28 Sep

AUGUST DATA CONFIRM THAT HOUSING HAS TURNED THE CORNER

General

Posted by: Peter Paley & Associates

AUGUST DATA CONFIRM THAT HOUSING HAS TURNED THE CORNER

Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that national home sales rose for the sixth consecutive month. Transactions are now running almost 17% above the six-year low reached in February 2019, but remain about 10% below highs reached in 2016 and 2017. Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver all saw sales and prices rise. CREA updated its 2019 sales forecast, now predicting a 5% gain this year. Gains were led by a record-setting August in Winnipeg and a further improvement in the Fraser Valley. These confirm signs that the country’s housing market is returning to health.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity was up 5% from where it stood in August 2018. The number of homes that traded hands was up from year-ago levels in most of Canada’s largest urban markets, including the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Calgary, Winnipeg, the Greater Toronto (GTA), Ottawa and Montreal.

New Listings
The number of newly listed homes rose 1.1% in August. With sales and new supply up by similar magnitudes, the national sales-to-new listings ratio was 60.1%—little changed from July’s reading of 60.0%. The measure has risen above its long-term average (of 53.6%) in recent months, which indicates a tighter balance between supply and demand and a growing potential for price gains.

Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, about three-quarters of all local markets were in balanced market territory in August 2019. Of the remainder, the ratio was above the long-term average in all markets save for some in the Prairie region.

There were 4.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of August 2019 – the lowest level since December 2017. This measure of market balance has been increasingly retreating below its long-term average (of 5.3 months).

There is considerable regional variation in the tightness of housing markets. The number of months of inventory has swollen far beyond long-term averages in Prairie provinces and Newfoundland & Labrador, giving homebuyers an ample choice in these regions. By contrast, the measure is running well below long-term averages in Ontario, Quebec and Maritime provinces, resulting in increased competition among buyers for listings and fertile ground for price gains. Meanwhile, the measure is well centred in balanced-market territory in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, making it likely that prices there will stabilize.

Home Prices
Canadian home prices saw its biggest one-month gain in two years. The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) rose 0.8% m-o-m in August 2019.

Seasonally adjusted MLS® HPI readings in August were up from the previous month in 14 of the 18 markets tracked by the index, marking the biggest dispersion of monthly price gains since last March.

In recent months, home prices have generally been stabilizing in British Columbia and the Prairies, a measure which had been falling until recently. Meanwhile, price growth has begun to rebound among markets in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) region amid ongoing price gains in housing markets east of it.

A comparison of home prices to year-ago levels yields considerable variations across the country, with declines in western Canada and price gains in eastern Canada.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) Aggregate Composite MLS® (HPI) was up 0.9% year-over-year (y/y) in August 2019. This marks the second consecutive month in which prices climbed above year-ago levels and the most substantial y/y increase since the end of last year.

Home prices in Greater Vancouver (GVA) and the Fraser Valley remain furthest below year-ago levels, (-8.3% and -5.5%, respectively). Vancouver Island and the Okanagan Valley logged y/y increases of 3.7% and 1.5% respectively.

Prairie markets posted modest price declines, while y-o-y price growth has re-accelerated ahead of overall consumer price inflation across most of the GGH. Meanwhile, price growth has continued uninterrupted for the last few years in Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton.

All benchmark home categories tracked by the index returned to positive y/y territory in August. Two-storey single-family home prices were up most, rising 1.2% y/y. This category of homes had .been hardest hit during the slump. One-storey single-family home prices rose 0.7% y/y, while townhouse/row and condo apartment units edged up 0.3% and 0.5%, respectively.

Stress Test
Canada’s introduction of stricter mortgage-lending rules last year inhibited some potential home buyers. Until recently, declining interest rates and lower home prices may have allowed some of those buyers to return to the market, according to the CREA report.

“The recent marginal decline in the benchmark five-year interest rate used to assess homebuyers’ mortgage eligibility–from 5.34% to 5.19%–together with lower home prices in some markets, means that some previously sidelined homebuyers have returned,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist. “Even so, the mortgage stress-test will continue to limit homebuyers’ access to mortgage financing, with the degree to which it further weighs on home sales activity continuing to vary by region.”

CREA also updated its forecasts. National home sales are now projected to recover to 482,000 units in 2019, representing a 5% increase from the five-year low recorded in 2018. The upward revision of 19,000 transactions brings the overall level back to the 10-year average, but remains well below the annual record set in 2016, when almost 540,000 homes traded hands, CREA said.

Bottom Line: This report is in line with other recent indicators that suggest housing has recovered from a slump earlier, helped by falling mortgage rates. The run of robust housing data gives the Bank of Canada another reason — along with robust job gains, higher wage rates and stronger than expected output growth in Q2 — to hold interest rates steady, even as more than 30 central banks around the world have cut interest rates further.

The Federal Open Market Committee meets again on Wednesday, and it is widely expected that they will cut rates by 25 basis points as the White House is calling for “emergency easing moves.” The Trump administration has just in the past few days succumbed to political pressure to reduce trade tensions. Trade uncertainty is the only thing right now that would derail the Canadian recovery.

As a result of this recent easing in trade tensions and last week’s cut in overnight rates further into negative territory by the European Central Bank, the flight to US Treasury bond safety diminished, raising the US and Canadian government bond yields by roughly 25 basis points from extremely low levels. Canadian 5-year bond yields at 1.48% are at their highest level in two months. In consequence, the spread between the best 5-year fixed mortgage rates and 5-year government bonds is at a very tight 77 basis points, which is likely not sustainable. A more normal spread between the two is 120-ish (or more) for the best rates and 150-plus-ish (for regular rates). Some lenders are already hiking mortgage rates.

The situation has been compounded with even more considerable uncertainty with the weekend bombing of the Saudi Aramco oil fields, taking an estimated half of all Saudi oil out of production. Stay tuned.

DR. SHERRY COOPER
Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
Sherry is an award-winning authority on finance and economics with over 30 years of bringing economic insights and clarity to Canadians.

26 Sep

REVERSE MORTGAGES IN CANADA DIFFER GREATLY FROM THOSE IN THE U.S.

General

Posted by: Peter Paley & Associates

Reverse Mortgages can be an excellent tool for Canadians who are 55+. This tool needs special consideration and planning to make sure it is right for the borrower. They aren’t for everyone, however, which some planning and expert DLC advice they work well for many of our clients.

Enjoy today’s blog…

REVERSE MORTGAGES IN CANADA DIFFER GREATLY FROM THOSE IN THE U.S.

How much do you really know about reverse mortgages? Maybe you know that reverse mortgages can help Canadians 55+ access the equity in their home, tax-free. But there are many people who mistakenly think that Canadian reverse mortgages are just like those offered in the U.S. As Canada’s leading provider of reverse mortgages, HomeEquity Bank can help set the record straight.

Canadian reverse mortgages are an increasingly popular borrowing option for homeowners 55+.

Unlike in the U.S. where features and rates can fluctuate greatly between the many providers, HomeEquity Bank, the leading provider of reverse mortgages in Canada, is a federally regulated Schedule 1 Bank. This means that HomeEquity Bank has the same oversight and regulatory obligations that the big 6 Canadian banks have. With a trusted and secure bank backing the CHIP Reverse Mortgage, it becomes a great alternative to selling your home, and may be a better-suited lending solution when compared to a second mortgage or a line of credit. Homeowners can retire stress-free, without the worry of monthly payments. Plus, funds are tax free and don’t impact your OAS or CPP.

Here are some key differences that set our reverse mortgages apart from those of our American neighbours.

In Canada:

Eligibility amount is up to 55% of your home’s value. Our conservative lending amount serves two purposes: Firstly, the amount you qualify for increases with age as the cost of living is expected to increase and other sources of retirement income deplete. Secondly, we provide a No Negative Equity Guarantee which ensures the loan balance doesn’t exceed the fair market value of your home.
Closing & administrative closing costs are $1,795. There are also standard legal and appraisal fees payable to third parties, as with any mortgage.
No monthly payments are required.
In the U.S.

Eligibility amount is up to 80% of your home’s value, according to the Federal Housing Authority.
Closing & administrative closing costs to a max of $6,000. A lender can charge the greater of $2,500 or 2% of the first $200,000 of your home’s value plus 1% of the amount over $200,000. HECM origination fees are capped at $6,000.
Monthly payments are required.
Tens of thousands of Canadians are already using the funds from a reverse mortgage to supplement their monthly income, pay off debt, travel, purchase a second property and more. To see how a reverse mortgage could work for you, contact you Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker today!

Sue Pimento

24 Sep

5 MISTAKES FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS SHOULD AVOID

General

Posted by: Peter Paley & Associates

Buying your first home is so overwhelming. To be honest, we just bought our 4th home and it was equally overwhelming. The most important thing is to stay calm and approach the buying process with a level head and from a place of reason and common sense.

Enjoy today’s blog…

5 MISTAKES FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS SHOULD AVOID
Buying a home might just be the biggest purchase of your life—it’s important to do your homework before jumping in! We have outlined the 5 mistakes first time homebuyers commonly make, and how you can avoid them and look like a Home Buying Champ.

1. Shopping Outside Your Budget
It’s always an excellent idea to get pre-approved prior to starting your house hunting. This can give you a clear idea of exactly what your finances are and what you can comfortably afford. Your Mortgage Broker will give you the maximum amount that you can spend on a house but that does not mean that you should spend that full amount. There are additional costs that you need to consider (Property Transfer Tax, Strata Fees, Legal Fees, Moving Costs) and leave room for in your budget. Stretching yourself too thin can lead to you being “House Rich and Cash Poor” something you will want to avoid. Instead, buying a home within your home-buying limit will allow you to be ready for any potential curveballs and to keep your savings on track.

2. Forgetting to Budget for Closing Costs
Most first-time buyers know about the down payment but fail to realize that there are a number of costs associated with closing on a home. These can be substantial and should not be overlooked. They include:
• Legal and Notary Fees
• Property Transfer Tax (though, as a First Time Home Buyer, you might be exempt from this cost).
• Home Inspection fees
There can also be other costs included depending on the type of mortgage and lender you work with (ex. Insurance premiums, broker/lender fees). Check with your broker and get an estimate of what the cost will be once you have your pre-approval completed.

3. Buying a Home on Looks Alone
It can be easy to fall in love with a home the minute you walk into it. Updated kitchen + bathrooms, beautifully redone flooring, new appliances…what’s not to like? But before putting in an offer on the home, be sure to look past the cosmetic upgrades. Ask questions such as:
• When was the roof last done?
• How old is the furnace?
• How old is the water heater?
• How old is the house itself? And what upgrades have been done to electrical, plumbing, etc.
• When were the windows last updated?

All of these things are necessary pieces to a home and are quite expensive to finance, especially as a first- time buyer. Look for a home that has solid, good bones. Cosmetic upgrades can be made later and are far less of a headache than these bigger upgrades.

4. Skipping the Home Inspection
In a red-hot housing market, a new trend is for homebuyers to skip the home inspection. This is one thing we recommend you do not skip! A home inspection can turn up so many unforeseen problems such as water damage, foundation cracks and other potential problems that would be expensive to have to repair down the road. The inspection report will provide you a handy checklist of all the things you should do to make sure your home is in great shape.

5. Not Using a Broker
We compare prices for everything: Cars, TV’s, Clothing…even groceries. So, it makes sense to shop around for your mortgage too! If you are relying solely on your bank to provide you with the best rate, you may be missing out on great opportunities that a mortgage broker can offer you. They can work with you to and multiple lenders to find the sharpest rate and the best product for your lifestyle.

Remember, when you are buying a home, you are not alone! The minute you decide to work with a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker you are bringing on a team of individuals who are there to help you through the process from start to finish.

Geoff Lee
GEOFF LEE

19 Sep

FIXED RATES OUTWEIGHING VARIABLE

General

Posted by: Peter Paley & Associates

Today’s Blog can give you great insight into whether breaking your mortgage early is a good idea to potentially save $1000 in unnecessary interest and fees.

Enjoy

FIXED RATES OUTWEIGHING VARIABLE

We are currently in a very unique situation when it comes to 5-year fixed and 5-year variable interest rates. For the first time in almost a decade, the lowest 5-year fixed interest rate is more than 0.30% lower than the lowest available variable interest rate for new mortgages. For some, their current variable rate is 0.80% higher than what a new 5-year fixed interest rate could be.

Why is this important?

Variable mortgage penalties are only equivalent to 3 month’s interest. On a $400,000 mortgage with a net variable rate of 3.10%, the penalty would only be $3,100 ($775 per $100,000 of mortgage debt).

What are the savings to switching to a lower rate?

The following is an excerpt from an email we have sent several clients recently. The numbers have been adjusted from their originals to protect clients.

$2,152.76 current monthly payment
$437,857.16 current outstanding balance
4 years and 0 months remaining on term and 24 years and 0 months remaining on amortization

$3,800 approximate penalty to break mortgage including discharge fee (legal fees and appraisal covered)

$2,061.88 new monthly payment on 5-year fixed rate
$437,857.16 new outstanding balance
4 years and 0 months remaining on term and 24 years and 0 months remaining on amortization

$90.88 savings per payment

Interest paid with current lender for remainder of term: $50,847.29
Principal paid with current lender for remainder of term: $52,485.19
Remaining balance at end of term: $385,371.97

Interest paid with new rate for remainder of term: $44,025.53
Principal paid with new rate for remainder of term: $54,944.71
Remaining balance at end of term with new rate: $382,912.45

For $3,800, this client has the potential to save almost $6,800 in interest, save $90.88 a month, while at the same time owing less on their total balance at the end of their term.

Now, this might not be for everyone. Variable, as you know, can go up and down. Locking into a 5-year fixed rate also takes away your ability to get out of your mortgage for only 3 months interest penalty compared to staying in a variable rate. For some people, maintaining the variable for an opportunity of having that rate drop below current 5-year fixed rates is worth waiting too.

There is no right or wrong decision. It is how you want your monthly payments structured and how much risk you want to allow for, both in rate variances and potential penalties.

To find out what kind of savings you could see with moving your variable rate into a fixed rate, please, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional today.

R. Oake

10 Sep

FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS INCENTIVE PROGRAM

General

Posted by: Peter Paley & Associates

Today’s blog is written by our colleague Geoff Lee. The First Time Home Buyer’s Incentive Program has started and it important to understand a few point that are outlined in the blog.

1). Your borrowing amount is limited to 4x your household income. Your purchase price is limited to 4x your household income + your 5% down payment + 1.5% for closing costs.
2). You have to qualify as a first time home buyer.
3). The government will own either 5% or 10% of your home.
4). The goverment’s portion will need to be repaid after 25 years.
5). To figure out your eligibilty amount please complete this calculator https://www.placetocallhome.ca/fthbi/eligibility-savings-calculator

Enjoy the blog 🙂

FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS INCENTIVE PROGRAM
The new First Time Home Buyer Incentive program from CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation) was officially released on September 2. This program was met with mixed reactions across the mortgage industry, but we wanted to take a minute to give you the facts regarding the program. Below are the key points you need to know, and as always if you do have any further questions please reach out to us.

What is it?
Eligible homeowners are able to apply for a 5% or 10% shared equity mortgage with the Government of Canada.  A shared equity mortgage is where the government shares in the upside and downside of the property value. The Incentive enables first-time homebuyers to reduce their monthly mortgage payment without increasing their down payment. The Incentive is not interest bearing and does not require ongoing repayments.
Through the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, the Government of Canada will offer:
• 5% for a first-time buyer’s purchase of a re-sale home
• 5% or 10% for a first-time buyer’s purchase of a new construction

It’s important to understand that with this program, the government will then OWN 5-10% of the equity of your home (pending on how much was contributed to the down payment).

Who is eligible?
First, you must be a First Time Home Buyer. This incentive is only offered to those who are purchasing their first home. Second, you need to have the minimum down payment to be eligible. The minimum down payment is 5% of the purchase price of the property, and this must come from your own resources. The Federal Government will not give you 5% to put towards/cover the entire down payment. Third, your maximum qualifying income is no more than $120,000. Lastly, your total borrowing is limited to 4 times the qualifying income.

There are restrictions on the type of property you can purchase. The below are the eligible properties:
o New construction (5-10% incentive)
o Re-sale home (5% incentive)
o New and resale mobile/manufactured homes (5% incentive)

Residential properties include single family homes, semi-detached homes, duplexes, triplex, fourplex, townhouses, condominium units. The property must be located in Canada and must be suitable and available for full-time, year-round occupancy.

How Does Repayment Work?

You can repay back the incentive in full at any time without a pre-payment penalty or you can repay the incentive after 25 years or if the property is sold, whichever happens first. The repayment of the incentive is based on the property’s fair market value:
o You are given a 5% incentive of the home’s purchase price of $200,000 or $10,000. If your home value increases to $300,000 your payback would be 5% of the current value or %15,000
o You are given a 10% incentive of the home’s purchase price of $200,000 or $20,000 and your home value decreases to $150,000, your payback amount would be 10% of the current value or $15,000.

If you are interested in this program or have further questions, we encourage you to reach out to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker. This is a brand-new program and more details are coming out each day. We also are working to better understand the implications of this type of shared equity mortgage and will keep you updated on any news or updates we receive.

Geoff Lee
GEOFF LEE
Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional