We are hours away from ushering out 2012 and welcoming 2013. Around the blogosphere and in the media you may find lists such as “The Top 10 Celebrities of 2012” or “The Biggest Music Singles of the Year.” Surprisingly though, when we tried to dig up the biggest financial stories of the year, we came up short. There are very few lists, and from what there is, most of them are American. So, what were the biggest financial stories of this year? Well, to save you from all that digging yourself, we’ve brought you what we thought were the biggest headlines.
New Mortgage Rules
It all starts right here at home with the new mortgage rules that were introduced. The rules to first go into effect were those that were brought in by Finance Minister during the month of July. Slashing amortization periods on insured mortgages, disallowing mortgage insurance on certain homes, and cutting refinancing and home equity percentages were all made to cool an extremely hot market – and they did.
But they weren’t alone. The OSFI rules, which didn’t get near the media attention (nor the flack) that the federal government’s rules did, went into effect in October, after being proposed in March and debated throughout much of the year. These new rules mainly pertained to banking standards, but that included things such as the amount of home equity a homeowner is allowed to borrow against.
Not surprisingly, those new mortgage rules had a huge effect! Real estate sales started to significantly drop in September and in November, prices soon followed. Expect this to be a trend that continues throughout next year.
The Interest Rate
At the end of 2011, experts all but guaranteed us that interest rates would rise. Guess what? They didn’t. Not all year. The same most likely won’t be true next year though, as the rate is expected to rise (but we’re not making any promises.)
Mark Carney Leaves for Bank of England
Early in the year, Mark Carney was presented by reporters with questions about him leaving for Bank of England. Then, in November, he announced the news that yes, he is leaving. Carney will still be the Bank of Canada governor until June 1, and will start his new job across the pond on July 1, 2013.
Debt, Debt, and More Debt
Debt was a huge headline this year! First our household debt ratio sat at around 153 per cent, and the government was worried. Then, Statistics Canada revised the way they collect their debt figures and it turned out that we’re actually at 164.6 per cent. Not surprisingly, the government ramped up their warnings even more – and that’s something that will also continue through the New Year.
But it wasn’t just us getting in over our heads. The government also ran up our deficit to $26 billion. And you can bet that made the news!
U.S. Fiscal Cliff
This one didn’t affect us directly, but you can bet that if the States falls off that cliff in three days, we sure will feel the shocks of it.
That’s all that we could come up with. What did you think the biggest financial stories of 2012 were? What do you think will happen in 2013?