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10 THINGS NOT TO DO WHEN APPLYING FOR A MORTGAGE – BUYING A HOME OR REFINANCING

Have you been approved for a mortgage and waiting for the completion date to come? Well, it is not smooth sailing until AFTER the solicitor has registered the new mortgage. Be sure to avoid these 10 things below or your approval status can risk being reversed!

1. Don’t change employers or job positions
Any career changes can affect qualifying for a mortgage. Banks like to see a long tenure with your employer as it shows stability. When applying for a mortgage, it is not the time to become self employed!

2. Don’t apply for any other loans
This will drastically affect how much you qualify for and also jeopardize your credit rating. Save the new car shopping until after your mortgage funds.

3. Don’t decide to furnish your new home or renovations on credit before the completion date of your mortgage
This, as well, will affect how much you qualify for. Even if you are already approved for a mortgage, a bank or mortgage insurance company can, and in many cases do, run a new credit report before completion to confirm your financial status and debts have not changed.

4. Do not go over limit or miss any re-payments on your credit cards or line of credits
This will affect your credit score, and the bank will be concerned with the ability to be responsible with credit. Showing the ability to be responsible with credit and re-payment is critical for a mortgage approval

5. Don’t deposit “mattress” money into your bank account
Banks require a three-month history of all down payment being used when purchasing a property. Any deposits outside of your employment or pension income, will need to be verified with a paper trail. If you sell a vehicle, keep a bill of sale, if you receive an income tax credit, you will be expected to provide the proof. Any unexplained deposits into your banking will be questioned.

6. Don’t co-sign for someone else’s loan
Although you may want to do someone else a favour, this debt will be 100% your responsibility when you go to apply for a mortgage. Even as a co-signor you are just as a responsible for the loan, and since it shows up on your credit report, it is a liability on your application, and therefore lowering your qualifying amount.

7. Don’t try to beef up your application, tell it how it is!
Be honest on your mortgage application, your mortgage broker is trying to assist you so it is critical the information is accurate. Income details, properties owned, debts, assets and your financial past. IF you have been through a foreclosure, bankruptcy, consumer proposal, please disclose this info right away.

8. Don’t close out existing credit cards
Although this sounds like something a bank would favour, an application with less debt available to use, however credit scores actually increase the longer a card is open and in good standing. If you lower the level of your available credit, your debt to credit ratio could increase and lowering the credit score. Having the unused available credit, and cards open for a long duration with good re-payment is GOOD!

9. Don’t Marry someone with poor credit (or at lease be prepared for the consequences that may come from it)

So you’re getting married, have you had the financial talk yet? Your partner’s credit can affect your ability to get approved for a mortgage. If there are unexpected financial history issues with your partner’s credit, make sure to have a discussion with your mortgage broker before you start shopping for a new home.

10. Don’t forget to get a pre-approval!
With all the changes in mortgage qualifying, assuming you would be approved is a HUGE mistake. There could also be unknown changes to your credit report, mortgage product or rate changes, all which influence how much you qualify for. Thinking a pre-approval from several months ago or longer is valid now, would also be a mistake. Most banks allow a pre-approval to be valid for 4 months, be sure to communicate with your mortgage broker if you need an extension on a pre-approval.

 

SUMMARY OF THE NEW MORTGAGE MARKET

Summary of the New Mortgage MarketThere have been a lot of changes in the mortgage market over the past few months so many Canadian’s plans regarding homeownership may have shifted quite a bit from last year.

First, new qualification rules came to pass in October where even though actual contract rates are sitting at about 2.79% all Canadians have to now qualify at the Bank of Canada Benchmark rate of 4.64% to prove payments can still be met when rates go up in the future. That has taken about 20% of people’s purchase power out of the equation.

The second round of rules were implemented at the end of November with the government requiring banks to carry more of the cost or lending having to do with how they utilize mortgage insurance and the level of capital they have to have on reserve. This means it is more costly for banks to lend so they are passing some of that cost to Canadians.

We now have a tiered rate pricing system based on whether you are “insurable” and meet new insurer requirement to qualify at 4.64% with a maximum 25-year amortization (CMHC, Genworth, Canada Guaranty are the 3 insurers in Canada) or are “uninsurable” where you may have more than 20% down but can’t qualify at the Benchmark rate or need an amortization longer than 25-years to qualify or are self-employed so can’t meet traditional income qualification requirements. Canadians who are uninsurable will be charged a premium to their rate of anywhere from 15-40bps. So your rate would go from 2.79% to 2.94% at the very least.

Then in BC there was the announcement of the BC HOME Partnership Program (BCHPP) in January. We have finally had some clarification on how this works but the benefits are not as grand as the BC Government would like them to appear.

The BCHPP is a tool to assist First Time Homebuyers supplement their down payment by the government matching what they have saved up to 5% of the purchase price. While this may help some clients bring more money to the table we have to factor a payment on that “loan” into the debt-servicing mix so they will actually qualify for less by way of a mortgage. They have more down payment but can not get as high a mortgage so it’s very close to a wash.

Lastly, as of mid January, CMHC announced they are increasing mortgage insurance premiums on March 17th. Genworth and Canada Guaranty are likely to follow. The insurance premiums are based on a percentage of the mortgage amount requested and how much you have to put down. For people with 5% down the premium will go from 3.60% to 4.00% and if you want to take advantage of the BCHPP program the premium will go from 3.85% up to 4.5%

What does this all mean? Overall it is more costly and more confusing to get a mortgage today than we have seen in many years. With the complexity of the new mortgage market, now more than ever buyers need a mortgage professional with extensive knowledge to help them sort through their options.

If we can be of assistance to you or someone you know, please do not hesitate to contact us.

   

5 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN SHOPPING FOR A MORTGAGE

5 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Shopping For a MortgageAvoid these 5 common mistakes, and you will have no problem getting your mortgage faster, more efficiently, and with a clear understanding of the process:

1. Thinking banks are the first and best place to go for a mortgage

Mortgage brokers can often beat the bank rates by using different lending institutions. The bank is limited to one lender, but if you use a mortgage broker, they have the option to shop for you with multiple lenders to find you the best product.

2. Not knowing your credit score

Your credit score is a HUGE factor in your mortgage application. The first thing lenders look at is your history and your score—then from there they build your file.

You should know where you stand because so much of your lending availability is tied to your credit score. In mere minutes, a mortgage broker can help you obtain a copy of your credit report, and go through it to ensure the information is correct.

3. Shopping with too many lenders

When you shop from institution to institution you will have your credit score pulled multiple times. Lenders typically frown upon this and it may interfere with your mortgage application. If you go to a mortgage broker though, your score is pulled ONE time only.

4. Not keeping your taxes up-to-date

Plain and simple: If you are self employed or the mortgage application is requiring a 2 year income average to qualify (utilizing overtime wages and/or bonuses) and you haven’t filed your taxes and kept them up to date, you cannot get a mortgage. Lenders will ask for your notice of assessment if your tax filings are not up to date, and you will not get your mortgage until they are filed properly and a Notice of Adjustment from the latest year it is received.

5. Not understanding that the real estate market you qualify in TODAY will adjust in the future.

Rates may be at an all time low right now, but new rules, government regulation, and changes when you are up for renewal can change the circumstances. You must be able to carry your mortgage payment at a higher rate or with new laws imposed.

Remember, securing a mortgage isn’t always about getting the best deal. It’s about getting a home you want and establishing yourself as a homeowner. That means not overextending yourself and taking your qualifying amount to the maximum. Leave some breathing room because no one knows what the future may hold!

But one thing’s for sure – you should contact a mortgage broker to help you get the right mortgage product at the best available rate!

   

No Surprises from the Bank of Canada


Bank on Hold As Housing Expected to Continue to Slow
Holds Steady--Will Raise Rates Only Cautiously
The Bank of Canada held overnight interest rates at 1.0% once again, following the two consecutive rate hikes at the July and September meetings. It was widely expected that the Bank would retake a breather this round despite the much stronger than expected November employment report and the recent uptick in inflation. The central bank sees ongoing slack in the labour market, likely referring to continued weakness in average hours worked. As well, the Bank noted that "despite, the rising employment and participation rates, other indicators point to ongoing--albeit diminishing--slack in the labour market." The rise in inflation was deemed to be short-lived, mainly reflecting the increase in gasoline prices. Third-quarter GDP growth, in contrast, was in line with the Bank's expectations at 1.7%. Canadian growth was expected to slow in Q3 while remaining above potential in the second half of this year.
Consumer spending has remained very strong, and business investment and public infrastructure spending are contributing to growth. The Q3 sharp decline in exports is expected to be temporary. "Housing has continued to moderate, as expected."
The Governing Council reiterated caution as the global economy is subject to considerable uncertainty, notably in geopolitical developments and trade policies. The NAFTA negotiations remain a cause for concern. "While higher interest rates will likely be required over time, Governing Council will continue to be cautious, guided by incoming data in assessing the economy’s sensitivity to interest rates, the evolution of economic capacity, and the dynamics of both wage growth and inflation."
Bottom Line: The central bank is in no hurry to slow the economy and even though, by their estimate, interest rates are still two full percentage points below what it would consider "neutral." The policy statement cited buoyant global growth, higher oil prices and eased financial conditions, but uncertainty and caution dominated the theme. In contrast to prior reports, any reference to the Canadian dollar was removed. The dollar had strengthened earlier this year but has slumped since September, falling further today. The bond and stock markets rallied on this news.
Dr. Sherry Cooper
Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
   

OSFI MORTGAGE CHANGES ARE COMING

As many of you may remember, this past October the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) issued a revision to Guideline B-20 . The changes will go into effect on January 1, 2018 but lenders are expecting to roll this rules out to their consumers between December 7th – 15th, and will require conventional mortgage applicants to qualify at the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate or the customer’s mortgage interest rate +2%, whichever is greater.

OSFI is implementing these changes for all federally regulated financial institutions. What this means is that certain clients looking to purchase a home or refinance their current mortgage could have their borrowing power reduced.

What to expect

It is expected that the average Canadian’s home purchasing power for any given income bracket will see their borrowing power and/or buying power reduced 15-25%. Here is an example of the impact the new rules will have on buying a home and refinancing a home.

Purchasing a new home

When purchasing a new home with these new guidelines, borrowing power is also restricted. Using the scenario of a dual income family making a combined annual income of $85,000 the borrowing amount would be:

 

Up To December 31 2017 After January 1 2018
Target Rate 3.34% 3.34%
Qualifying Rate 3.34% 5.34%
Maximum Mortgage Amout $560,000 $455,000
Available Down Payment $100,000 $100,000
Home Purchase Price $660,000 $555,000

 

Refinancing a mortgage

A dual-income family with a combined annual income of $85,000.00. The current value of their home is $700,000. They have a remaining mortgage balance of $415,000 and lenders will refinance to a maximum of 80% LTV. The maximum amount available is: $560,000 minus the existing mortgage gives you $145,000 available in the equity of the home, provided you qualify to borrow it.

 

Up to December 31, 2017 After January 1 2018
Target Rate 3.34% 3.34%
Qualifying Rate 3.34% 5.34%
Maximum Amount Available to Borrow $560,000 $560,000
Remaining Mortgage Balance $415,000 $415,000
Equity Able to Qualify For $145,000 $40,000

 

In transit purchase/refinance

If you have a current purchase or refinance in motion with a federally regulated institution you can expect something similar to the below. A note, these new guidelines are not being recognized by provincially regulated lenders (i.e credit unions) but are expected to follow these new guidelines in due time.

 

Timeline: Purchase Transactions or Refinances:
Before January 1, 2018 Approved applications closing before or beyond January 1st will remain valid; no re-adjudication is required as a result of the qualifying rate update.

 

 

On and after January 1, 2018 Material changes to the request post January 1st may require re-adjudication using updated qualifying rate rules.

 

 

 

Source (TD Canada Trust)

These changes are significant and they will have different implications for different people. Whether you are refinancing or purchasing, these changes could potentially impact you. We advise that if you do have any questions, concerns or want to know more that you contact us directly at 613-612-2111 or 613-203-2030. We will advise on the best course of action for your unique situation and can help guide you through this next round of mortgage changes.

   

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