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New year new home - Learn About the Home Buyers Plan

Home Buying Goals? A New Year’s Resolution to Keep.

New year new home - Learn About the Home Buyers Plan

New year, new home? It’s a good time to take another look at the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP).

If you’re planning to buy your first home anytime soon, you may be able to take advantage of a helpful federal government program. This enables you to withdraw money you’ve already contributed to your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) and use it towards anything related to your home purchase, including your down payment, closing costs or real estate fees.

But, the key is that the funds must be in your account at least 90 days before you can withdraw them under the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP).

You can withdraw up to $35,000 ($70,000 per couple) from your RRSPs tax- and interest-free to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or a related person with a disability.

Continue reading “Home Buying Goals? A New Year’s Resolution to Keep.”

Mortgage Rates are still trending Lower… Yes, in August!

Its Christmas! Home Sweet Home. Home Improvement And Time. Enjoy

A couple years ago, the federal government brought in some tighter mortgage qualifying rules. The ‘stress test’ was just one of several changes, but it’s definitely the most well known.

The feds wanted to slow the housing market. They also wanted to ensure that borrowers could afford the much anticipated mortgage rate hikes. Rates have to go up some time, right?! When?!

Continue reading “Mortgage Rates are still trending Lower… Yes, in August!”

What Impact will the Stress Test have when Renewing Your Mortgage?

Blog Image, Stress Test at Renewal, February 2019

So, your mortgage is coming up for renewal this year. You’ve probably been in your mortgage for at least three years – but likely closer to five, as this is the most common term.

Does the mortgage stress test affect you? Absolutely! And, here’s how…

Continue reading “What Impact will the Stress Test have when Renewing Your Mortgage?”

Mortgage growth has slowed… so why are BANKS winning & CONSUMERS losing?

Blog Image, Feb 12, 2018

I reviewed some recent stats that explain how overall mortgage growth has fallen to its lowest level in the past 17 years!

Overall, mortgages outstanding across Canada total more than $1.5 trillion. And, while this total continues to increase year over year, the rate of growth has decreased. We should pay attention to this!

Typically, when we experience lower mortgage growth or no growth at all, house prices will follow suit and come down.

But, why aren’t the banks up in arms over this given that they make huge profits by lending money? (More on this below.)

Continue reading “Mortgage growth has slowed… so why are BANKS winning & CONSUMERS losing?”

Thinking of buying a home? Contribute to your RRSP so you can borrow tax-free!

Blog Image, HBP, December 2018

If you’re planning to buy your first home anytime soon, you may be able to take advantage of a helpful federal government program. This enables you to withdraw money you’ve already contributed to your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) and use it towards anything related to your home purchase, including your down payment, closing costs or real estate fees.

But, the key is that the funds must be in your account at least 90 days before you can withdraw them under the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP).

You can withdraw up to $25,000 ($50,000 per couple) from your RRSPs tax- and interest-free to buy or build a qualifying home for yourself or a related person with a disability.

Continue reading “Thinking of buying a home? Contribute to your RRSP so you can borrow tax-free!”

Looser Mortgage Standards Hit the UK! Is Canada Next?!

Home Finances

There’s nothing surprising about the loosening of mortgage standards to spur growth. In the last real housing bubble of 1990, banks and government brought in stricter lending rules, making it tougher for borrowers to get a mortgage.

Fast forward to the present. We’ve yet to see a housing bubble or market crash, but the government has taken drastic – perhaps even unheard of – precautions to slow the housing market.

In 1990, I was working for the largest trust company in Canada. I can tell you that it has never been harder to qualify for a mortgage than it is today!

Continue reading “Looser Mortgage Standards Hit the UK! Is Canada Next?!”

Why Did the Bank of Canada Raise Rates Last Week?!

Canada Mortgage rate 20180509

Last Wednesday, the Bank of Canada (BoC) raised its overnight target rate to 1.5% – up from 1.25%. This is the fourth increase since last June, when the target rate was 0.5%.

The timing is suspect to me. Last year, we had an increase around this time, but that was coming off of the hottest housing market in 29 years. We’re currently on the heels of a brutally slow spring market, yet rates are still rising? I don’t get it… this is a poor decision, in my opinion.

When it comes to four rate increases in the past year, there are facts, realities and perceptions that come into play… Continue reading “Why Did the Bank of Canada Raise Rates Last Week?!”

Interest Rates are Rising… and Expected to Continue… But!

December Blog Image

Rates have been rising gradually over the past six months following several years of historically-low rates. There should be no surprise that rates are rising – it was bound to happen. But, we can be thankful they’re not predicted to spike. It’s much easier to deal with – and plan for – gradual increases.

Benjamin Tal, Deputy Chief Economist of CIBC World Markets Inc, spoke last week about his predictions for rates and a bunch of other economic indicators. I’ve been following him for 15 years now. He’s one of the few economists whom I respect, as his forecasts have proven very accurate. So, let’s pay attention!

Continue reading “Interest Rates are Rising… and Expected to Continue… But!”

More disclosure.. but still no standardization of Mortgage Penalties.

Olive and harper Last week, we heard some potentially good news for Canadian consumers.  Federal Finance Minister, Joe Oliver, announced Banks would have to provide consumers more disclosure on certain products, including collateral mortgages.  We welcome more disclosure.

However, before we get too excited and give the Federal govt too much credit, let’s wait to see if this latest promise really happens.   If you are wondering why I’m so skeptical, it’s with good reason.  The Federal govt has not honored their commitments before.  And I’m talking about the promise made to Canadians to charge a fair prepayment penalty…  Remember that one? Continue reading “More disclosure.. but still no standardization of Mortgage Penalties.”

TD car loan rates at 25%!! Over 4000 comments!

cbc news

Last week, CBC’s Kathy Tomlinson made national headlines with her breaking story about TD charging car loan interest rates of 25%.  Wow!   Are you kidding me?  The reaction was incredible and went viral.  Over 4000 comments in just a few days.

Now, this doesn’t have anything to do directly with mortgages, but it’s relevant news given that TD is one of the largest BANKs in Canada.   It also shows our Federal Govt’s lack of focus when it comes to different types of consumer debt.    This should serve as a reminder that a BANK is a business.  They aren’t your best friend.    They want to maximize profits and are accountable to its shareholders.

The article reports that TD has approximately $14.3billion of indirect loans on its books brokered by dealers.   With an estimated 25% of these loans being priced at subprime rates (subprime means higher rates for riskier borrowers), that would work out to around $500million in interest costs being collected by TD each and every year! Continue reading “TD car loan rates at 25%!! Over 4000 comments!”

Canadian Govt doesn’t want you to find the lowest mortgage rate.

communism in canada Yesterday, we saw our Federal Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, admit to having his office phone up Manulife Financial and ask them to stop advertising their 2.89% 5 year fixed rate mortgage special.  An unprecedented move for a government official…  Yes, it’s true!  But wait, it gets better (or worse).  Flaherty admitted to calling up BMO personally,  to ask them to stop advertising their 2.99% 5 year fixed rate (NO FRILLS mortgage).  click here for the article.

Now, just a comment about these products and rates…. if you are a regular visitor to CanadaMortgageNews.ca then you’ll know the BMO low-rate (or NO FRILLS to be more accurate) is a terrible product with too many restrictions and limitations…  Manulife has a decent product….rate is competitive, however, like most other Bank’s, there is some mystery about what their best rates really are…  so once again, you can’t rely on a website or bank advertising when it comes to finding the best mortgage…a mortgage broker is the best way to get unbiased advice with access to dozens of Lenders. Continue reading “Canadian Govt doesn’t want you to find the lowest mortgage rate.”

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”

Personal Debt levels and Mortgage Debt levels

debt amination Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 4 years, it’s impossible to not know the Federal govt’s concern about Canada’s Personal Debt level.   The media has covered this topic extensively.  After all, bad news sells more than good news…..

Here’s some current stats from Statistics Canada that really gets my blood boiling!….  We now carry a total debt load equal to around 164% of our annual household income.  That’s at an all-time high….  The govt is convinced that we are spending too much or our income towards real estate…   They have made numerous changes to mortgage lending rules that make it much tougher to qualify for a mortgage.  If there really is a problem, why is the govt focusing on low-interest rate products like mortgages?

Current mortgage rates are at around 3.00%.    Current credit card rates range from 9.99% to 19.99%….personal loan and car loan rates range from 6.00% to 9.00% and up.   Aren’t low-interest rate products better than high-interest rate products?   We have not seen any changes to these non-mortgage debt products….   Who benefits from higher rates?  Yup, your banker!Continue reading “Personal Debt levels and Mortgage Debt levels”

Fed govt, BIG SIX BANK’s pushed us into Fixed rates!…part 2 of 2.

Flaherty and Harper

IT’S NO COINCIDENCE THAT THE BIG SIX BANKS CONTINUE TO REPORT RECORD PROFITS.

The Bankers were onto something.  Now if they could only keep Variable rate pricing higher or make itMark Carney tougher to get a Variable rate mortgage…. In 2010, the Fed govt would help increase those Bank profits…All new Variable rate mortgage borrowers would need to qualify at the Bank posted 5 year fixed rate.   The Feds said they had to tighten Mortgage Lending Rules… They had to make it tougher to qualify for a mortgage with fluctuating interest rates to ensure we would not have a ‘housing bubble’ and a ‘mortgage default problem’…  This pushed out 5% more borrowers from qualifying for, and benefiting from Variable rates.  And by the way, at that time, Variable rates ranged anywhere from 1.50% to 1.95% compared with the best discounted 5 yr fixed rate of 3.89%…..!  Anyone seeing a pattern here?   (Some stats to remember…Mortgage defaults have been under 0.50% for over 15 years are currently at around 0.33%… this is at or near record lows!!… so where’s the problem??)

This is also when the BIG SIX BANK’S inflated, and unfair mortgage penalty calculation came to light.   The lower rates became, the higher mortgage penalties climbed…  $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 in mortgage prepayment penalty charges were popping up in mortgage blogs and news sites.   Even the media had to jump in and cover some of this…  And when Canadians needed a break in their mortgage payments, they were left out in the cold.   These inflated penalties made it impossible to get out of their higher Fixed rate mortgages without paying an enormous penalty. Continue reading “Fed govt, BIG SIX BANK’s pushed us into Fixed rates!…part 2 of 2.”

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