends on the type of property they signed for. I mean, I would say half of my clients signed for a fixed rate, and they got lucky, or they got in at a good time when rates were below 2%. So they’re doing okay, but the other half have signed for variable rates. And yes, they are the ones that have been really feeling the pinch, not payments that have gone up. A lot of them have had trigger points, being forced to pay more towards a mortgage principal balance and to cover the interest owed to the bank. But for the most part, I find my clients at least they’re all hanging tight, and they’re all panicking. I’m not seeing any distress sales on my end, but it’s it has been quite damaging to people’s pockets at the end of the day.

Rob: For somebody on a variable-rate mortgage. How much have they been seeing their monthly payments rise?

Victor: Well, that really depends on the customer’s mortgage amount and the rate they signed for the remaining amortization as well. Everyone has different circumstances, so it really depends. But on average, I find that a lot of customers have been seeing increases of 30 to 50% since they got the mortgage, let’s say, two years ago. Well, let’s say for a $500,000 mortgage, someone has signed for a variable rate that started at 1.5% a couple of years ago, and now they’re looking at around close to 6% there. They’re seeing at least almost $1,000 in increased payments per month.

Rob: Now, some variable rate mortgages, as I understand it, don’t increase the payments as interest rates rise. Instead, they adjust the amortization. So, some clients have extremely long amortizations. Now, how long are we looking at?

Victor: Absolutely. You know, there’s a majority of the lenders, especially with the banks, who at least sell a product called a variable rate mortgage with fixed payments or static payments. That’s where the payments do not change when the rates go up or go down. It’s just that more of the payment will go towards interest and less towards the principal balance. That’s going to get to the point where you’re barely paying any principal payment at all, and as a result, the amortization gets extended. The bank is basically saying, hey, you know, at this rate, if you continue paying just interest only or barely any principal, it’s going to take you X amount of years to pay this off. You know, if things keep going at this rate. So, for some extreme cases, for very large mortgage amounts, we’re talking about over $1 million mortgages. I’ve seen 80 years, 90 years remaining on the amortization. Of course, the smaller the mortgage balance, the less of the remaining amortization. And that’s naturally going to come down as rates come down in the long term.

Rob: I’m glad you pointed that out. We don’t want people thinking that some people will take another 90 years to pay off their mortgage.

Victor: Right? Yes. Yes. And the bank is they’re going to give options to these customers to pay more towards a principal balance. They’re going to make them make lump sum payments, for example, or increase their payments at renewal as well to, you know, they may have to bring the amortization back down to what they initially signed for. So, yes, it’s not going to mean that it’s going to take 80 or 90 years to pay off the mortgage. There are solutions around that.

Rob: So, people with fixed-rate mortgages have been sailing through until now. But let’s say you bought five years ago and will be coming up for renewal in the fall or winter of 2023 or early 2024. Based on what’s happened over the past five years, how much higher do you think their mortgage rates will be?

Victor: Well, I mean, there are a lot of customers that are renewing now and 2023 that signed for five-year terms in 2018. Back then, the average rate for a fixed rate at least was almost 3%. And now they’re renewing two rates that are at least double or at least two and a half times more than what they initially signed for.

Rob: Victor, what are you advising people to do if they face a massive increase in monthly payments and they’re worried they might not be able to afford it?

Victor: Well, the first solution is to talk to the bank. The banks are always there to help you out. I mean, the banks are in the business to make money out there, and they’re not in the business to foreclose and to go through a power of sale situation. They don’t want you to default on the mortgage. So if you see any financial distress, it’s best to just reach out to the lender and ask for some payment deferral options. And we saw that back in 2020 at the beginning of Covid, where they offered payment deferrals for four months, five months, six months, even. So, exceptions could be made. So payment deferrals or skip payment options are more or less the same. There may be options to extend the amortization by refinancing the mortgage. Mind you, you do have to go through the whole nine yards of qualifying to appraise a home and hire a lawyer to reregister the mortgage on title. But there are solutions. Around it if you cannot afford the higher payment. Again, the lender is there to help you out. And if the lender that’s holding your mortgage is not in the business to help you out or has no interest in helping you out, then it’s always best to just seek advice elsewhere. There’s always someone out there that’s going to be able to help you out.

Rob: Victor, You mentioned that you personally haven’t seen people selling their homes because they can’t afford their mortgages. But I’m wondering, what are you hearing in terms of input from other mortgage brokers and other people in the real estate industry? Do people have to lead? Is it happening? Are people having to sell homes because they can’t carry them any longer?

Victor: Yes, of course. You know, it’s definitely happening. I mean, I have clients who are in financial distress, but luckily, they don’t have to offload their principal residence. These are investor clients of mine, and they were forced to sell their investment properties. So we’re starting to see that a lot in the market. Investors basically no longer want to bleed every month to enter the investment property. So that’s why we’re seeing an inventory increase as well, at least in the GTA. But in terms of default rates, it still remains at an all-time low. I don’t know exactly what the percentage is. So we’re not seeing a huge or exponential increase in that regard. But we are seeing inventory increase because of financial distress or just investors no longer wanting to carry those mortgages.

Rob: I wanted to go into variable-rate mortgages a little bit more. Variable-rate mortgages were shockingly cheap back in 2021 because the Bank of Canada pulled interest rates down into the basement to stimulate the economy. Do you think there was enough attention paid to the potential risks of variable rate mortgages back then?

Victor: No, I don’t think there was enough attention paid to it. You know, the rates were very low. It shouldn’t have been that low. I remember most variable rate customers just signing for roughly around 1.25%, and a fixed rate was roughly around 1.99 2%. So there’s a big difference between the rates, and it’s hard to fault someone for just going for the savings rate. Most Canadians just want the lowest rate possible. And also to get into the real estate market as well. Keep payments low as well, too. You know, there wasn’t a lot of information at that time on the risks of taking a variable rate, but the potential impacts in monthly payments, the additional interest one would pay if the rates were to rise by X amount. You know, at that point, given the information that we had, it seemed like the rates would remain low for a little bit while, you know, we weren’t expecting the Bank of Canada increase to raise such, such and such quickly in a short amount of time. But, you know, again, I don’t fault people for going for variable rates for the lowest rate at that time because they were making the best decision based on the information presented by them.

Rob: Let’s say someone wants a fixed term. They want the comfort of knowing, hey, my rate is my rate, and I don’t have to watch what the Bank of Canada says. What’s the best choice right now? I’m asking this question because when I look at mortgage rates just at this moment in time, the five-year rate is about one and a half percentage points cheaper than the one-year rate. That’s a complete reversal of the normal situation. What do you suggest right now?

Victor: Well, risks really depend on the type of transaction. So whether it’s a purchase, mortgage renewal, or a mortgage refinance, it also depends on whether or not the mortgage is insured. So, if someone’s putting less than 20% down to purchase a home, it also depends on the amortization credit rating closing day. There are many different factors that go into pricing rates. The lowest rates you find in the market are for insured mortgages. So again, someone who’s purchasing a home with less than 20% down payment has to be less than $1 million as well. And some of the highest rates are for uninsured mortgages or someone that’s purchasing for over a million, more than 20% down. They wish to go for the maximum amortization of 30 years. So, the choice in terms and rate really depends on the individual’s circumstances. But I find the most popular term and rate for the past year, at least, has been the three-year fixed. The three-year fixed has been the sweet spot in the sense that it’s not much higher than the four and five-year fixed, but it’s significantly lower than a one and two-year fixed. And people are hoping that by, let’s say, 2026, when they come up for that three-year term, renewal rates will be back down to the 4% or something a little bit more reasonable as well, too. And you know what? The hopes of catching that lower renewal rate at that time. People are also afraid of large penalties for signing for longer terms. Five-year fixed has always been a popular choice, but nothing’s changed. And there are the figures out there or the data, rather, where, you know, one out of three Canadians will break their mortgage early, whether to refinance, to borrow equity or pull equity out from the home to pay off debts or do renovations, whether they sold the property and purchased a new one. So people are afraid of large penalties. So that’s why a lot of people are going for the three-year fixed. So, it’s not too long term again, and it’s not too much higher than a five-year fixed.

Rob: Now, Victor, I want to ask you a question that came by email this morning from a reader there wondering if you’re renewing a mortgage with the same lender, is it automatic that your renewal goes through, or will the lender pay attention to things like a loss of a job or income or a decline in the value of your home?

Victor: What we have noticed in the past is that mortgage lenders will simply just offer a renewal without having to requalify. So there’s no credit check. There’s no employment verification. It’s basically just a document you have to sign, and you call it a day. The current lender wouldn’t know what your current employment and credit situation is unless you choose to apply for a refinance or brand new mortgage altogether. So, no questions asked. But, you know, I have heard some cases recently where lenders are just being a little bit pickier and asking for a little bit more documentation or more information before they’re offering a mortgage renewal. And I think, in my opinion, that’s just one way for them to get rid of that customer. They may have had late payments in the past several payments. Maybe they asked for payment deferrals one too many times. And the lender doesn’t think that they’re worthy of being with them. So we may see that. We may not. But for the most part, lenders will just offer a simple renewal with no questions asked, basically. But the rate offerings are not going to be the best, so it’s always best for the customer to take their time to really shop around to see what’s out there.

Roma: We’re at a point today where it’s harder to afford your mortgage than it has been in more than three decades. Rob, what are your takeaways from today’s conversations?

Rob: One, it’s okay to drop up other financial priorities to pay your mortgage. Try to keep some savings for emergencies, but TFSAs and RRSPs can wait. So can RESP’s for your kids. Two, if you can’t carry your mortgage, take action. Talk to your lender about your options. A quick test of mortgage stress: are you surviving by going into debt on your credit cards or a credit line? Three, mortgage rates may be peaking. Expect lower rates in the next 12 or so months, but nothing like we saw in 2021. We are not going back to those rates anytime soon.

Roma: Thank you for listening to Stress Test. This show was produced by Kal Fulton, Anna Stafford, and Emily Jackson. Our executive producer is Alisha Sawhney. Thank you to Cara, Megan, and Victor for joining us.

Rob: You can find stress tests wherever you listen to podcasts. If you liked this episode, please give us a five-star rating and share it with your friends.

Roma: Next week on Stress Test. We talk splurges. You know, those purchases that you maybe, probably, or definitely can’t afford. We tell ourselves I deserve it. I’m sure those last-minute trips or concert tickets can bring you joy. But we’ll talk about how to balance those splurges without falling into risky spending habits.

Rob: Until then, find us at the Globe and Thanks for listening.

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