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WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR MORTGAGES?

There have been a dizzying number of changes to the mortgage rules over the last six or seven years. The red hot markets in Toronto and Vancouver coupled with increased household debt and concerns over the risk to the Canadian tax payer through CMHC have caused the federal government to step in repeatedly. Here are a few of the changes we have seen.

  • Maximum amortization from 40 years to 25 years.
  • Mortgages must qualify on the stress test rate which is currently 4.84%.
  • Homes over $500,000 need 10% down on any amount over that threshold.
  • Homes over $1,000,000 are not eligible for mortgage insurance.
  • Refinances can no longer be guaranteed by mortgage default insurance.
  • Foreign buyers faced additional restrictions.
  • Home Equity Lines of Credit are maxed at 65% of the property’s value.
  • Refinances are maxed at 80%.
  • All outstanding credit cards and lines of credit have to be included at a 3% repayment.
  • Increased mortgage default insurance premiums.

This list could go on but these are some of the major ones. Recently the powers that be have announced another round of proposed changes which, if history holds true, we would anticipate to come into existence in October of this year.

The overall indebtedness of Canadian households through Home Equity Lines of Credit is a concern which may signal a further set of limitations to this type of mortgage.
There is consideration being given to a risk sharing model between the mortgage insurers and the banks. At the present time if you were to default on your mortgage the lender has the assurance that the default insurance will make them whole. Going forward this may not be the case.
How could you be affected? There will likely be an increased level of scrutiny applied to mortgage applications. If your credit is blemished or less than perfect you could face higher rates or be shut out of buying a home. They will likely also want to see savings beyond just the down payment and closing costs.

The fact of the matter is that if a bank has an increased risk overall they are going to certainly be more selective in who they lend their money to. The days of the best 5 year rate for everyone may be a thing of the past.

Currently there are lenders in Canada who charge slightly higher rates and make allowances for damaged credit, short self-employment tenure or other issues a borrower may be facing. Though these companies have nowhere near the loose lending guidelines in the U.S. which led to the melt down, the government would like all lenders in Canada to abide by the same guidelines and looking at ways to bring this into reality.
We will have to wait and see if these or other changes are actually implemented. It is fair to say that until the government is satisfied the housing sector no longer poses a threat to the economy, it will remain at risk of further changes. Long story short, if you are considering purchasing then you may want to proceed sooner rather than later. Rates have risen recently and there is uncertainty over the future of mortgages.

 

The Role of a Mortgage Broker

The Role of a Mortgage BrokerBuying a home is a big step – a big, very exciting, potentially stressful step! How can you take the hassle out of the equation and keep your buying experience super positive? Easy… Surround yourself with a team of experienced professionals!

Many experienced realtors insist on starting your financing first, that’s where your Mortgage Broker comes in.

What is a Mortgage Broker? A Mortgage Broker is an expert in real estate loans that acts as a match-maker between home buyers looking for money and lenders with funds available to borrow. A broker will collect information from you about your employment, income, assets, loans and other financial obligations as well discuss your current budget, spending patterns and goals in order to get a thorough understanding of where you’re at and where you’d like to be. From here they assess the strengths and any weaknesses in your application and can advise on potential suitable financing options and any next steps you might need to take in preparing yourself for loan approval.

Talking with a Mortgage Broker before you start shopping is helpful for a number of reasons:

  • You’ll develop a well-founded expectation of the price range and payments that you can afford.
  • You’ll have a chance to address any potential gaps in your application for financing BEFORE you’re in a time crunch to meet deadlines for closing.
  • Sellers may take your offer more seriously when you tell them you’ve been pre-approved for your financing putting you in a better position to negotiate (price, possession date, inclusions, other terms, etc).
  • You and your Mortgage Broker will begin to compile your documentation so that your application is ready to go when you find the perfect home, leaving your mind free to start arranging furniture in your new place.

So why use a Mortgage Broker rather than your bank?

A Mortgage Broker has access to loans from a wide range of lenders. That means that you have more potential places to get approved, AND can take advantage of best products, top programs and lowest pricing!

A Mortgage Broker must complete a series of courses and pass the corresponding exams prior to obtaining a license to sell mortgages. In order to maintain that license a Broker must uphold the highest standards of moral, ethical, and professional conduct – including ongoing education and training.

A Mortgage Broker working with multiple lender options means that they truly SHOP for the best programs and rates for you based on comparisons and choices and don’t simply sell you the limited products they have to offer through a single bank source.

Mortgage Brokers work EXCLUSIVELY in mortgages so they are mortgage product specialists rather than banking generalists. Brokers deal with real estate transactions involving deadlines and conditions everyday as part of their job. They understand the urgency of meeting these commitments to ensure a successful transaction for everyone involved.

Learn more by contacting us today!

   

HOME EQUITY LINE OF CREDIT IN CANADA VS. REVERSE MORTGAGES

In our business, we are constantly approached with questions about how reverse mortgages work and how they compare to Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOCs). HELOCs are the most closely comparable products in Canada and many believe them to be superior to reverse mortgages. But many Canadians look at only two things and assume HELOCs are better in every situation: (1) lower interest rates; and (2) the flexible access to cash. Most are forgetting some of the other features and benefits that they should compare before deciding. Below is a chart that lets you see the bigger picture between these two rival products.

Generally, whether you choose a HELOC or a reverse mortgage, tapping into your home equity is a big decision that needs to be discussed with your family. However, having the extra money in one’s later years, when health issues and home retrofitting are needed the most, can make a big difference in our clients’ quality of life.

If you have any questions, please contact Donna at 613-612-2111

   

BOC Rate Update

Even when the Bank of Canada says nothing it still speaks loud and clear.

The central bank has gone quiet since its first rate hike in seven years, last month.  In the run-up to that announcement, and in the days following it, there was a lot of chatter.  The Bank did not want the increase to come as a surprise, as some of its previous rate-cut announcements did.

For now the deafening silence is being interpreted by analysts as a sign that the Bank of Canada is OK with expectations that there will not be any change in rates until October.  The Bank’s next opportunity for a change is September 6th but the general view is there will not be any action until the October 25th setting.  The Bank’s Monetary Policy Report will also be published on that date.

No one from the Bank has a public address scheduled until after the September setting.  Deputy Governor Tim Lane will talk on September 18th and Governor Stephen Poloz has a speech and news conference on the 27th.

Governor Poloz has said the Bank is basing its rate decisions on “the data” and he would prefer to have markets pay attention to that, rather than “hanging on the Bank’s every word.”  The markets have responded by saying they need to hear the Bank’s interpretation of the data, so you can count on everyone listening quite intently to Poloz next month, on the 27th.

Market watchers are looking at a 70% chance of a rate increase in October, which will likely be the last move for 2017.

If you would like to review your current mortgage and discuss possible options, feel free to call us direct Donna 613-612-2111, Mike 613-203-2030

   

Important Things to Consider Before You List Your Home

There are several things to consider before you take the plunge and put your home up for sale. This might sound obvious, but the first step is to call your mortgage broker, not your lender directly or your realtor.
You don’t have to look long for an unfortunate story of someone who didn’t understand their portability, penalty or transfer costs. Here’s how you avoid this scenario.

1. The anniversary date of your mortgage will depend on your penalty. If you are in a variable rate there usually (unless you took some kind of no frills product with an additional penalty for the appearance of a lower rate) will pay 3 months interest (so a monthly payment and a half) in a fixed rate it can be up to 1-4.5% of the outstanding mortgage balance. Remember we can estimate things, the only guarantee you will have of your penalty is when the lawyer requests the payout statement.

2. Just because a mortgage says its portable doesn’t mean you don’t have to completely re-qualify. Changing properties means complete requalification of everything; credit, income and property. Less than one per cent of mortgages actually get ported due to the changes in the market, or your circumstances.

3. If you have accumulated outside debt, you may not even qualify to purchase for more due to recent rule changes. You’ll need clarity on what the approximate net will be after anything that is required to be paid out to improve qualification.

4. If you list your property and want to buy first or need money for a deposit, you may need to change your mortgage first which you won’t qualify for if your property is already listed. This happens frequently when downsizers are selling.

5. Making a purchase requires a deposit that later forms part of the down payment, so understanding this before you go out shopping helps you plan for it

A little preparation helps the process go more smoothly, and we are here to help!

   

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