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Shhh…Interest rates are still at record lows… and Canadians are making huge prepayments.

 IT’S OKAY TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT LOW INTEREST RATES

I’m sure this isn’t what our Federal govt wants you to hear.   But it’s true… Fixed rates are in the low 3.00%s….  So why aren’t we feeling good about this?   Why isn’t everyone happy?   Record low interest rates means less interest cost to you… it means low housing costs…It means you are saving money.

A mortgage is the biggest debt most of us will ever have…  We all talk about mortgage rates with our friends, co-workers and family…. It’s a popular subject… But for some reason, we aren’t feeling good about these low rates…  It’s almost like we should be feeling a little guilty, like the cat that swallowed the canary… do you feel like that?

Could it be that we have been beaten to death with negative messages by the Federal Minister of Finance?   Housing Bubble coming!!!…. personal debt levels rising!!… higher interest rates coming…!!   Maple Leafs win Stanley cup (oops, had to throw that one in)… we’ve been talking about these same things for years… yet they haven’t happened!  I’m not saying these aren’t concerns but I think some of these have been overstated without providing enough proof or evidence.

The govt doesn’t want you to borrow at these rates…   They are afraid you would be too irresponsible and would borrow more than you could afford… (never mind the fact that you must qualify at BANK POSTED rates which are 2.00% higher than these wholesale mortgage rates…)

NEW STATISTICS SHOW WE ARE RESPONSIBLE AND NOT SHOWING ANY SIGNS OF TROUBLE

By the way… the strange part about all this “boy that cried wolf” noise from the govt, is that there really isn’t any proof that we are in trouble….  That’s right..  Mortgage Arrears are low and have been low for over a decade… Affordability is better than it was 20 years ago!   (low rates have helped but increases in income have also factored in)…

And how about this stat that just came out….Around 23% of Canadian mortgage borrowers have increased their regular mortgage payments by $400 to $500 per month.  19% are making lump sum payments of around $12,500 per year.   That works out to over $20billion in extra payments towards their mortgages.  Or put another way, over 1 million mortgage holders out of the estimated 5.85million mortgage holders in Canada are paying far more than the minimum payment.   Does this sound like a country of irresponsible borrowers? … (source Financial Post).

Either the govt’s message has sunk in, or there really wasn’t as big a problem as we were led to believe…. I’ll let you be the judge…

But we could be facing a ‘Made in Canada’ problem as this article states… .  With the govt planning to make the biggest changes in history with  mortgage and HELOC lending, they will be affecting a large segment of new borrowers but even more EXISTING borrowers… they will force a large percentage of Canadians to sell their homes, close their businesses or seek higher interest debt….  And why?  What purpose does it serve?  The stats tell us we are fine…

House prices are hot in Toronto but they are cold in the rest of Canada…  The govt is providing a solution to problem that doesn’t exist.

If you aren’t sure if you could benefit from today’s low rates,  or how these proposed new lending changes will affect you, give me a call or send me an email…  I’d be happy to discuss your options.

Steve Garganis

Annual Mortgage borrowing stats are strong

The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP) released it’s Annual State of the Residential Mortgage Market in Canada, today.   The stats show that mortgage defaults are not a concern….and Canadians can absorb up to another $300/mth in higher mortgage costs…and we have 72% equity in our homes… wow, that’s quite impressive….

I’m amazed at how the media is reporting these stats… look at this headline “Canadian Mortgage Debt tops $1-Trillion for first time”. Well, here are the highlights of the report… the numbers look good to me…

• 35% of all mortgage holders have either increased their payments or made a lump sum
payment on their mortgage in the last 12 months
• Vast majority of Canadians have ability to afford higher mortgage payments. 84% said
they could handle monthly increases of $300 or more in their monthly payments
• 90% of Canadian homeowners have at least 10% equity in their homes, 81% have over
20% equity
• 70% of Canadians are satisfied with their mortgage terms
• Despite low Bank of Canada interest rates reflected in low variable rate mortgages, a
majority (66%) of Canadians still have a five year fixed mortgage, 29% have variable
mortgages and 4% a combination
• Overall, 22% of mortgages have an amortization of greater than 25 years compared to
18% last year
• Overall home equity is 72%. For homeowners with mortgages, equity level averages
50%
• Mortgage rates continue to drop. Average mortgage rate is 4.22% versus 4.55% last
year. For those who took out a mortgage in the last year, the average rate was 3.75%,
72% of those renewing saw a decrease in their mortgage rate
• Overall, mortgage brokers account for 25% of all mortgages and for new mortgages in the
past year, this number rises to 40%
• As of August 2010, there was over $1 trillion in outstanding residential mortgage credit in
Canada
• Mortgage arrears rate remains stable at 0.42%, lower than for most of the 1990s

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