2 reports came out recently that received much air time on TV, Radio and Internet. Let’s look at these reports from the CBC…
1-The Certified General Accountants Association stated that the average Canadian’s debt is $41,740 per person….Apparently, it’s among the worst of the 20 most advanced countries in the world…
Well, let’s think about that for a moment ask some questions….
- I wonder how many people have borrowed to invest lately?
- $44k per person… is this a high number? I mean, what does a basket of goods cost in some of these other top 20 countries like, Greece, Hungary, Poland or the U.S.? Aren’t things more expensive in Canada?
- Canadians have a reputation of being conservative….are we borrowing wisely? Could it be that Canadians are taking advantage of these record low rates to borrow for rrsps, resp, stocks, real estate or other good investments?
2- The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals reported that 475,000 Canadians would be challenged if their mortgage rate went above 5.25% and 375,000 were already facing pressure to pay their bills.
- I spoke with a contact at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Genworth Financial, the mortgage insurance companies that insured hi-ratio mortgages. There was no indication that Mortgage defaults were a problem.
- I have not seen any reports that show our Mortgage defaults are in trouble.
- Canada is near or has the lowest mortgage defaults among the top 20 countries.
- why would you take a 5 year fixed rate at 4.59% (today’s rate) when you could get 1.70% with a variable rate? How long will it take before variable rate reaches 5.25%? 2, 3, 4 years or more or never? Where will our debt load be at that time?
I think the confidence level in Canada is strong… let’s keep it that way… Spend and borrow wisely…
The Toronto Real Estate Board reported that sale prices are up 13%….The average sale price was $437,600 in April 2010 compared with $385,641 in April 2009. Resales jumped 34% from last year April… and new listings jumped by 59%… Source National Post.
These figures could be viewed many different ways…. if listings are up, will the supply outpace the demand? Or are homeowners just doing some profit taking? Good topic for discussion…. We need to add in affordability to this mix… We’ll cover this further in the coming months.
Yesterday, the CBC reported that the Bank of Montreal was suing several hundred people in an alleged mortgage fraud scam that might well be the largest of its kind ever reported in Canada….
Here are the highlights or lowlights…
- $140 million involved in this scheme.
- $70 million of which was phony mortgage money.
- BMO may lose $30 million.
- it is alleged that lawyers, mortgage brokers and even some BMO employees took part in this massive fraud.
LOOK AT THE APPRAISAL PROCESS
What’s interesting is that they mention the ‘desktop appraisal services’ in the article… this stood out for me… an appraisal has always been part of the credit underwriting process.. Lenders want to know their security or collateral is of good, marketable quality in case of default…. But with the goal of trying to do more with less, several Banks started offering clients so-called FREE APPRAISALS… that wasn’t entirely true…
Banks must demonstrate to their shareholders that they perform proper due diligence before granting credit. Rather than pay the $250 or $300 for a standard appraisal, we saw the introduction of a desktop appraisal… Imagine trying to look at a computer screen and try to determine the value of a property in downtown Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton or any other city where house prices vary from block to block… it’s almost impossible without visiting the property personally…
Hopefully, the senior management at the Banks and other mortgage lending institutions will review their credit adjudication process and realize that it’s worth paying $300 to get that peace of mind…
Playing devil’s advocate, the crooks can employ the services of a corrupt appraiser but most Lenders have an ‘Approved Appraiser’ list…. it’s more difficult to get a bad appraisal this way… ..
MORTGAGE FRAUD IS NOTHING NEW
Mortgage Fraud occurs regularly… it just doesn’t get reported often…that’s because the banks don’t want the bad publicity. It would be helpful to know if fraud is growing or slowing…. This latest report doesn’t sound like it’s slowing…
Just can’t leave this one alone…
The Globe and Mail ran a great article about the recent mortgage rate hikes by the Big Banks…..Seems like more of us are questioning the latest round of fixed rate increases….
The article gave some great stats that I wanted to share… First, we should point out that Fixed rates are affected by the Bond Market for the most part but Banks also raise money through GICs… Variable rates are affected by the Bank of Canada Key Lending Rate…. with that in mind…. here are the stats from the article….
10 YEAR AVERAGE…
- 5 yr Bond 4.05%
- Big Bank 5 yr posted fixed rate 6.75%
- Big Bank 5 yr GIC 3.31%
THIS WEEK’S NUMBERS…
- 5 yr Bond 3.02%
- Big Bank 5 yr posted fixed rate 6.25%
- Big Bank 5 yr GIC 2% to 2.1%
Has to make you wonder…?
Yes, it’s true….yesterday, RBC lead the way with another interest rate hike on their 5 year fixed mortgage… followed by TD and Laurentian Bank…. It was a 0.15% increase for a new 5 year Bank Posted rate of 6.25%. This marks the 3rd increase in a month.
This latest rate increase is leaving many puzzled as the Bond Market has remained somewhat flat… the 5 yr Bond yield is currently 3.07%. A fully discounted 5 year fixed rate at TD can be had for around 4.79%.. that’s giving a huge spread of 1.72%… well above the 1.20% to 1.30% that Banks normally seek….
Okay, so why would the Banks increase the fixed rates? Sometimes Banks price themselves out of the market when they achieve their market share… and sometimes it’s just profit taking…. But don’t settle for these rates if you are looking for a Fixed rate.. the Broker Market is still offering much lower rates and the Variable rate mortgage can be had for around 1.70%….