WHAT THE ELECTION RESULTS MEAN FOR YOUR MORTGAGE

General Beata Wojtalik 5 Nov

WHAT THE ELECTION RESULTS MEAN FOR YOUR MORTGAGE

With all the news we have seen on the election, I thought I would sum it up from a mortgage industry perspective.

What the liberal win means for your mortgage:
1. We will see the continuation of the First Time Home Buyers’ Incentive. Check out the link for more information here:
2. Property Transfer Tax modifications were on the platform, so we will await the date that change is applicable.
3. Consumers will still be able to withdraw up to $35,000 from their RRSPs as part of the government’s Home Buyers’ plan.
4. Bank of Canada Rates may not decrease as expected this year – unless there is a significant downtown in the market suddenly- based on the snapshot of recent activity that doesn’t appear as likely. It certainly makes it easier for the lenders not to pass the decrease down the line to the consumer.
5. We will likely see a national housing tax implemented in addition to the provincial ones already in place.
For items 1, 2 & 5, here is a link.
It doesn’t appear we will see any of the changes to the stress test or amortization hoped for by many.
Stay tuned for more updates and what the BOC decides to do Oct. 30 and Dec. 4.
While the constant in our market will always be change, Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professionals are here at the frontlines to help you navigate the market to your advantage and save you money. Please reach out to us with any mortgage questions on how we can help you or those you care most about.

ANGELA CALLA

6 THINGS ALL CO-SIGNORS SHOULD CONSIDER

General Beata Wojtalik 5 Nov

6 THINGS ALL CO-SIGNORS SHOULD CONSIDER

Co-signing on a loan may seem like an easy way to help a loved one (child, family member, friend, etc. ) live out their dream of owning a home. In today’s market conditions, a co-signor can offer a solution to overcome the high market prices and stress testing measure. For example, if you have a damaged credit score, not enough income, or another reason that a lender will not approve the mortgage loan, a co-signor addition on the loan can satisfy the lenders needs and lessen the risk associated with the loan. However, as a co-signor there are considerations.

  1. If you act as a co-signor or guarantor, you are entrusting your entire credit history to the borrowers. What this mean is that late payments on the loan will not only hurt them, but it will also impact you.
  2. Understand your current situations—taxes, legal, and estate. Co-signing is a large obligation that could harm you financially if the primary borrowers cannot pay.
  3. Try to understand, upfront, how many years the co-borrower agreement will be in place and know if you can make changes to things mid-term if the borrower becomes able to assume the original mortgage on their own.
  4. Consider the implications this will have regarding your personal income taxes. You may have an obligation to pay capital gains taxes and we would highly recommend talking to an accountant prior to signing off.
  5. Co-signors should seek independent legal advice to ensure they fully understand their rights, obligations and the implications. A lawyer can lay it out clearly for you as well as help to point out any things you should take note of.
  6. Carefully think about the character and stability of the people that you are being asked to co-sign for. Do you trust them? Are you aware of their financial situation to some degree? Are you willing to put yourself at risk potentially to take on this responsibility? Another consideration is to think about your finances down the road and determine how much flexibility will be needed for yourself and your family too! If you have plans of your own that will require a loan, refinancing your home, etc. being a co-signor can have an impact.

Co-signing for a loan is a large responsibility but when it is set-up correctly and all options are considered, it can be an excellent way to help a family member, child, or friend reach their dream of homeownership. If you are considering being a co-signor or wondering if you will require a co-signor on your mortgage, reach out to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional. We are always happy to answer any questions and guide you through processes like this.

GEOFF LEE

MORTGAGE RENEWALS WITH THE SAME LENDER ARE ON THE RISE, BUT SHOULD YOU JUST SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE?

General Beata Wojtalik 5 Nov

MORTGAGE RENEWALS WITH THE SAME LENDER ARE ON THE RISE, BUT SHOULD YOU JUST SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE?

If you’re in a mortgage that’s coming up for renewal in the coming months and you’re considering just staying with your current lender, you wouldn’t be alone.
According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) Residential Mortgage Industry Report released in the summer, in 2018, the number of mortgage renewals with the same lender increased by 16 per cent over the previous year.
The report suggested one of the factors that may have contributed to large increases in loan renewals with the same institution are the tighter approval criteria. In other words, people are worried they may not qualify for a new mortgage if they switch lenders, so they’re staying put.
You’ll remember in the fall of 2017, OSFI, (the Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions) the agency that regulates the financial industry, announced tighter rules on mortgages. The biggest change related to uninsured mortgages, or homebuyers with 20 per cent or more for a down payment. These people are now required to go through a “stress test” or qualify using a minimum qualifying rate.
The changes came a year after a similar stress test was introduced for insured mortgages.
If the tighter mortgage rules still have you stressed as you face a mortgage renewal, the CMHC report noted the approval rate for same lender renewals remained stable at 99 per cent. Renewals are not specifically subject to the new stress test and are more likely to meet current lender criteria, the reported noted.
So, does that mean you should just automatically renew your mortgage with the same lender when your term is up? Not necessarily. You need to reach out to a mortgage professional to get the best advice.
For starters, most lenders, especially the big banks, will send you a renewal letter when there’s about three months left on the term. Sometimes that letter could come with six months left. Typically, the lender will offer you a rate at that time and all you’ll have to do is sign at the bottom line to roll over your mortgage.
But beware, lenders often offer a higher rate than a new client because they’re hoping the ease of renewal will keep you from seeking out a new lender and lower rate.
In some cases, it may be best to just sign and roll over your mortgage. There are a few things to consider. If you decide to change lenders, you’ll basically have to go through an approval process again. That entails getting all your documents, lawyer’s fees and appraisals.
You’ll have to ask yourself, is it worth the effort to save a few basis points off your rate, or a few hundred dollars over a term to make the switch?
For some it won’t be. But, if a switch can lead to saving thousands of dollars, it would certainly be something to consider. While everyone’s situation is different, the larger the mortgage, the bigger the savings will be if you can find a lower rate.
Often, homeowners will just use a bank their parents recommend for their first mortgage. But they might find themselves not happy with the service or terms of the mortgage and may just want to switch to a different lender as the mortgage comes up for renewal.
If that’s a situation you find yourself in, you have options, and a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker can help you make the best decision.

JEREMY DEUTSCH

Canadian Housing Market Rebounds in September

General Beata Wojtalik 24 Oct

Canadian Housing Market Rebounds in September

Canada’s housing market continues to rebound this fall from last winter’s chill.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported that benchmark prices rose 0.5% in September from August, and 1.3% year-over-year. The aggregate benchmark price for the 19 cities CREA tracks is now $629,200. The benchmark is the best metric we have for measuring “typical” house prices because it eliminates outliers at the top and bottom of the market. In comparison, the average home price rose 5.3% year-over-year to $515,500.

“In recent months, home prices have generally been stabilizing in the Lower Mainland and the Prairies, where previously they were falling. Meanwhile, price growth has begun to rebound among markets in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH), rejoining the ongoing price gains in housing markets located further east,” CREA says.

Cities in British Columbia and the Prairies were the only ones to post declines, with the Lower Mainland down 6.41%, Greater Vancouver down 7.28% and Fraser Valley down 4.68%. Calgary (-2.36%), Edmonton (-2.25%), Regina (-3.95%) and Saskatoon (-1.13%) were all also in a slump.

The difference between the two regions, however, is that prices in B.C. had more than doubled over the past five years prior to its downturn. The Prairies have seen a much more sustained downturn due to falling oil prices and a severe oversupply of housing.

The housing markets on the other side of the country have followed a very different trajectory. Nearly all markets in Ontario and the Maritimes rose significantly, both over the past year and also over the past five years. Greater Toronto, for example, is up 5.02% year-over-year and 57.02% over five years; Ottawa is up 9.61% year-over-year and up 28.58% from five years ago, and Greater Moncton is up 5.76% from last year and 23% from September 2014.

The difference in fortunes between East and West seems to be one of basic economics: the balance between supply and demand.

“The number of months of inventory has swollen far beyond long-term averages in Prairie provinces and Newfoundland & Labrador, giving homebuyers ample choice in these regions,” CREA noted. “By contrast, the measure is running well below long-term averages in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces, resulting in increased competition among buyers for listings and providing fertile ground for price gains.”

Sales simply continue to outpace new listings. National home sales rose 15.5% year-over-year, up from a six-year low reached in February 2018, but below the peaks reached in 2016 and 2017.

Meanwhile, sellers still appear hesitant to put their house on the market—new listings edged up less than 1%. The sales-to-new listings ratio, which measures competition, keeps rising and now stands at 61.3%, well above its long-term average of 53.6%.

That indicates the housing market is becoming increasingly tough for prospective buyers, who are competing with more buyers for fewer available properties. That can lead to price increases, bidding wars and pressure to leave out conditions in offers.

Until supply increases (or demand wanes), CREA expects long-term price gains in British Columbia, Ontario and the Maritimes.

For more information on September’s housing market, check out the infographic.

crea home prices for canadian cities

DANIELLE KUBES

SEPTEMBER DATA CONFIRM THAT HOUSING IS IN FULL REBOUND

General Beata Wojtalik 24 Oct

SEPTEMBER DATA CONFIRM THAT HOUSING IS IN FULL REBOUND

Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that national home sales rose for the seventh consecutive month. Activity rose another 0.6% month-over-month in September to 512,000 units (seasonally-adjusted and annualized). This was the highest level in 21 months and 6.6% above the 10-year average shown in the chart below. Existing home sales were 18% above the six-year low posted in February 2019, but they remain 8% below highs reached in 2016 and 2017.

Activity accelerated in slightly more than half of all local markets, led by Greater Vancouver (GVA) and the Fraser Valley, which together constitute the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity was up 15.5% year-over-year, reflecting the combination of slow sales in September 2018 and a rebound in activity this year. Transactions were up from year-ago levels in all of Canada’s largest urban markets, including the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Hamilton-Burlington, Ottawa and Montreal.

New Listings
The number of newly listed homes rose by 0.6% last month compared to 1.1% in August. The small increase in sales combined with the modest decline in new supply tightened the national sales-to-new listings ratio to 61.3% in September. This measure has been increasingly rising above its long-term average of 53.6%. At this point, this measure remains in balanced market territory but is favouring sellers more than buyers.

Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, three-quarters of all local markets were in balanced market territory in September 2019, including the GTA and Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Of the remainder, the ratio was in sellers market territory in all housing markets except Saskatoon and Southeast Saskatchewan.

There were 4.5 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of September 2019 – the lowest level recorded since December 2017. This measure of market balance has been increasingly retreating below its long-term average of 5.3 months.

This is not to say that things are solid across the board. Small month-over-month (m-o-m) resales declines in Calgary and Edmonton in September are a reminder that the recovery remains tentative in several markets where the economy is soft. Home prices are still down from a year ago in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and it will take a little longer for any recovery in demand to firm up pricing in those areas.

Home Prices
The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) rose 0.5% m-o-m in September 2019, marking a fourth consecutive gain for the measure.

Seasonally adjusted MLS® HPI readings in September were up from the previous month in 13 of the 18 markets tracked by the index. (Table 1)

In recent months, home prices have generally been stabilizing in the Lower Mainland and the Prairies, where previously they were falling. Meanwhile, price growth has begun to rebound among markets in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH), rejoining the ongoing price gains in housing markets located further east.

Comparing home prices to year-ago levels yields considerable variations across the country, with mostly declines in western Canada and mostly price gains in eastern Canada.

Home prices in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley remain furthest below year-ago levels (-7.3% and -4.8%, respectively), although declines are becoming smaller. Elsewhere in British Columbia, home prices on Vancouver Island and in the Okanagan Valley logged y-o-y increases (4% and 1.1%, respectively) while they edged slightly higher in Victoria (+0.4% y-o-y).

Prairie markets posted price declines ranging from about 1% to around 4% on a y-o-y basis in September. Over the same period, y-o-y price growth has re-accelerated well ahead of overall consumer price inflation across most of the GGH. Meanwhile, price growth in recent years has continued uninterrupted in Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton.

All benchmark home categories tracked by the index returned to positive y-o-y territory in August 2019 and gains further increased in September. Two-storey single-family home prices were up most, rising 1.7% y-o-y. One-storey single-family home prices rose 1.4% y-o-y, while townhouse/row and apartment units edged up 0.4% and 0.7%, respectively.

Bottom Line

This report is in line with other recent indicators that suggest housing has recovered from a slump earlier, helped by falling mortgage rates. The run of robust housing data gives the Bank of Canada another reason– along with healthy job gains, higher wage rates and stronger than expected output growth in Q2 — to hold interest rates steady.

As a result of some apparent easing in trade tensions between the US and China, interest rates have risen sharply over the past month. The Government of Canada bond yield is now 1.57% compared to 1.42% a month ago. Mortgage rates have edged up as well. The federal election is a wild card. Promises made during the federal election campaign could heat things further. Proposed measures include an expansion of the first-time homebuyer incentive; an extension of the maximum amortization period for insured mortgages; an easing the mortgage stress test; and, an increase in the homebuyer tax credit. Such measures could ultimately boost demand at a time when supply is tight overall. We’ll be awaiting details and the timing of any housing-related announcements by the next government to gauge the full impact on the market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DR. SHERRY COOPER

 

 

 

BUILDING A REAL ESTATE PORTFOLIO

General Beata Wojtalik 24 Oct

BUILDING A REAL ESTATE PORTFOLIO

More and more Canadians do not have a defined benefits pension plan. Companies are moving away from this model due to the expense of maintaining enough in the fund to pay out until the employee and survivors die. Those who are self employed also do not have pensions beside the Canadian Pension Plan.
What can you do if you fall into this category? How do you save enough to have a comfortable retirement? The answer is, build up your own investments through a real estate portfolio.

In order to purchase a revenue property you need 20% down payment . This can be a huge sum to save and you could get discouraged as you see property prices rising. There is a legal work around that is an open secret that realtors and other property investors have used for years.

Purchase a starter home with a 5% down payment. While you are living in the property, it is considered as your primary residence and any increase in value is tax free. Start from Day 1 to save for your next home. You may purchase a condo as the prices are usually less than most detached homes in Canadian cities. When you have saved 5% or if your present home has increased enough in value that you have more than 20% in equity you can remove that extra equity with a line of credit or by refinancing your home you can now purchase a larger home. Now you move to House #2 and rent out House #1.

You are now on your way to building a real estate portfolio. If you repeat this every 3 to 5 years in 20 years you’ll have a portfolio of 4 or more rental properties Is this for everyone? No, if you aren’t handy and if you don’t want the expense of hiring a property management company you cold end up spending your free time on maintenance of several homes.

Talk to your financial advisor or accountant first and then meet with your local Dominion Lending Centre mortgage professional. We can provide answers to your real estate financial needs.

DAVID COOKE

ROBUST CANADIAN JOBS REPORT IN SEPTEMBER

General Beata Wojtalik 24 Oct

ROBUST CANADIAN JOBS REPORT IN SEPTEMBER

The Canadian jobs market continued to surprise on the high-side–on track for one of its best years on record. This provides further confirmation to the Bank of Canada that additional easing in monetary policy is not necessary. The economy added 53,700 jobs in September, well above expectation, taking the year-to-date jobs gain to just over 358,000, the most in the first nine months of a year since 2002. The economy added 70,000 full-time jobs in September, with part-time employment down 16,300. Canada has added almost 300,000 new full-time jobs this year.

In September, employment increased in Ontario and Nova Scotia, while it held steady in other provinces.
More people were working in health care and social assistance, as well as in accommodation and food services. At the same time, there were declines in information, culture and recreation, and natural resources.

The number of self-employed workers increased, as did the number of employees in the public sector. The number of private-sector employees was virtually unchanged, although it was up 2.3% year-over-year.

The outsized jobs gain reduced the unemployment rate to 5.5% from 5.7% in August, near its lowest level in the past forty years. One difference in the September report from recent trends is that most of the job gains reflected mostly lower unemployment levels rather than rising labour force participation. The number of unemployed Canadians fell by 46,900 in September, while the labour force increased by just 6,800.

 

Wage Gains Rose Last Month

Another positive underpinning for the Canadian economy was the sustained rise in household incomes. The total hours worked last month were up 1.3% from a year earlier. Hourly pay rose 4.3% year-over-year in September, accelerating from a 3.7% pace in August. The last few months have posted the sharpest year-over-year increases in wage rates in a decade.

Bottom Line: This report lends ammo to the Bank of Canada to buck the tide of global monetary easing, at least for now. Few economists and investors believe, however, the country will be immune to a slowing global economy. Many expect the Bank of Canada will eventually be forced to cut interest rates. Swaps trading suggests one cut is still priced in over the next year.

The Bank of Canada’s next rate decision is October 30. There is so much geopolitical uncertainty in the world, emanating mostly from the US that no one can rule out a BoC rate cut sometime in the next year. The Canadian election results on October 21 will at least eliminate one uncertain issue, but a minority government were it to result, would only add to the uncertain stew.

DR. SHERRY COOPER

 

MORTGAGES 101 – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MORTGAGES

General Beata Wojtalik 24 Oct

MORTGAGES 101 – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MORTGAGES

Mortgage [ˈmôrɡij] NOUN
With a residential mortgage, a home buyer pledges his or her house to the bank. The bank has a claim on the house should the home buyer default on paying the mortgage. In the case of a foreclosure, the bank may evict the home’s occupants and sell the house, using the income from the sale to clear the mortgage debt.

Mortgages in a Nutshell
Since homes are expensive, a mortgage is a lending system that allows you to pay a small portion of a home’s cost (called the down payment) upfront, while a bank/lender loans you the rest of the money. You arrange to pay back the money that you borrowed, plus interest, over a set period of time (known as amortization), which can be as long as 30 years.

When you get a mortgage loan, you are called the mortgagor. The lender is called the mortgagee.

How Do You Get a Mortgage?
The companies that supply you with the funds that you need to buy your home are referred to as “lenders” which can include banks, credit unions, trust companies etc.

Mortgage lenders don’t lend hundreds of thousands of dollars to just anyone, which is why it’s so important to maintain your credit score. Your credit score is a primary way that lenders evaluate you as a reliable borrower – that is, someone who’s likely to pay back the money in full WITHOUT a lot of hassle. A score of 680-720 or higher generally indicates a positive financial history; a score below 680 could be detrimental, making you a higher risk. Higher risk = higher rates!

How Mortgages Are Structured
Down payment: This is the money you must put down on a home to show a lender you have some stake in the home. Ideally you want to make a 20% down payment of the price of the home (e.g., $60,000 on a $300,000 home), because this will allow you to avoid the extra cost of Mortgage Default Insurance which is mandatory with all down payments of less than 20%.

Every mortgage has three components: the principal, the interest, and the amortization period.

Mortgages are typically paid back gradually in the form of a monthly mortgage payment, which will be a combination of your paying back your principal plus interest.

  1. Principal: This is the amount of money that you are borrowing and must pay back. This is the price of the home minus your down payment
    taking the above example, purchase price $300,000 minus $60,000 down payment to get a mortgage (principal) of $240,000.
  2. Interest rate: Lenders don’t just loan you the money because they’re nice guys. They want to make money off you, so you will be paying them back the original amount you borrowed (principal) plus interest—a percentage of the money you borrow.The interest rate you get from the lender will vary based on: property, lender, credit bureau, employment and your personal situation.
  3. Amortization means life of the mortgage, or how long the mortgage needs to be, in order to pay off the complete loan (principal) plus interest. Mortgage loans have different “amortizations,” the two most common terms are 25 & 30 years.Within the life of the mortgage (amortization) you will have a Term. The length of time that the contract with your mortgage lender including interest rate is set up (typically 5 years). After your term completes, you can renew your mortgage with the same lender or move to a new lender.

WHEN TO GET A MORTGAGE

First Step: connect with a Mortgage Broker for a mortgage before you start hunting for a home. You need to know what you can afford – especially with all the new government regulations.

Ideally you need a mortgage pre-approval, which an in-depth process where a lender will check your credit report, credit score, debt-to-income ratio, loan-to-value ratio, and other aspects of your financial profile.

This serves two purposes:

  1. It will let you know the maximum purchase price of a home you can afford.
  2. A mortgage pre-approval shows home sellers and their realtors that you are serious about buying a home, which is particularly crucial in a hot housing market.

Types of Mortgages
How do you figure out which mortgage is right for you? Here are the 2 main types of home loans to consider:

  1. Fixed-rate mortgage:This is the most popular payment setup for a mortgage. A fixed mortgage interest rate is locked-in and will not increase for the term of the mortgage.
  2. Variable rate mortgage aka Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) A variable mortgage interest rate is based on the Bank of Canada rate and can fluctuate based on market conditions and the Canadian economy. A mortgage loan with an interest rate that is subject to change and is not fixed at the same level for the life of the term. These types of mortgages usually start off with a lower interest rate but can subject the borrower to payment uncertainty.

How to Shop for a Mortgage?
Use a mortgage broker, a professional who works with many different lenders to find a mortgage that best suits the needs of the borrower.

Brokers specialize in Mortgage Intelligence, educating people about mortgages, how they work and what lenders are looking for. Everyone’s home purchasing situation is different, so working with us will give you a better sense of what mortgage options are available based on the 4 strategic priorities that every mortgage needs to balance:

  • lowest cost
  • lowest payment
  • maximum flexibility
  • lowest risk

Most Canadians are conditioned to think that the lowest interest rate means the best mortgage product. Although sometimes that is true, a mortgage is more than just an interest rate. You can save yourself a lot of money if you pay attention to the fine print, not just the rate.

Banks tend to concentrate on the 5 year fixed mortgage rate (since that’s the best option for them)… rates are important, however your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional will look at the total cost of the mortgage. Brokers will advise & explain mortgage options, help you understand the implications of your choice and help you avoid the pitfalls of choosing a mortgage based on rates alone.

KELLY HUDSON

CLIENT SUCCESS STORY: CHIP REVERSE MORTGAGES

General Beata Wojtalik 24 Oct

CLIENT SUCCESS STORY: CHIP REVERSE MORTGAGES

A retired couple on fixed pensions found themselves struggling to make ends meet each month. Both were in good health and wanted to maintain an active lifestyle. They had spent their working years paying off their mortgage and had little saved in their RRSPs.

Now both in their 70s, they’re mortgage free. They love their neighborhood and want to remain in their family home. Like many people who live in the Greater Vancouver Area, their house has increased in value significantly and is now valued at $850,000.

We were able to access the equity in the couple’s home and free up $300,000 in a reverse mortgage, which can be received as a lump sum payment or as monthly payments. These funds are tax-free and will not affect their CPP (Canada Pension Plan) or OAS (Old Age Security) payments.

The clients are now in a position to increase their day-to-day spending, undertake some home renovations, take a trip or use the funds however they desire. They’re not required to make any payments on the amount as long as they reside in the property for six months of the year.

Their fixed pension income was sufficient for qualification as it demonstrated there were enough funds available to cover the annual property taxes and insurance costs. The clients can now enjoy staying in their home, retaining ownership and continuing to enjoy the increase in property value.

The Details

Value of Home

$850,000.00

Amount of Funds Released

$300,000.00 was accessed by using equity in the couple’s home. No payments are required provided the clients live in the home for six months of the year.

LTV

64%

Income Documentation

CPP & OAS statement

Deposit of CPP & OAS with current bank statement

Credit Scores

712 & 745

Total Debt Services Ratios

38%

Mortgage Solutions

$300,000.00 was accessed by utilizing the equity in the client’s home. No payments are required provided the clients live in the home for 6 months out of the year—making these retirees happy and able to enjoy their retirement!

If you find yourself in a similar situation to the above, we would encourage you to reach out to a broker and find out what options are available to you. As always, if you have any questions about any mortgage product, or a CHIP reverse mortgage, reach out to your Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Broker to learn more!

GEOFF LEE

Canadians Need Guidance With Their Mortgages

General Beata Wojtalik 24 Oct

Canadians Need Guidance With Their Mortgages

uninformed borrowers

 

That’s the takeaway from a national survey released this week by Rates.ca, which found half of Canadians aren’t aware of the mortgage options available to them.

Not only that, but Canadians are lacking in some other basic mortgage trivia, with an astounding 9 out of 10 respondents not knowing that mortgage interest is charged semi-annually:

  • 28% think interest is compounded monthly;
  • 17% think it’s bi-weekly;
  • 17% think it’s annually;
  • 28% just have no idea.

Should we be concerned?

confused mortgage consumerDustan Woodhouse, President of Mortgage Architects, and a former active broker who has written multiple educational mortgage books, thinks so.

“Sounds about right. We know about what we pay attention to, i.e., The Kardashians,” he wrote to CMT. “The material concern in this is how easy it makes it for the government to over-regulate the industry, with clients blaming the banksrather than the appropriate parties. This disconnect is deeply concerning.”

Perhaps even more concerning is the fact that only four out of 10 Canadians (39%) know they can avoid paying default insurance on their mortgage if they make a down payment of 20% or more.

With default insurance running anywhere from 45.85% of the mortgage value, we’re talking some serious dinero being spentpotentially unknowingly and unnecessarily.

So, what can be done? Woodhouse admits there are no simple answers, but says making mortgages more tangible to borrowers would be a good place to start.

“The root issue is making mortgages interesting and relevant to clients more often than when they need one,” he said. “It needs to be all about housing, not simply mortgages.”

Paul Taylor, President and CEO of Mortgage Professionals Canada, agrees.

“Unless you deal in mortgages, you only talk about them, generally, once every five years,” he said. “I’m sure at the time of signing, the borrowers understood what their payment obligations were and the schedule; after that, the rest of the information provided was likely filed under ‘nice to know but not relevant enough to me to retain.’”

Making the Case for Mortgage Brokers

With a growing trend towards “do-it-yourself” online mortgage shopping, we wondered if these survey results reinforce the need for mortgage brokers in guiding uninformed borrowers about their mortgage options.

mortgage broker helping clients“Big time…more than ever brokers are required,” Woodhouse said.

Taylor added that the stats “clearly demonstrate the need for professional and impartial advice at the time of purchase/renewal/refinance. And while some may suggest they are comfortable purchasing online without counsel, I think we can see that is inadvisable in almost all cases.”

Taylor pointed to the UK as an example. Following the crash of 2008, he noted the country adopted several policies by 2014, including disallowing borrowers to be able to self-declare income, and requiring mortgage consumers to be provided mandatory advice on mortgage products.

“The last point, I think, would likely begin to receive international discussion/attention if online sales begin to increase too quickly given the data this survey demonstrates,” Taylor said. “Given the size of these loans, the personal liability and the potential interest-cost difference for as little as a quarter-point in interest, I expect there may be some scrutiny on consumer outcomes for these self-serve options.”

Additional Survey Tidbits

The Rates.ca survey revealed some additional interesting findings about Canadians’ knowledge gap when it comes to financial products, including:

  • Nearly 7 out of 10 Canadians (68%) aren’t aware that interest on credit cards is calculated daily.
  • 30% admitted they are unlikely or somewhat unlikely to make the minimum monthly payments on their credit cards.
  • 40% of respondents admitted to not knowing their credit score.
  • 43% said they felt comfortable negotiating their mortgage over the internet.
  • And 94% believe schools should place greater emphasis on teaching financial literacy.