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CategoryConsumer Debt

World Debt clock comparison… How’s Canada doing compared with the world?

Debt.  It’s a popular topic.  Personal debt. Govt debt. Corporate debt.  Back in 2013, I published an article comparing Canada’s debt with the rest of the world.  Back then, like today, there was so much negative news being written about our so-called high personal debt level.   I thought I’d turn the tables on the govt and see how they were doing.

Here we are, 2018 and  five years later.  We’re supposedly experiencing fantastic economic times.  Lowest unemployment in 40 years according to the Dec 2017 job report.  Things are so good that we can increase minimum wage by over 30% in Ontario and other Provinces.  We must really be doing great, right? Scorecard time…

The logical conclusion, or the simple math equation is with GOOD TIMES OR A STRONG PROSPEROUS ECONOMY = LOWER NATIONAL DEBT…. Consumers are expected to lower their personal debt levels.  Isn’t the govt supposed to lower or work on eliminating our national debt?  One would think so. Let’s find out… Continue reading “World Debt clock comparison… How’s Canada doing compared with the world?”

Rates are going up… for now… is this the end of low rates?

 Next Wednesday will be the first Bank of Canada meeting date to set the Target rate, which directly affects Bank Prime rate and Variable rate mortgages. It’s almost a certainty that the Bank of Canada Governor, Stephen Poloz, will raise the rates.

POSITIVE DATA MEANS HIGHER RATES

There’s been too much positive economic data lately. Low unemployment levels (5.7%, the lowest since the ’70s), higher spending by consumers, slightly higher inflation (2.1%), record level stock market. We’ve also seen some comments and posturing by the Bank of Canada Govr that suggests we should expect a 0.25% increase.

Bond yields have also been moving steadily upward. Yup, we should expect a rate hike. And depending on how the market reacts to this, we could possibly see another rate hike at the next Bank of Canada meeting on March 7th.

BUT WAIT, IS THIS THE END OF MORTGAGE RATES IN THE 3.00%’s?

Continue reading “Rates are going up… for now… is this the end of low rates?”

Review your mortgage NOW! Next year may be too late.

It’s begun.  The message is starting to sink in.  The new mortgage rules could eliminate 15% of Canadians from qualifying for a mortgage after January 1st, 2018.  The mad rush has started as mortgage inquiries are up significantly.

WHO WILL BE AFFECTED?

  • Anyone that has a mortgage renewal in next 12 to 20 months.
  • Anyone thinking of buying in the next 12 months.
  • Anyone that is needs or is thinking of refinancing their mortgage in the next 12 months.
  • Rental property owners.  Yes, you too.
  • Future retirees with lots of home equity (newsflash..the new rules don’t take into consideration how much equity you have in your home.. your net worth is also irrelevant… it’s all about how much income you earn and declare…)

All of these borrowers will be affected.  If you’re not getting the message, anyone with a mortgage should be getting a review done NOW.  Don’t wait until next year.  You may not qualify for a mortgage.

EXPECT HOME SALES TO SPIKE UP TEMPORARILY Continue reading “Review your mortgage NOW! Next year may be too late.”

OSFI announces strictest mortgage rules ever… what you need to know.

HARDER TO QUALIFY WITH 50% DOWN THAN WITH 5% DOWN.. DOES THIS MAKE SENSE?

October 2016, our Federal govt announced a number of new mortgage rules including the infamous new ‘stress test’ for all insured mortgages.  Mortgage default insurance is required for all mortgages greater than 80% loan to value.  You have to qualify at the bank posted 5 yr fixed rate, which is usually around 1.75% to 2.00% higher than your actual rate, and with a maximum amortization of 25 yrs max.

These ‘rules’ were brought in last year to protect us from ourselves.   To ensure we could handle any large interest rate hikes at renewal time.  Sort of like big brother watching over us to make sure we don’t borrow more than we can afford. (btw, we already had lending rules in Canada.  Our mortgage arrears were and still are at record low levels.   Seems like our Banks, credit unions and other lenders are doing a pretty good job of lending.  Is more govt intervention necessary?  Most experts say no.)

Today, Jeremy Rudin, OSFI Superintendent, joined the party…. well, more like rained all over ever Canadian homeowner’s party (current and future).   OSFI, not wanting to be left out, announced they would impose more mortgage rule tightening for all mortgages that were UNDER 80% loan to value.    Again, to protect us from ourselves just in case interest rates should sky rocket at your renewal time.   Here’s a summary of the changes and how they will impact consumers, homeowners, and the real estate market:

  • A new minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages.  The ‘stress test rate’ will be your contract rate + 2.00% or the 5 yr posted fixed rate, whichever is greater.(that’s right, your may have to qualify at a higher rate than those with insured mortgages above 80% loan to value.. how does that make sense?)
  • Federally regulated financial institutions must establish and adhere to appropriate Loan to value limits that are reflective of risk and updated as housing markets and the economic environment evolve (yeah, I’m not quite sure what this one means either.. stay tuned)
  • Federally regulated financial institutions are prohibited from arranging with another lender a mortgage, or combination of a mortgage and other lending products, in any form that circumvents the institution’s maximum Loan to value ratio or other limits in its residential mortgage underwriting policy. (this has dire consequences for those that won’t meet this historic new ‘stress test’.. effectively, the govt is telling you to not buy a home if you don’t fit in this new shrinking qualifying box…. or sell your home if you need to access the equity..)

 

HOW THIS AFFECTS YOU

  • buying with less than 20% down payment, no effect.  You already have a ‘stress test’.
  • buying with more than 20% down and you’ll have to pass a tougher test, that’s right, a tougher test than those with less than 20% down.  (Make any sense to you?  me neither.)
  • around another 15% of homeowners will NO longer qualify for a mortgage regardless of it being a purchase or if you wanted to refinance.
  • expect rental, condos or houses to become way more expensive as demand will spike.
  • we’ll see a spike in real estate sales from now until Jan 1st as homebuyers will scramble to get in prior to the new rules taking effect.
  • most credit unions are provincially regulated and for now, won’t be affected..  (that could change if the provinces amend their rules)

 

POSSIBLE SOLUTION TO DISCOURAGE HOME SPECULATORS BUT ENCOURAGE HOME OWNERSHIP

If you want to discourage speculators, make them hold the property for 5 or 7 years.  Bring in a declining speculation tax for anyone that sells a non-owner occupied home in less  than 5 years.  Reward those that hold real estate for longer periods.  You’ll have less transactions.  Encouraging longer holding times, more rental units on the market and higher vacancies.  More rental supply will also resolve high rents.  Bring back more realistic mortgage qualifying guidelines.  Encourage and promote buying investment properties.

A year ago, the Federal govt made several rule changes that effectively made it more expensive and difficult for consumers to borrow.  The list of changes was so long that most Canadians didn’t bother to react because it didn’t affect them that day.  But as we are seeing now, more consumers are experiencing reduced access to mortgage money.   They can’t refinance their mortgage.  They can’t draw on their built up equity in their homes.  It’s only when you need to borrow do you realize the extent of the changes.  Each and every one of us will be impacted.   These new policies will only make home ownership more difficult.  It will also slow our economy.

Perhaps the credit unions can pick up the slack and help …  stay tuned.. there will be more to share on these changes.     One thing is for certain.  You need to speak with an experienced Mortgage broker to understand what your options are.  It’s almost impossible to go it alone.. and you don’t have to.  Mortgage Brokers work for you, not the Bank.  They have access to dozens of competing lenders.

Your best interest is my only interest.   I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments.  Like this article?  Share with a friend.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

Banks pass on rate hikes but not the savings.. Shame on the BANKS!

On January 2015, the Bank of Canada cut the prime rate by 0.25%.  But the BIG SIX BANKS didn’t cut the Prime rate as they normally do.  Instead, they waited a week… tried to justify why they couldn’t cut the rate… and finally caved in and cut it.. but ONLY by 0.15%.

That’s right, they pocketed the remaining 0.10%.  And in case you haven’t heard, the BIG SIX BANKS have been posting record profits, year after year after year after year after year.   In 2016, the 5 most profitable corporations were:

  1. RBC
  2. TD
  3. SCOTIABANK
  4. BMO
  5. CIBC

Continue reading “Banks pass on rate hikes but not the savings.. Shame on the BANKS!”

Long term contracts have a price… nothing has changed from 2010

Originally posted in 2010…. some things never change..  enjoy and beware.

Here’s a great article written by consumer advocate, Ellen Roseman.  She points to different industries where signing in for the long term protection can be very costly and expensive.

Ever wanted to change cell phone providers?  How about internet providers?  Move your investments or rrsps?  Cancel that hydro or gas contract because you moved?

And how about mortgages?  When interest rates started heading downward about 12 months ago, thousands of borrowers in fixed rate mortgages wanted to get out of their higher rates and start benefitting from the record low interest rates we have been seeing.

But they were shocked to hear of unbelievably high early prepayment penalties… the example Ellen uses is about a $46k penalty on a $530k mortgage with a major bank…  I’ve seen dozens and dozens of situations like this.

Beware of long term mortgages… with the average person moving or refinancing about every 3 years, choosing a 5 year fixed rate term is usually not the best option.  It could cost you more than you think… always seek professional advice from a reputable mortgage broker before selecting your mortgage.

(Just a personal note… It sure would have been nice to see some mortgage relief given to the average homeowner during the recession.   CMHC used to cap their penalties to 3 months interest but removed this cap in 2000…quietly, all financial institutions are free to charge a higher penalty…and they all do.. the longer the term, the greater the penalty…)

Your best interest is my only interest.   I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments.  Like this article?  Share with a friend.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

Debt diversification vs Debt consolidation…who wins?

debt

ONLY IN CANADA

Attention:  Bankers, close your ears.. we don’t want you to hear this.  Credit card balances, lines of credit, car loan, student loan, home reno loan, personal loan..   If you have one or more of these and you own a home, you’re probably losing money by paying a higher interest rate.  In many cases, $thousands are lost and overpaid each year.   And your Banker is laughing and recording Record profits!!

It’s surprising how many of us have some, or all of these debts… and ALSO a house with lots of equity.  Yet, as Canadians, we somehow think it’s better to separate our mortgage from other debts.  We somehow think it’s good to pay down our mortgage but then rack up other debts.  This attitude has puzzled me for years.

check out this chart for one client.. tell me if this looks familiar: Continue reading “Debt diversification vs Debt consolidation…who wins?”

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