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Looking to boost Cash Flow? New Flexible Mortgage could be a game-changer!

Blog Image, Interest Only Flex, July 2018There’s a great new flexible interest-only mortgage product that could prove beneficial for a number of borrowers, including first-timers, real estate investors, professionals, seasonal workers and others looking for lower monthly mortgage payments.

Designed to help borrowers increase monthly cash flow by providing maximum flexibility, this product can be used for both purchases and refinances.

I recently tried this product out and was really impressed!

Continue reading “Looking to boost Cash Flow? New Flexible Mortgage could be a game-changer!”

REAL facts on Housing Prices… they’re not dropping like you may think!

House Prices Blog Image, April 2018

In recent months, we’ve seen the mainstream media publish several stats and articles about Canada’s declining real estate market.

The popular stories go something like this: Home sales fall by 22%; or Home prices drop by 10%. Does that sound familiar? Bad news grabs our attention. It’s human nature.

Now, for a dose of reality…

It’s true, there are fewer home sales when compared to last year’s crazy red-hot housing market. In 2017, home sales and home prices were up 20% and 25% in the first four months of the year. That pace is unsustainable. We don’t ever want to match that pace. Continue reading “REAL facts on Housing Prices… they’re not dropping like you may think!”

Darryl Sittler made his fortune in Real Estate… not Hockey!

RRSP home buyers plan

A few years back, I had the privilege of hearing one of my childhood idols – former Toronto Maple Leafs captain, Darryl Sittler – speak at a Real Estate Investment Network (REIN) meeting.

In case you haven’t heard of REIN, let me share some details about this group of real estate investors that gets together to network and share valuable information affecting real estate in Canada. The leader of the group is Don Campbell. His approach to buying investment properties has proven to be very sound and profitable. In fact, his “Top 10 Best Cities to Invest” lists are legendary! Continue reading “Darryl Sittler made his fortune in Real Estate… not Hockey!”

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!”

RRSP, RESP, TFSA or Mortgage prepayment… Which offers the best bang for my buck?

Invest. Return on investment. Financial growth. Technology and business concept

Trying to decide what’s the best move can be difficult… and, I must admit, this isn’t an easy subject to tackle. There are so many opinions! But it’s important enough that I’m going to put my two cents into the discussion. (My final recommendations are listed at the bottom if you want to fast forward.)

First, let’s come to the understanding that we’re all different and have unique needs. You must first ask for professional advice in order to make up your own mind. Having said that, I think that, for me, this is actually a very easy decision. Continue reading “RRSP, RESP, TFSA or Mortgage prepayment… Which offers the best bang for my buck?”

Canadians bought more U.S. real estate than almost anyone else!

From April 2016 to March 2017 Canadians spent $19billion buying U.S. properties, according to the U.S. National Association of Realtors.

Put another way, Canada was only behind China for all foreign purchases of U.S. real estate in 2016.   That’s an incredible stat that deserves more attention.

And what’s not been talked about is where Canadians are getting the money to buy these U.S. properties.  It isn’t so easy for a Canadian to borrow money from US Bank.  So, instead, Canadians are borrowing in Canada by refinancing the mortgage on their house, or getting a secured line of credit.  This is called leveraging.  Borrowing to invest isn’t a bad thing.  Most Financial Planners and advisor promote this.

THE STATS SHOW WE CANADIANS ARE SAVVY INVESTORS

Yet, all we keep hearing about is how Canadians are borrowing and spending like foolish children. And that’s just not true.  Here’s some numbers from 2016 …

Continue reading “Canadians bought more U.S. real estate than almost anyone else!”

Housing bubble is coming… again?

You’ve seen them before.. but they went silent for a few years.  I’m talking about the housing bears.  The pessimists that say house prices are too high and will crash.  A housing bubble.

Are they right?  Maybe.  But here’s the thing.  We’ve been hearing that house prices are too high for over a decade.  One of the more vocal pessimists is David Madani, Economist for Capital Economics.

HOUSING BUBBLE?

Madani was on BNN this past week saying we are in a ‘Full blown housing bubble’.   Hmmm, that sounds familiar.  Let me think… when did I hear that before?  Oh, that’s right, 2011.   He said, we could see house prices drop by 25% in 2011.  And he was completely wrong. (hope you didn’t listen to him). Continue reading “Housing bubble is coming… again?”

Panic buying? When will the housing market slow down?

 

hot-housing-marketHouses selling over asking price is becoming the norm, these days.  Kinda crazy.  Sometimes a house is just listed under market value to attract a frenzy of buyers. An old tactic that has worked well in larger urban markets.  Today, that tactic is being used in smaller communities, too.

What’s unclear is if this selling tactic is contributing to houses selling for more than they’re worth.  And what is a home worth, anyway?   I always thought a house was worth what someone was willing to pay in the open market.  That’s still true in most cases, today.

When I see reports of houses selling for $100k, $200k and $300k over asking, it makes me wonder.  How long will this market last?  Will it crash?  And if so, when?   It’s hard to make forecasts and I can’t see into the future, but let’s examine this a little.

WHEN WILL THE HOUSING MARKET CRASH? Continue reading “Panic buying? When will the housing market slow down?”

Trump’s George Ross says Canada’s Housing market is undervalued….

George RossGeorge Ross is Donald Trump’s Executive VP.  He’s Trump’s senior advisor and has worked with Trump for 30 years.   You’ve probably seen him on TV on ‘The Apprentice’.   This week, he was quoted as saying Canada’s real estate market is undervalued, not overvalued.    That’s quite the opposite of what the so-called experts have been saying for 8 or 9 years.  (by the way, where are those experts now?)

If you listen to his interview, he makes some good points.   Office properties have more upward potential than residential properties.  But the residential market follows the Office or commercial market.   He also says that buying a house for a quick flip isn’t a good strategy.    It may sound good on the TV shows, but it’s a risky game to play.   Mr. Ross says more fortunes have been lost in real estate than have been made.   Continue reading “Trump’s George Ross says Canada’s Housing market is undervalued….”

Darryl Sittler made his fortune in real estate, not hockey.

RRSP home buyers planLast week, I had the privilege of attending REIN’s (Real Estate Investment Network) monthly workshop.  One of my childhood idols was a guest speaker.  I’m talking about Darryl Sittler, the former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs.   In case you haven’t heard of REIN, let me share some details about this group of professionals.

REIN is a group of real estate investors that get together to network and share valuable information that affects real estate in Canada.   The leader of the group is Don Campbell.   If you haven’t heard of him, you should.  His approach to buying investment properties has proven to be very sound and profitable.  His “top ten best cities to invest” is legendary. Continue reading “Darryl Sittler made his fortune in real estate, not hockey.”

Rising personal debt levels.. but how about rising asset levels?

net worthEver notice how all economic news is bad?  Seriously, when was the last time you heard Canadians were doing well, financially?   Even when we came out of the October 2008 U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis (notice I’m very specific about the cause of that recession) with flying colours, we kept seeing the same negative messages about how lucky we were to come out of this as strong as we did.

But here we are, 5 years later (hard to believe it’s been 5 years) and all we keep hearing and reading is how the economy is fragile… the housing bubble is coming… personal debt levels are at record highs…  housing affordability index has increased (this measures how much of your income is used for housing)…   This all sounds terrible and depressing.. maybe we should sell everything, move to another country and herd sheep? Continue reading “Rising personal debt levels.. but how about rising asset levels?”

Mortgage rates hit all-time lows….it all adds up to record savings too.

graph trend downMortgage rates are still low… In fact, they are at record lows…  5 year fixed rates for qualify products can be found at 2.89%… some No Frills products are at 2.79% (stay away from these products)..   Put another way, for every $100,000 of mortgage you borrower, your payment is $468/mth.

Compare this with the average 5 year fixed rate for the past 25 years being over 7.00% and you have huge potential savings.  That same $100,000 mortgage would cost you $700/mth… That’s a $232/mth difference.  No wonder more Canadians are buying homes, buying rental properties or tapping into their equity to invest. Continue reading “Mortgage rates hit all-time lows….it all adds up to record savings too.”

Baby Boomers 10 yr real estate retirement plan

Last week, I was asked to comment on BMO’s Retirement Report  which pointed out that more Canadian Baby Boomers are using their home as their retirement fund.  The BMO study shows the baby boomer generation were not downsizing like many experts were thinking.  But instead, they are buying bigger, more expensive homes.   The thinking is that the higher priced homes will grow their retirement fund more quickly and more securely.

Several Financial Experts commented on this study…. mostly offering negative reviews about this retirement strategy….. including BMO… you know, eggs in one basket, diversification, that sort of thing…  there is merit in the statements but I really don’t agree with the negative spin….. Here’s a link to my quotes about the “10 year plan” in The Star.

The 10 year plan has grown in popularity over the last 5 years as we’ve seen the value of our RRSPs or other investment drop in value.   It’s capitalizing on real estate values going up over the long-term.    It’s really simple to understand….

THE 10 YEAR RETIREMENT PLAN

Here’s an example of what one couple did….Let’s say you’re between the ages of 35 and 55.

  • You own a home worth $500k.
  • You have a $300k mortgage., but you can afford to buy a $700k home.
  • Your new mortgage is $500k.
  • You are committed to keeping that home for 10 years….and you can afford the payments..
  • In that 10 years, the goal is to pay down your mortgage by at least half, if not more. (a realistic goal considering the average Canadian pays off their home in 12 to 17 years).
  • if your home goes up by 5% each year, on average (and this is probably a realistic number looking back at historical values), then your home should be worth $1.14million.  
  • the 10 year timeframe is critical… we want to give enough time to live through any up or down real estate market…

Using the example above, in 1o years you should have a mortgage of $350k or less and house worth $1.14millon… that’s $790,000 of equity in your home.   Oh, and it’s all Capital Gains Tax Free….

Does it sound too easy or too good to be true?   It’s really not… take any 10 year period in history…  work out your own stats… This is reality…

By the way, the couple I’m referring to are real… they are actual clients of mine.   They bought their home in 2007 for $850k… They have paid down their mortgage to $300k…this is way ahead of schedule…(the low interest rates have helped)….  The value of their home today is approximately $1.5million.  They have $1.2million in equity today.  They estimate the home will be worth $2million in 5 years…  but even if it isn’t, even if the property is only worth $1.2million 5 years from now, I’d say they’ve done pretty well, wouldn’t you agree?

And for those that prefer stocks and bonds, then stick with those investments…  There isn’t one good strategy…  This plan is less exciting and probably a little boring…  but I like boring when it comes to my money and my retirement…

This plan isn’t for everyone.  You need to be comfortable with debt and understand real estate…. and you need to commit to owning real estate for 10 yrs (it doesn’t have to be the same house.. you can move)…

If you need help with this plan or just want more info to help understand it, give me a call anytime.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

Bond rates up 0.30%…and 5 yr mortgages at 2.99% disappear.. for now.

Last week we saw 5 yr fixed mortgage rates hit 2.99% for the first time ever (these are full featured mortgages, not No Frills products).   But these rates didn’t last long… just 3 days later, bond yields spiked up and mortgage rates followed…  5 yr fixed rates now sit at 3.09%.

The 5 year Govt of Canada bond yields are up 0.30% since July 24th, and are currently sitting at 1.42%.  That’s a 26% increase in 2 weeks.  These bond yields have a direct effect on 5 yr fixed mortgage rates.     If bond yields continue to go up, we could see mortgage rates go up further.    Looking further ahead, the 2yr Govt of Canada bond yields provide us with a 6 month outlook…  they have also gone up from 0.93% to 1.16%, a 20% increase… if the yields stay at this level, we should look for rates to go up slightly…

Still, these are historical low rates… anything under 4.00% is ridiculously low…  We haven’t seen 5 yr fixed rates under 4.00% for over 40 yrs..  This isn’t time to panic…it’s still a great time to borrow money…

This seems to be an ongoing pattern.  Rates go up temporarily, then they drop… they go up, then they drop…    We’ve been stuck in this cycle for over 2 years.  But hey, who’s complaining?  Not anyone with a mortgage….not any real estate investors… this means money is cheap….. and it makes investing in real estate a very attractive option.

For those of us with a pension or if you are heavily invested in stocks, bonds or mutual funds, then you won’t like these low rates as they are keeping your Return On Investment very low……  Personally, I have some money in mutual funds and some stocks…..I started with my RRSP in 1990…. they were supposed to be a safe, long-term investments…. The only problem is, I’ve never made any positive return… Sound familiar?   The only ones making money are the Fund Managers (with their 2% Management fees) and Investment Advisors (with their 5% or 6% Deferred Sales Charges).

I lost my appetite for stocks and mutual funds, in 2000… the year of the dot com, dot bomb, internet stock market crash… the markets have been a roller coaster ride ever since… I got off that ride in 2004 and have never looked back.

If you’re looking for investment strategies in mortgages and real estate, drop me a line or give me a call… I’d be happy to share some of my knowledge and experiences of others that are enjoying positive returns elsewhere.

Steve Garganis

416 224 0114  steve@mortgagenow.ca

 

 

‘Stock investing is dead’, says World’s largest Bond fund manager.

For those of you that have made little or negative returns on your mutual funds and stocks, this statement might sound familiar.  Bill Gross is a founder and managing director of PIMCO,  They manage over $1.7trillion of securities.  His latest Investment Outlook paper had some very strong statements.

He says the historic 6.6% return on the stock market is more of a ponzi scheme.   And we shouldn’t expect the stock market to keep up with the real cost of living.   WOW!… strong words, but coming from someone who manages more money than several countries GDP,  we should pay some attention.

So if stocks and mutual funds aren’t cutting it and aren’t going to cut in the future, where do we turn?   There was no clear answer given in Mr. Gross’ article.   But maybe it’s time to look elsewhere…  There is one investment that has proven to stand the test of time.  Real Estate.  Real estate doesn’t have to appreciate in value to generate a positive return…but of course, it usually does.  How’s that you say?  Well, let’s take a close, but simplified look.

If you bought a property for $300k and put a $60k or $70k down payment, rented the house out, and paid your mortgage off in 20 or 25 years (by the way, the average time to pay a mortgage in Canada is between 12 and 17 years), you would own a tangible asset worth $300k.   And let’s not forget the rental income that just keeps being generated each and every month, year after year…. We can use any number for this but a realistic rent on a $300k property would be in the $1300 to $1600/mth range.  But remember, rents go up with inflation… so we should also expect rents to increase with cost of living.  And if they don’t increase, then inflation isn’t an issue…

Yes, the first 5 years or so, may not see a positive cashflow.. maybe even a negative one… but any loss could be written off against your income… and eventually, you would be in a positive position as your mortgage balance decreases.

Real estate investments scare most of us.  We don’t understand what’s involved.  We imagine the worst… the possible tenant from hell, that doesn’t pay for 6 months or destroys your property….or buying the money pit and having major repair bills, or mortgage rates going up making our payments unaffordable.     But in reality, if you are careful with your property selection, put the time in to manage and watch your property, and are careful with tenant selection, you will be with the majority of investors that see their investment perform well… you will build equity in your property as the mortgage gets paid over time.    And hopefully, the value of your property will only go up…

Maybe it’s time to invest in something we can see, touch and take care of….  instead of a piece of paper like stocks shares or mutual funds.  There’s a growing number of Canadians that are fed up with the stock market and mutual funds… fed up with paying 2% management expense ratios or 6% deferred sales charges only to come out with a negative return….  How may of us have been forced into mutual funds or stocks because we’ve been told to invest into RRSPs to reduce our taxes and invest for retirement?   Has that formula really worked for anyone?  If you want to look at something different but certainly not new, then take a look at real estate… you may be pleasantly surprised.

If you need help with understanding mortgages and how financing an investment property works,  please feel free to contact me.  I’m always happy to help.

Steve Garganis

Real Estate Investments outperform stock market

Saw this article in the Financial Post over the weekend…  great stats about timing real estate investment…  There is a growing fear that interest rates will rise causing affordability to decline… Okay, for now, let’s say that we do except that the global and US economies will suddenly improve  and govts can then raise rates…. Should this stop you from buying real estate?   Is this a bad time to invest?

According to the stats in this article, the answer is NO.   From 1992 to 2011, the average house in GTA increased from $214k to $465k.  That’s 116% increase or a compounded annual return of 3.94%   But if you factor in just enough rental income to cover your costs, then your return jumps to 11.40%…. compared with the TSX index return of 8.69%.   And hey, we didn’t factor in any rent increases…rents have also climbed dramatically over the past 20 yrs…

But what if you bought during the peak of 1990, just before prices dropped….  well, your return would still outperform the TSX index with a 8.94% annualized return.    And now let’s really think about this for one second…. How many people out there have actually invested in the TSX index?   I mean, come on…  No stock broker or Investment Advisor I know has ever recommended that.. they never do.. they pick mutual funds, stocks, etc…  and guess what?  I’ve yet to hear from anyone out there that has made a good return in the last 20 yrs…  In fact, most people I hear from tell me they have lost or just broken even…

Now, combine this info with the fact that we are still enjoying RECORD LOW interest rates and it’s very easy for me to say, I’d rather buy property than ride the stock market roller coaster…

There are some things to consider before buying that rental property…  how long should you plan to buy and hold?  What are the possible negatives?  Can you deal with tenants?   etc… but this is just some fact-finding… the knowledge is out there… it really isn’t that hard to do… you just need to ask questions and get informed.. it is possible..   If you need some advice on buying rental properties, send me a note and I’ll be happy to share my advice and strategies.

EVEN AMANDA LANG……?

One more thought… I was watching Amanda Lang on CBC a few weeks ago… she’s well spoken and very bright… but I have to take exception with one of her comments….  It was during a round table discussion… I only caught a bit of it but she made reference to real estate not matching inflation over the long-term… she was advocating other options for us to invest….  Come on Amanda, really?   Do you want to take  poll and see how many people have lost money in stocks and mutual funds??    And then let’s compare with how many have made or lost with real estate?

I don’t know about you, but my stock and mutual fund performance has been an on-going roller coaster ride with my Financial Advisors giving me the same speech for 24 years.. you know the speech… it’s from the movie, the Boiler Room with Ben Affleck, Vin Diesel and Giovanni Ribisi…   “don’t sell when it’s low…buy more, this stock is gonna come back….”  Last I checked, the most wealthiest people made their fortunes in real estate….   Sorry Amanda, I can’t agree with you on this one…

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