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The State of Homebuying in Canada 2019 CMHC Mortgage Consumer Survey

Significant decrease in first time home buyers in 2019

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation released The State of Homebuying in Canada report on November 15, 2019, with a few key findings, including this headline. 

The annual State of Homebuying in Canada report noted that 56% of all purchasers were first time buyers in 2018. This dropped to 47% in 2019.

The tightening of mortgage rules which has been taking place over the last 4 years is certainly having an effect. The never ending rule changes were intended to slow home sales and prices. But like most government interventions, its had the opposite effect.

Continue reading “Significant decrease in first time home buyers in 2019”

Beware of Mortgage Insurance Double Charges!

Blog Image, Mortgage Insurance, April 2019

We’ve all heard the saying ‘necessary evil’ – something that we need or must have but don’t necessary like. It’s kind of like taking cough syrup that doesn’t taste so good but you know you need it to feel better.

Default mortgage insurance is a necessary evil. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to buy a home with less than a 20% down payment with low interest rates.

But what if you bought a house, paid the CMHC, Genworth or Canada Guaranty insurance… and a few years later you bought a bigger home or refinanced your mortgage for some home renos or debt consolidation?

Do you have to pay mortgage insurance again? If so, how much will this cost?

Continue reading “Beware of Mortgage Insurance Double Charges!”

Ontario Housing Market: Increased Opportunity for Investors!

Ontario Housing Market Stats Image - April 2018

Rental vacancies are ridiculously low and demand for rental units is high… and growing!

That’s just a sampling of the opportunistic real estate investment news Ted Tsiakopoulos, CMHC’s Regional Economist for Ontario, shared recently at the Canadian Mortgage Brokers’ Association (CMBA) of Ontario annual conference.

Here are other main takeaways:

  • Strong 2017 economy helped ease imbalances
  • Sales and new home starts expected to slow
  • Prices to grow moderately
  • Eastern & Western Ontario will outperform Southern Ontario
  • Mortgage delinquencies remain at record lows – much lower than credit card or car loan debt

Continue reading “Ontario Housing Market: Increased Opportunity for Investors!”

Coming soon…Higher CMHC premiums March 17, 2017

CMHCThis is not a recording.  CMHC is increasing their premiums for the 3rd time in 4 years.  Here’s what it will look like.

Loan-to-Value Ratio Standard Premium (Current) Standard Premium (Effective March 17, 2017)
Up to and including 65% 0.60% 0.60%
Up to and including 75% 0.75% 1.70%
Up to and including 80% 1.25% 2.40%
Up to and including 85% 1.80% 2.80%
Up to and including 90% 2.40% 3.10%
Up to and including 95% 3.60% 4.00%
90.01% to 95% – Non-Traditional Down Payment 3.85% 4.50%

 

Wondering why they need to increase the premiums?  It’s not about trying to discourage homebuyers.  It’s to “preserve the returns on capital”, according to Steven Mennill, SVP CMHC.  Yup, the Crown corporation wants to focus on profit.  (show me the money).  At least they’re being honest about it. The overall amount of mortgages insured by CMHC has dropped in the past 4 years.  Down from $576billion to around $512billion.   So, it’s about maintaining profits while their book of business is shrinking.

Having said that, CMHC has lowered, increased and lowered their insurance premiums before.  We can expect them to change and adjust again.

In case you are wondering why the overall volume is going down when house prices are going up, it’s because the Fed govt has changed the mortgage rules so that it becomes more difficult to qualify for a mortgage.  Therefore, the amount of mortgages CMHC can insure is going down.

Now for some good news..

The overall cost to your mortgage is minimal.  Oh yeah, one more thing…without CMHC, we would all be digging deeper into our pockets to come up with 20% or 25% down, like the old days.   And while some may think that is how it should be, those days are long gone.  First time homebuyers don’t have $100k, or $200k sitting around to buy a home.   They need help.. And what’s wrong with helping our youth that are ambitious enough to want to own a home?

CMHC is a necessary evil.

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

Mortgage brief.. CMHC ‘red warning’.. what’s it mean?

red-warningMuch has been made about CMHC’s Economists ‘Red Warning’ that was put out for the 4th quarter of 2016.  Let’s take a look at what the report actually says.

CMHC’s economists have 3 categories of measurement that are of concern.  Overheating, Price acceleration and Overvaluation.

VANCOUVER AND TORONTO

The Vancouver market had already been identified by CMHC as having moderate Overheating and Price Acceleration and Strong Overvaluation.    Toronto now has the same issues with the same Overall Assessment of Strong evidence of problematic conditions.

Put another way, CMHC believes the Toronto and Vancouver housing markets are vulnerable.   While this is cause for concern, there was also some other info in the report that we should be probably not overlook… Continue reading “Mortgage brief.. CMHC ‘red warning’.. what’s it mean?”

CMHC increased insurance premiums… again.. but still cheaper than 10 yrs ago.

CMHC Last May, CMHC increased all their insurance premiums.  The move wasn’t really a surprise to industry insiders.  CMHC’s product line has been reduced.  No more rental property mortgages.  No more refinancing mortgages.  No more secured lines of credit mortgages.

That’s a big chunk of business gone.  And when revenues go down for this crown corporation, what do they do?  They do what every reputable govt corp does.  They raise fees  and make the consumer pay more!   (check out my charts below) Continue reading “CMHC increased insurance premiums… again.. but still cheaper than 10 yrs ago.”

CMHC higher premiums start today

CMHCCMHC’s new higher insurance premiums take effect today.  That means it will cost you a little more if you are buying a home with less than 20% down.  The increases are minor and aren’t expected to have any effect on the housing market.  (by the way, CMHC has adjusted these premiums before)

What’s puzzling is why they felt the need to do this.  CMHC produces a healthy profit. As a crown corporation, those profits go directly into the government coffers.   CMHC arrears are at 0.33%.  That’s close to an all time low.

I guess it’s a good way to increase profits but they are making $2billion per year!   Here’s the old and new premiums.

Loan-to-Value Ratio Standard Premium (Current) Standard Premium (Effective May 1st, 2014)
Up to and including 65% 0.50% 0.60%
Up to and including 75% 0.65% 0.75%
Up to and including 80% 1.00% 1.25%
Up to and including 85% 1.75% 1.80%
Up to and including 90% 2.00% 2.40%
Up to and including 95% 2.75% 3.15%
90.01% to 95% – Non-Traditional Down Payment 2.90% 3.35%

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

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

 

CMHC mortgage insurance rates increasing but still cheaper than 10 yrs ago.

CMHCCanada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced they will be increasing the cost of insurance premiums effective May 1st.   The premium increase is minimal and isn’t expected to slow the mortgage volumes (see below for cost changes).  The move isn’t that puzzling given that CMHC’s most recent financial statements from 2013 show their volumes are down due to the Federal govt mortgage rule changes… but interestingly, profits were up 11% for the first nine months of 2013.

CMHC made $1.27billion as of September 30th 2013.   Not bad for a crown corporation that was created to encourage home ownership in Canada. CMHC puts a lot of money in the government coffers.   Arrears are lower at 0.33%.. that’s considered extremely low.    Some would say this is just a cash grab.  But I think it’s just being proactive as taking action before the expected volumes decrease.

CMHC PREMIUMS ARE STILL CHEAPER THAN THEY WERE 10 YEAR AGO

But here’s the bright side.   Continue reading “CMHC mortgage insurance rates increasing but still cheaper than 10 yrs ago.”

Poloz in, Carney out as Bank of Canada Governor…3 major changes in less than a year!! Anyone else find this strange??!.

Poloz, Carney, Flaherty Stephen Poloz was announced as Mark Carney’s replacement as the new Bank of Canada Governor.  The announcement was a surprise for many… Most thought the Deputy Governor, Tiff Macklem, would have been a more likely candidate.  But Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, chose Poloz…. probably because he shares the same vision as Flaherty…  tighter lending rules, higher rates.. etc..

But this article isn’t about why Poloz is in, and Macklem is out.   I want to bring something else to your attention.   Did you know that we have had 3 major changes in less than 6 months?   Mark Carney is leaving Canada to head the Bank of England.   Then, within 6 months, the head of OSFI, Julie Dickson, announced she will be leaving in 2014.   And now Karen Kinsley, CEO of CMHC, has announced she is stepping down.  I’ll add in a fourth.. Robert P. Kelly has come in as Chairperson of CMHC… You’ll need to read this to understand why this is relevant.

These are major changes folks.  OSFI, CMHC and the Bank of Canada Governor.   3 major players that run and regulate Canada’s Financial and Banking sectors.  Has anyone asked why  they are all leaving now? Continue reading “Poloz in, Carney out as Bank of Canada Governor…3 major changes in less than a year!! Anyone else find this strange??!.”

CMHC CEO Karen Kinsley out, Wall Street banker Robert Kelly in… anybody asking why??

Karen Kinsley Karen Kinsley has been with CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) for 25 years.  The last 10 as it’s CEO.  CMHC makes buying a home more affordable by insuring the mortgage against default.  End result is a lower down payment requirement and lower interest rates.   CMHC is profitable.  They earned $1.7 billion in 2012 and $17 billion over the last 10 years.

In 2012, the Federal govt and the Minister of Finance decided to move CMHC under OSFI (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions).   OSFI is a regulatory body that provides regulation and supervision to 152 Banks, Trust companies and other Lenders.   They function like auditors.  A move questioned by many and one that contradicts the spirit of what CMHC is supposed to stand for.

Enter Robert P. Kelly.  Mr. Kelly was appointed as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of CMHC this same month.  Coincidence?  Here’s a bit of history on Robert KellyKelly….He worked at TD Bank from 1981 to 2000 leaving as a senior executive that was on the short list to be TD’s CEO.. he didn’t get the job and left for the U.S. to join Wachovia, then later Bank of New York Mellon as CEO and Chairman.  I remember Mr. Kelly from my days working at TD.  He was always a higher profile, more visible executive…  Continue reading “CMHC CEO Karen Kinsley out, Wall Street banker Robert Kelly in… anybody asking why??”

Top Banking regulator stepping.. OSFI’s Julie Dickson leaving in 2014

Julie Dickson Julie Dickson, the head of OSFI (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions) will not be back when her term expires in July 2014.  She’s decided to not to stick around after making more lending rule changes in 2012, than I have ever seen, during my entire 23 year career working in financial services.   OSFI is a regulatory body that provides regulation and supervision to 152 Banks, Trust companies and other Lenders.   In short, they are auditors.  Here’s a link to the major changes made just last year including putting CMHC under OSFI control.. more on that later..

Some say her claim to fame is that she was in charge during the worst banking and mortgage crises in history.  And that Canada came out of this global financial collapse way better than any other country.   It’s true, we did come out of this very well compared with the rest of the world…   But what does Ms. Dickson and OSFI have to do with it?  For me, this had more to do with luck, govt intervention and Canadians being our normal conservative selves.   We were a little slower to adapt to U.S. style lending policies… Ask any financial expert and they will tell you we were just a few years behind the U.S. with regards to their wild mortgage lending guidelines… Continue reading “Top Banking regulator stepping.. OSFI’s Julie Dickson leaving in 2014”

Personal Debt level concerns are overblown according to Equifax stats.

Equifaxdebt amination So here we go again.. More stats that show our personal debt levels aren’t out of control… That’s right, I said ‘aren’t’ out of control.  Equifax Canada says our defaults are at record low levels and we are paying off our debts faster.   This doesn’t come as any surprise to me.   Anyone that’s followed my posts knows that I have questioned all the popular articles telling us we are not managing our debts responsibly.

You’ve seen the reports… ‘Personal debts at record high levels’…..’Personal Debt crisis’.     We’ve been hammered with the same headlines for the past few years.  I just wasn’t seeing this with my readers or my clients… I kept seeing consumers wanting  to take advantage of these record low interest rates to invest or improve their homes (why is that a bad thing?).   That’s not bad debt in my opinion… that’s good debt.. And now we have some stats to back up what I have experienced. Continue reading “Personal Debt level concerns are overblown according to Equifax stats.”

Genworth Financial $50billion increase is good for Consumers

Genworth Financial CanadaThe Federal govt controls hi-ratio mortgage lending…. (mortgages that are greater than 80% loan to value)…  There is a $600 billion limit for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC… a federal corp).   And a $250 billion limit for Genworth Financial Canada (a private corp).

Last year, the govt reported CMHC was fast approaching it’s $600 billion limit and that it had no intentions of increasing that limit.  Then last month, the federal govt announced they would increase Genworth’s limit to $300 billon.  This gives Canada’s mortgage lenders some breathing room as it now appears as though there is enough room to cover mortgages for a few years…

WHY YOU SHOULD PAY ATTENTION Continue reading “Genworth Financial $50billion increase is good for Consumers”

CMHC flawed data? Or is this just a shock value article?

 The Globe and Mail’s Grant Robertson and Tara Perkins wrote a shocking article entitled “Potentially flawed data used by banks and lenders bump up house prices”.   Wow, that headline is sure to get a lot of attention.  I mean that’s a really serious allegation. Let’s continue…

They claim to have documents that quote “confidential statements from banks, appraisers and mortgage insurers show rising worry over the use of a database operated by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The documents suggest the data are flawed and help push home prices up.”

But keep reading this article… and tell me if you see any substance to this allegation.   The article goes on to explain that CMHC has been using an automated evaluation system called EMILI, since 1996 that can determine house values.   They also say CMHC will order appraisals when they deem necessary.   They even quoted an appraiser that says the system is flawed… So this article must be right… after all, it’s in the Globe and Mail!!

I read this article a few times over, to try and find any real facts to suggest that CMHC is using flawed data….  but I came up empty.   Did they make any mention of how many times the EMILI system was used over the past 16 years?  Or how many instances this system produced a wrong property valuation?  How about how many appraisals were required when EMILI couldn’t support a value?  What about the $$ losses that CMHC has incurred due to incorrect property valuation using EMILI?   NO.. no data provided… Just a reference to some document that raised concerns about the EMILI system.   My guess is that any losses were limited or we would have heard a lot more about it….

Folks, this article is another example the media using shock value to get you reading… This is the type of ‘water cooler talk’ that causes us to panic, to make mistakes.   We tend to flock to the negative… bad news travels faster than good news…it’s human nature.     Last night, when I saw this article, there were 62 comments…. as of this morning, when I wrote this article, there were over 300.

I want you to read these comments.… full of angry people… all celebrating the possible scandal of a flawed property valuation system…  Hooray!  There’s a scam…banks, and homeowners got ripped off!  Let’s celebrate!!… The attitudes were disturbing…  Hey, I want to associate with positive people.. not pessimists…  If this is the audience that the Globe is attracting, then maybe we should rethink where we get our information from.

Sensationalism is a dangerous thing.  Let’s continue to take emotion out of it… Let’s make sure we look at facts and clearly separate our opinions.   Buying a house for personal use or as an investment needs to be given careful consideration.   You’ve heard me say that real estate should be a 7 year investment.   History shows us that this is how long it takes to amortize the expenses involved with buying and selling a home.   It’s also how long it takes to go through an up and down economic cycle.    Real Estate isn’t about making a quick buck.

Interest rates are at historical, all-time lows… Have you seen any articles about this lately?   Not many… but that’s because it’s lost it’s shock value.  This won’t grab your attention. But’s true… and for most of us, it still makes good financial sense to buy a house.

Make decisions based on fact… based on your own personal circumstances… based on what works for you… based on what your goals are…based on professional advice…

As always, I welcome your comments and questions… If you have any questions about mortgages or mortgage related issues, please free to contact me.

Steve Garganis

416 224 0114

steve@mortgagenow.ca

CMHC under OSFI control…. another kick in the rear to Canadians.

CMHC’s MOVE TO OSFI CONTROL WILL BE A KICK IN THE BUTT TO ALL CANADIAN HOMEOWNERS.

Is this what CMHC staff and Canadian homeowners are thinking?….   That’s right, it could be OSFI head, Julie Dickson on one end, and that’s you and I on the receiving end!

You’ve seen the headlines lately….  “OSFI proposes radical changes under Draft Bill B-20” which was up for discussion until May 1st.    But weeks earlier, Julie Dickson, the head of OSFI made a surprise remark at speech in Toronto’s Board of Trade…(some were calling it an ‘oops’, or a ‘slip-up’ ) where she stated that the proposed HELOC changes were a done deal…  this was on April 7th… well before the May 1st discussion deadline…

And more recently, we saw more questionable remarks from OSFI…. this time from Vlasios Melassanakis, Manager of Policy Development.   “Are the banks equipped to handle a 40% drop (what occurred in Toronto market in early 1990’s)? Need to stress test to find out.”    Is Melassanakis for real?   40% drop??  where is he getting that number from??    Absurd..! and unsubstantiated!   That’s my response.

What’s going on here, you might ask??

Mortgage arrears are low, affordability is high, property values have declined or remained flat across the country except a few pockets including GTA…   So why all these drastic changes?

I was contacted for my opinion by some business writers from our national media.   We were trying to read the fine print… to understand what it all this meant…. and why it had to be done so quickly…  Why do we have move CMHC, a Crown corporation that’s been around for over 50 yrs and making $billion profits for Canada…why do we need to move them under OSFI control?

The dust hasn’t settled yet, but here are some of the changes and my thoughts on what seems to be happening.

  • introduce a limit on secured lines of credit to 65% of the value of your home… down from 80%… this move makes no sense…  this will limit your ability to draw on the equity in your home to invest, access cheap money to run a business (the self-employed are an understated segment of the population that will really suffer), pay for your kids education, or just access funds for personal use…   the govt wants to mandate this product for the first time in history…  and by the way, it’s always been harder to qualify for these products than a regular mortgage.
  • re-underwrite your mortgage at renewal... they propose to reapprove your income, credit, get a new property appraisal at time of renewal… regardless if you made all your payments on time…  where’s the logic?  what’s the point?  Would any lender really tell someone their mortgage won’t be renewed even though they paid fine?  Will they ask you to pay down your mortgage if a new appraisal says your house is worth less?
  • they have even suggested they want to change our long running standard underwriting debt servicing ratios… these have been around for over 30 yrs and have served us well… why the change?
  • OSFI is a regulatory body that provides regulation and supervision to 152 Banks, Trust companies and other Lenders.   They are auditors….  Where is their motive to provide access to mortgage money for prospective homeowner?   This move to push CMHC under OSFI is the biggest change in decades and it’s very risky given that Canada is looked upon as a stable country with a stable banking system…  why would the govt make all these changes?  and why now?
  • let’s not forget some of the comments from Minister of Finance Flaherty.. he suggested CMHC may not even be necessary in the future…  a bold statement.

POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF THESE CHANGES

It’s clear these changes will effect us all….. here are some of the early results of the changes:

  • we have already been informed that CMHC has tightened their lending policies… there was an official communique released last month that stated, more applications will get referred to underwriters for full review….
  • several banks have amended or cut their business for self mortgage programs… end result is higher cost to obtain funding… guess that’s good for who?? not the consumer…
  • less access to the equity in your homes will mean less money towards investments… we have  huge segment of our population that borrows to invest in stocks, properties, etc..  they will have less to access now….  resulting in less money in the economy.
  • we may achieve  a lower personal debt level… but will that help the economy?…
  • less money flowing into the economy can’t be a good thing…  if we wanted to slow things, the Bank of Canada would have raised their Target Rate long ago…. instead, it has remained unchanged since Sept 2010.
  • there will be more..

We’ve heard that a review of CMHC by OSFI will be  completed by June… but the results won’t be published… so we can only guess and speculate as to what changes these auditors at OSFI will be proposing….  We’ll be watching and reporting…..Let’s hope they don’t fix something that isn’t broken.

As always, if there is something you need help with, let me know… I’m happy to help.!


A complete overhaul of Mortgage Lending in Canada?

  FED GOVT KEEPS TALKING ABOUT TIGHTENING MORTGAGE LENDING POLICIES

But why?  Why does the govt believe there is a need for all this change?  That’s the question most industry insiders are asking.  Here are some facts with my thoughts mixed in….  tell me if you see some contradiction between the different branches of the govt or a lack of consistency:

  • Surprise…we don’t have a mortgage default problem… Mortgage arrears in Canada are 0.38% as of January 2012.   In Ontario, the housing hot spot, arrears are only 0.28%.   These figures are very low by anyone’s standards.
  • The average resale price dropped 0.5% nationally.  But resale prices in Toronto, are up around 7.3% in a year-over-year comparison.  But that trend is cooling according to The Canadian Real Estate Association.
  • Inflation isn’t a problem… it’s hovering at 1.9%, well within acceptable levels.
  • Housing affordability hasn’t really changed in 10 yrs according to the RBC housing affordability index and it actually improved in Q4 of 2011 (it’s probably even better this year as interest rates are even lower).
  • Personal household debt is around 153% of income.  That’s a record high number, it’s true, but what are Canadians borrowing for?  Studies tell us it’s not for big screen TVs or trips to Bahamas…  We’re actually investing… in stocks, mutual funds, real estate here and in the U.S.  In fact, we are the biggest foreign buyers in Florida and we are also buying in Phoenix, Arizona in record numbers…. Is buying a second home a bad investment?
  • Did you know that 1/3rd of Personal Debt is non-mortgage debt including high interest credit cards, loans and unsecured lines of credit…. yet, there is little to no regulation for these products…
  • Speaking of credit cards… the arrears rate is just over 1.00%... that’s around triple what mortgage arrears are!  Why isn’t the govt clamping down on these credit products?
  • Record-low interest rates were brought in to stimulate the economy.  Haven’t Canadians played their role to kick-start the economy?  Why does the govt want to punish homeowners now with tougher qualifying rules?  OSFI has even proposed you re-qualify for your mortgage at renewal time!!   How absurd is that?
  • The Bank of Canada wants to raise rates to slow our personal debt growth…   but can’t for fear of slowing the economy…
  • The Federal Minister of Finance, Flaherty, wants to tighten mortgage lending to slow the housing market and reduce the amount of mortgage debt we take on.
  • The housing market accounts for up to 40% of this country’s GDP… all these changes will affect our economy.
  • Business for Self mortgage programs have been eliminated by some banks and other Lenders… making borrowing more expensive for this segment of our population…. by the way, they are paying their mortgages just fine.. there is no evidence suggesting Business for Self borrowers have repayment problems…
  • CMHC opted out of rental property mortgages last year in an attempt to slow real estate investment… so you must come up with 20% down or use equity from other sources for the down payment..

FED GOVT’S LATEST MOVE IS TO PUSH CMHC UNDER OSFI CONTROL

  • OSFI will assume control over CMHC, the country’s national housing agency…. You will have an audit dept overseeing a social program… hmm, I wonder what will happen to CMHC??  The possibilities frighten me and should frighten most Canadians… (more on this later).
  • Minister Flaherty made a comment that maybe the govt should consider selling CMHC…  say goodbye to a business that nets over $1billion a year.. $16billion since 2002.   Here’s an idea…why not split CMHC into 2 business… bulk insurance business and the traditional low down payment business… wouldn’t that keep the Canadian dream of home ownership alive and also satisfy the auditors, like OSFI??
  • OSFI wants to limit Secured Lines of Credit to 65% loan to value from today’s 80% loan to value…  This one makes no sense and has received harsh criticism from Financial Experts…. scares me to think that it’s even gone from thought to paper to print… what other changes were they considering that didn’t make it to print??

MY SUMMARY OF IT ALL…

In short, the govt wants to keep the economy stable but they are going to make it harder for you and I to qualify for a mortgage….  Yet, there are no changes coming for the most expensive of debts… Credit cards, loans and unsecured lines of credit rules either don’t exist or will not change…  For some reason, the govt thinks it’s okay to borrow at 7% , 8% for unsecured lines of credit and pay 18% to 20% on credit cards, but please don’t borrow for a home, at 3% and 4%??

If we continue to make it harder for Canadians to get a mortgage, then we will have fewer home sales.. Fewer home sales will affect ALL HOME VALUES and slow the economy.  It’s really that simple…  this affects the biggest asset that most of us will own… our home!

Let’s hope the govt thinks like a carpenter… measure twice and cut once… !

If you’re a homeowner and aren’t sure how these and other changes might affect you, feel free to contact me anytime.   I’d be happy to help.

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