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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.

   

WHY THEY’RE NOT REALLY IN THE MORTGAGE BUSINESS

Often, when we talk to you about mortgages, Mortgage Professionals will provide you a set of choices involving banks, credit unions and single service mortgage providers called a “Monoline” and a recommendation.

Many times, if it’s a good fit, we recommend a Monoline, as your first option.

It’s important to recognize the differences between the two, Monoline and Bank, because they are very different businesses and how they approach mortgages can have a very significant impact on you.

Monoline mortgage companies are in the business of providing nothing but competitive mortgages to you, your family and friends. It’s important to stress that they offer competitive mortgage products. As a group, they provide great rates and more importantly, flexible mortgage repayment terms, all in an effort to be competitive.
They want your mortgage business because it’s their sole business line and they want to do well, both for you and for their investors.

The big banks are not in the mortgage business. They are in the financial services business. It’s very important to understand that their focus is not about being competitive in the mortgage business.

“Huh?” I know, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, but let me explain…

When you work at a bank, you hear all the time that the bank doesn’t make any money on its mortgage portfolio. You come to see how true this is when you see the incredible focus that a bank has on minimizing costs, how it’s almost impossible for you to step out of the normal process to help clients with special circumstances.

Because maximizing profit is the true goal of minimizing costs, every bank follows the “Golden Mean”.

In art, the Golden Mean is a strict proportional guideline for creating great art.

For a bank, the Golden Mean of profit is the strict proportion of average products and services per client. Their golden number is that each client has an average of more than of 2.75 products and services. For example, if you have a chequing account, a mortgage and a Visa, you’re profitable for the bank. Move any one of those and you’re not profitable anymore.

The intense focus on profit and managing costs means you pay more for mortgage financing. Not on something as obvious as interest rate, but on the options. Say for example you’re in a fixed rate mortgage and you need to pay out your $350,000 mortgage out before the five year term expires. Its not that uncommon, probably two in five of you reading this will do it.

If you were to pay out two years into a five year term, depending on who you’re dealing with, the penalty can be a little as $1,500 or as much as $13,000 depending on the lender you choose. Banks typically charge higher penalties because they’re not in the mortgage business – they don’t need to be competitive and also as a way to closely manage costs.

This post and some of the recent articles you’ve seen floating around may lead you to think that your average Canadian Bank is a manifestation of Mr. Robot’s Evil Corp. They’re not; managing costs is what drives profit for them – saving 10 cents means 3 dollars more profit – so even phone to phone contact for them is considered an extra cost.

The most important thing for you to remember is that they’re not really in the mortgage business, that’s why you need to connect with a mortgage specialist – to properly understand all your options.

If you want more information on this or mortgage financing in general, please give us a call today.

   

MORTGAGE PRE-APPROVAL IS NOT WHAT YOU EXPECT

Although going through the pre-approval process is more important than ever, the actual term ‘pre-approval’ is often misleading. It really addresses just a few variables that may arise once in the middle of an actual offer.

The pressure in many markets has never been greater to write a condition-free offer, yet due to recent changes to lending guidelines by the federal government, the importance of a clause in the contract along the lines of ‘subject to receiving and approving satisfactory financing’ has also never been greater. (There are variations to be discussed with your Realtor around the specific wording of such clauses.)

Often clients are reluctant to write the initial offer on a property without feeling like they are 100 per cent pre-approved, an understandable desire. The risk being that many clients then falsely believe they have a 100 per cent guarantee of financing, and this is not at all what a pre-approval is.

A lender must review all related documents, not just the clients personal documents, but also those from the appraiser and the realtor as the propety itself must meet certain standards and guidelines.

The pre-approval process should be considered a pre-screening process. It does involve review and analysis of the clients current credit report, it should also include a list for the client of all documents that will be required in the event that an offer is written and accepted. Ideally your Mortgage Broker will review all required documents in advance, but few lenders will review documents until there is an accepted offer in place.

Clients should come away from the initial process with a clear understanding of the maximum mortgage amount they qualify for along with the various related costs involved in their specific real estate transaction. Equally as important; a completed application allows the Mortgage Broker to lock in rates for up to 120 days.

Why won’t a lender fully review and underwrite a pre-approval?

  • Lenders do not have the staff resources to review ‘maybe’ applications – they have a hard enough time keeping up with ‘live’ transactions.
  • The job you have today may well not be the job you have by the time you write your offer. (ideally you do not want to change jobs while house-shopping)
  • If more than four weeks pass then most of the documents are out of date by lender standards, and a fresh batch needs to be ordered and reviewed with the accepted offer.
  • The conversion rate of pre-approvals to ‘live transactions’ is less than 10 per cent, and this alone prevents lenders from allocating resources to reviewing pre-approvals.

It is this last point in particular that makes it so difficult to get an underwriter to completely review a pre-approval application as a special exception. Nine out of ten times that underwriter is spending their time on something that will never actually happen.

The bottom line is that a clients best bet for confidence before writing an offer is the educated and experienced opinion of the front-line individual with whom they are directly speaking, Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker. Although this individual will not be the same person that underwrites and formally approves the live transaction when the time comes, they likely have hundreds of files worth of experience behind them. That experience is valuable.

It is due to the disconnect between intake of application and actual lender underwriting a live file that having a ‘subject to receiving and approving satisfactory financing’ clause in the purchase sale agreement is so very important.

Without a doubt the most significant factor in recent years which has undermined clients preapprovals is the relentless pace of government changes in lending guidelines and policies. Change implemented not only by the Government also by the lenders themselves. It is very easy to have a pre-approval for a certain mortgage amount rendered meaningless just a few days later through changes to internal underwriting guidelines. Often these changes arrive with no warning and existing pre-approvals are not grandfathered.

So, while it is absolutely worthwhile going through the pre-approval process before writing offers, and in particular before listing your current property for sale it is most important to stay in constant contact with your Mortgage Broker during the shopping process.

Be aware that aside from the key advantage of catching small issues early and securing rates a pre-approval is NOT a 100 per cent guarantee of financing.

If more than four weeks pass then most of the documents are out of date by lender standards, and a fresh batch needs to be ordered and reviewed with the accepted offer. The conversion rate of pre-approvals to ‘live transactions’ is less than 10 per cent, and this alone prevents lenders from allocating resources to reviewing pre-approvals.

   

TOP 5 COSTLY FINANCIAL MISTAKES HOMEOWNERS MAKE WITH THEIR MORTGAGE

1. Not consolidating high interest debt into low interest mortgage.
2. Paying “fees” to get the lower rate
3. Not looking at their long term forecast
4. Taking a 5 year rate when 3-4 years can be cheaper
5. Having their mortgage with a lender that has high penalties and restrictive clauses.

Not consolidating high interest credit or vehicle loans in their mortgage. I hear this often “I don’t want to use the equity in my home” or “I can pay it off”. Many times when people end up with debts is due to inefficient budgeting and understanding what your income is and your debt payments are. There are many folks where monthly payment is the driving factor in their monthly budget. Making minimum payments can take you YEARS to pay off. Soon after people get mortgages, they are buying that new car at 0% interest and $600 month payments, then the roof or hot water tank goes and they put another $15,000 on credit, then someone gets laid off and boom…can’t make all the payments on all those debts that it took a 2 income family to make. It’s a true reality. Let’s look at an example:

Paying Fees to get the lower rate.
Dear rate chasers…they catch up with you somewhere. Nothing comes for free. Let’s face it, you go to the bank and their goal is to make money! A lender that offers you a 4.49% with a $2500 vs a 4.64% with no fee and you think “yes, score what a great rate!” Hold your coins… as you could be walking away poorer as the banker didn’t run the bottom line numbers for you. Chasing rates can cost you more money in the long run.

Your $500,000 mortgage was offered with two rates for the business for self guy who needed a mortgage where they didn’t look at the income so much: 4.49% and $2500 fee and $4.64% no fee. Lets see what it really looks like for a 2 year mortgage.

$502,500 (built in th $2500 feel) 4.49% – payments $2778 per month – $479563 owing in 2 years
Total payments: $66672
$500,000 (no fee) 4.64% – payments $2806 per month – $477634 owing in 2 years
Total payments: $67344.

Wait? So by taking the lower rate with the fee means I owe $1929 MORE in 2 years and only saved $672 in overall payments?

The long term financial planning side.
I counsel many of my clients to take 2-3 year year terms for a variety of reasons. Better rates, lower payments, capitalizing on the equity in your home to pay off a car loan or upcoming wedding. Did you know the average homeowner refinances every 3 years of a 5 year term and pays a penalty?

Taking a 5 year when 3 and 4 year rates might be a better option. Many times the 2-4 year rates can be significantly lower than the 5 year rates. Remember, the bank wants money and the longer you take the term, the more they make. True, many folks prefer or fit the 5 year terms, but many don’t. Worrying about where rates will be in 3-5 years from now should be a question, but not always the guiding factor in you “today” budget.
Here is an example of a $450,000 mortgage and what the difference in what you will owe on a 3 year term.

2.34% – payments are $990 every two weeks = $402,578 owing in 3 years
2.59% – payments are $1018 ever two weeks = $403,604 owing in 3 years.
Your paying $28 MORE every two weeks ($2184 total) and owe $1026 MORE in 3 years. Total LOSS $3210! Planning is key. Stop giving away your hard earned money!

Mortgage monster is in the penalties you pay when you fail to plan.
Since many families today are getting in with 5-10% as their downpayment.
If you got your mortgage with many of the traditional banks you know and your current mortgage is $403,750 and you need to break your mortgage (ie refinance to pay off debts) 3 years into the contract you potential penalty could be $12,672! Ouch. vs going with a mortgage broker who can put you with a lender that has similar rate you penalty would be significantly different – almost $10,000 dollars different!

Get a plan today! If you have any questions, please contact Donna direct @ 613-612-2111 or Mike @ 613-203-2030

   

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