11 Jun



Posted by: Adriaan Driessen

Industry & Market Highlights 


Statistics released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show that national home sales increased in April with most markets recording increases in both transactions and prices.

The number of homes sold rose 3.6% compared with March, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The rebound in sales over the past two months still leaves activity slightly below readings posted over most of the second half of 2018, having dropped in February of this year to its lowest level since 2012.

April sales were up in about 60% of all local markets, with the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) accounting for over half of the national gain.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity was up 4.2% year-over-year (y-o-y) in April (albeit from a seven-year low for the month in 2018), the first y-o-y gain since December 2017 and the largest in more than two years. The increase reflects improvements in the GTA and Montreal that outweighed declines in the B.C. Lower Mainland.

“Sales activity is stabilizing among Canada’s five most active urban housing markets,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “That list no longer includes Greater Vancouver, which fell out of the top-five list for the first time since the recession and is well into buyers’ market territory. Sales there are still trending lower as buyers adjust to a cocktail of housing affordability challenges, reduced access to financing due to the mortgage stress-test and housing policy changes implemented by British Columbia’s provincial government,” said Klump.

New Listings

The number of newly listed homes rose 2.7% in April, adding to the 3.4% increase in March. New supply rose in about 60% of all local markets, led by the GTA and Ottawa.

With sales up by more than new listings in April, the national sales-to-new listings ratio tightened marginally to 54.8% from 54.3% in March. This measure of market balance has remained close to its long-term average of 53.5% since early 2018.

Based on a comparison of the sales-to-new listings ratio with the long-term average, about three-quarters of all local markets were in balanced market territory in April 2019.

There were 5.3 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of April 2019, down from 5.6 and 5.5 months in February and March respectively and in line with the long-term average for this measure.

Housing market balance varies significantly by region. The number of months of inventory has swollen far beyond long-term averages in Prairie provinces and Newfoundland & Labrador, giving homebuyers their ample choice. By contrast, the measure remains well below long-term averages in Ontario and Maritime provinces, resulting in increased competition among buyers for listings and fertile ground for price gains.

Home Prices

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) appears to be stabilizing, having edged lower by 0.3% y-o-y in April 2019. Among benchmark property categories tracked by the index, apartment units were again the only one to post a y-o-y price gain in April 2019 (0.5%), while two-storey there was little change in single-family home and townhouse/row unit prices from April 2018 (-0.3% and -0.2%, respectively). By comparison, one-storey single-family home prices were down by -1.4% y-o-y.

Trends continue to vary widely among the 18 housing markets tracked by the MLS® HPI. Results remain mixed in British Columbia, with prices down on a y-o-y basis in Greater Vancouver (GVA; -8.5%) and the Fraser Valley (-4.6%), up slightly in the Okanagan Valley (1%) and Victoria (0.7%), while climbing 6.2% elsewhere on Vancouver Island.

Among Greater Golden Horseshoe housing markets tracked by the index, MLS® HPI benchmark home prices were up from year-ago levels in the Niagara Region (6.2%), Guelph (5.1%), Hamilton-Burlington (4.6%) the GTA (3.2%) and Oakville-Milton (2.5%). By contrast, home prices in Barrie and District held below year-ago levels (-5.3%).

Across the Prairies, supply remains historically elevated relative to sales and home prices remain below year-ago levels. Benchmark prices were down by 4.6% in Calgary, 4% in Edmonton, 4.3% in Regina and 1.7% in Saskatoon. The home pricing environment will likely remain weak in these cities until demand and supply return to better balance.

Home prices rose 7.8% y-o-y in Ottawa (led by an 11% increase in townhouse/row unit prices), 6.3% in Greater Montreal (driven by a 7.8% increase in apartment unit prices), and 1.8% in Greater Moncton (led by an 11.5% increase in apartment unit prices).

Bottom Line:

The spring rebound in home sales is most evident in Toronto, where transactions climbed 11%, and prices rose 1.3%. Of 19 major markets tracked by the Ottawa-based real estate association, 16 recorded price gains last month.

One huge exception is Vancouver, which continues to soften. Benchmark home prices in that city were down 0.3% in April and have fallen 8.5% over the past 12 months. Even with the widespread rebound, national home sales are still below historical averages.

Economic fundamentals — from substantial employment gains to a sharp increase in immigration — remain supportive. Governor Poloz said earlier this week that he expects the housing markets to return to a more normal pace in the second half of this year. Benjamin Tal, the deputy chief economist at CIBC, reported yesterday that housing demand is stronger than suggested by official figures. Tal said incorrectly counting the number of students who live outside of their parents’ home for the majority of the year is problematic because it doesn’t provide a real sense of supply and demand in the country’s housing market.

Also supportive for housing is the dovish tilt globally from central banks that have helped bring down borrowing costs in recent months. Rates to renew a five-year mortgage aren’t much higher than they were when the mortgages were taken out, according to National Bank research. That means “no payment shock” for the 17.4% of mortgages renewing in 2019.  By Dr. Sherry Cooper.  Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres.

Dirty money in the real estate market  

Some startling numbers released last week show how deeply Vancouver real estate is influenced by money laundering.

A report prepared for the British Columbia government says about $7.4 billion was laundered through the province in 2018.  More than two-thirds of that money, about $5 billion, was used to buy real estate.

It is estimated that money laundering activity raised the benchmark price of a home in B.C. by an average of 5%.  Popular and high-priced markets like Victoria and Greater Vancouver likely felt even bigger impacts, but separate numbers were not provided.

The report by Maureen Maloney, a law professor who chairs B.C.’s expert panel on money laundering in real estate, says the problem is even worse in Alberta, Ontario and the Prairies.  It is estimated that more than $40 billion was laundered through Canada last year.

The B.C. government is taking aim at money laundering in real estate with the Land Owner Transparency Act.  The legislation would create a public real estate registry that would clearly show who owns what.  One estimate, from 2016, put one-third of the most expensive properties in the Vancouver region under the ownership of opaque entities such as numbered companies.

The Maloney report goes a step further though, recommending the province implement “unexplained wealth orders”.  These would force people to prove they made purchases with legitimate money or have their property seized.  The orders would not require criminal charges or even any evidence of criminal activity.  They have been roundly condemned by civil rights organizations.  By First National Financial.

BoC: Financial system is stable 

The Bank of Canada is maintaining its optimistic outlook for the country’s economy – but…

The central bank’s latest Financial System Review says two persistent problems remain and two others are on the rise.

High household debt and imbalances in the housing market continue to represent the greatest threats to the financial system, while the increasing chance of a recession and riskier corporate borrowing are adding to concerns.

The household debt-to-income level in Canada closed-out 2018 at nearly 180%.  That is $1.80 owing for every dollar of disposable income.  Canada’s corporate debt-to-income level now stands at 315%.  A growing amount of that borrowing is being done through the U.S. bond market and being paid in U.S. dollars.  Smaller firms and those with lower credit ratings are turning to the syndicated loan market, which could subject them to the changing whims of investors.

Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz is more confident about what is happening in housing.

“New measures have curbed borrowing, reduced speculative behaviour in housing markets and made the financial system more resilient,” he said in the report.

“While the fundamentals in the housing sector remain solid overall, and the sector should return to growth later this year, we continue to monitor these vulnerabilities closely.”  By First National Financial. 

Creeping rate cut speculation

In the run up to this week’s rate setting by the Bank of Canada, talk of a coming rate cut is creeping into the forecast.

A recent Reuters poll of 40 economists put the chances of a cut, within the next 12 months, at 40%.  However, the same poll but the chances of a cut, within this year, at about 20%.

Many of the economists cite global trade uncertainties – which are stalling economic growth in Canada and other countries – as the key trigger for a possible 25 basis-point reduction.  Most of the concern centres on the current China – U.S. tensions and the potential for a recession in the States rather than domestic, Canadian, factors.

Realistically, it is unlikely there will be any interest rate movement – down or up – in Canada before 2020.  The BoC is calling for moderate GDP growth through the second half of this year.  As well, the politics surrounding the October federal election will keep the bank on the sidelines.

In a separate Reuters poll, property market gurus predict home prices will remain in the doldrums for the rest of 2019.  They are forecasting a little breeze next year that will push prices up by about 1.7%, which will barely meet the rate of inflation.  The Canadian Real Estate Association is forecasting a 1.6% decline in sales for this year, with a 2.0% increase in 2020.

The market-watchers polled by Reuters point to debt-burdened consumers as the key reason for the slowdown.  By First National Financial. 

Toronto is steadily becoming a sellers’ market – TREB analysis

Toronto is in a gradual trajectory towards being a sellers’ market, with home sales last month shooting up and supply remaining virtually static.

According to latest figures from the Toronto Real Estate Board, the city saw 9,989 home sales through the Board’s MLS System in May. This represented an 18.9% increase from the 15-year low for the month, which was seen last year.

TREB president Garry Bhaura emphasized, however, that last month’s numbers are still markedly below the long-term May average of 10,300, despite the tangible improvements from the glacial pace at the beginning of 2019.

“Sales activity continues to be below the longer-term norm, as potential home buyers come to terms with the OSFI mortgage stress test and the fact that listings continue to be constrained relative to sales,” Bhaura explained.

On the whole, the market is still seeing a positive trend, the Board head assured.

“After a sluggish start to 2019, the second quarter appears to be reflecting a positive shift in consumer sentiment toward ownership housing. Households continue to see ownership housing in the GTA as a quality long-term investment as population growth from immigration remains strong and the regional economy continues to create jobs across diversity of sectors.”

In comparison, listings ticked up by a mere 0.8%, ending up at 19,386 properties for sale. Intensified market competition pushed sales prices up by 3.6% annually, up to an average of $838,540. Said increases in value considerably outpaced the year-over-year gains seen in April (1.9%) and March (0.5%).

TREB warned that while the market can absorb single-digit annual price increases, continued scarcity in housing supply could aggravate price growth to unsustainable levels.

“This potential outcome underpins calls from TREB and other housing industry stakeholders to address roadblocks preventing a more sustainable and diverse supply of housing reaching the market,” the Board’s chief market analyst Jason Mercer stated.

“Many households are not comfortable listing their homes for sale because they feel that there are no housing options available to better meet their needs.”  By Ephraim Vecina.

Economic Highlights

Another Strong Employment Report Signals Rebound In Canadian Economy  

It appears that the Bank of Canada’s optimism that the Canadian economy’s growth will pick up in the third and fourth quarters of this year is well founded. Not only was the employment report very robust for two consecutive months, but the jobless rate has fallen to its lowest level since at least 1976.

Also, Canada’s trade deficit, reported today, hit a six-month low in April, as exports continue to rebound from a recent slump. Consumer spending and business investment are also making a big comeback. Household spending has accelerated, despite concerns over bloated debt loads, assisted by easing rates on loans, substantial jobs gains, stabilizing housing markets and improving financial markets.

The Bank of Canada forecasts that growth will accelerate to an annualized 1.3% in the second quarter–following the meagre 0.4% expansion in Q1–and pick up further in the second half of this year, before accelerating back to above 2% growth by 2020. This comeback begs the question–why were markets expecting a rate cut by the bank in December? That expectation may well change after this morning’s Statistics Canada releases. Of course, one caveat remains, which is the uncertainty surrounding a trade war with China and Mexico. If the trade situation were to worsen, Canada’s economy would undoubtedly be sideswiped.

Canadian employment rose by 27,700 in May, bring the number of jobs created over the past year to a whopping 453,100. The jobless rate plunged to 5.4%, from 5.7% in April, the lowest in data going back to 1976. Economists had been forecasting employment to rise by only 5,000 last month after Canada recorded a record gain of 106,500 in April. The loonie jumped on the news.

The composition of the job gain was particularly heartening, as the rise was all in full-time employment. On the other hand, jobs by those who are self-employed increased by 61,500–the gig economy is alive and well.

The most substantial job gains were in Ontario and BC.

Wage growth continued to be strong in May as pay gains for permanent workers sere steady at 2.6%.

In direct contrast, the US jobs report, also released today, was weaker than expected. US payrolls and wage gains cooled as Trump’s trade war weighed on the economy. US employers added the fewest workers in three months, and wage gains eased, suggesting broader economic weakness and boosting expectations for a Federal Reserve interest-rate cut as President Donald Trump’s trade policies weigh on growth.  

Mortgage Interest Rates

Prime lending rate is 3.95%.  Bank of Canada Benchmark Qualifying rate for mortgage approval remains at 5.34%.  Fixed rates have dropped between 10-15 basis points in the last two weeks.  Deep discounts are offered by some lenders for variable rates making adjustable variable rate mortgages somewhat attractive, but still not a significant enough spread between the fixed and variable to justify the risk for most.

Other Industry News & Insights

Roundup of the latest mortgage and housing news.

From Mortgage Professionals Canada.

There is never a better time than now for a free mortgage check-up.  It makes sense to revisit your mortgage and ensure it still meets your needs and performs optimally.  Perhaps you’ve been thinking about refinancing to consolidate debt, purchasing a rental or vacation property, or simply want to know you have the best deal?  Whatever your needs, we can evaluate your situation and help you determine what’s the right and best mortgage for you.

12 Dec



Posted by: Adriaan Driessen

Industry & Market Highlights 

Bank of Canada key interest rate announcement

The Bank of Canada left its key interest rate unchanged, as expected, at 1.75 per cent.

This announcement came in the wake of a move by the Alberta government to curtail oil production in the province after Jan. 1 to try to clear a crude storage glut that has driven western Canadian oil prices to multi-year lows.

Meanwhile, the recently announced plan to close the General Motors of Canada car plant in Oshawa similarly offers a downside risk to future growth.

Bank economists say an unexpected dip in monthly gross domestic product figures in September and lower-than-expected oil prices so far in the fourth quarter have dampened growth expectations and placed in doubt forecasts for a January bank rate increase.

Lower growth prospects are expected to reinforce Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s strategy of moving very gradually on increases to its overnight rate.

Economists say they will be closely watching Poloz’s speech on Thursday for signs of how events are affecting his view of the path forward.  By The Canadian Press.


LSTAR’s News Release for November 2018 – Strong Home Sales Continue in November 

London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) announced 746 homes* were sold in November, up 6.7% over November 2017. The number of home resales was the second highest total ever for November since LSTAR began tracking data in 1978. November 2016 holds the record with 749 home resales, only three more than November 2018.

“In November, we saw more positive signs with new listings in the marketplace, which contributed to the robust sales activity,” said Jeff Nethercott, 2018 LSTAR President. “November had 898 new listings, an increase of 17.5% over the same month last year. The area of London East continues to be making healthy gains in both new listings and average sales price. It had 192 new listings, up 24.7 % from November 2017, where the average sales price was $302,737, up 18.7% from 2017 and up 58.9% compared to five years ago. Going back further, that’s up 75.0% compared to 10 years ago.”

Average sales price also made steady gains in the major geographic areas in London. In London North, the average sales price was $482,202, up 24.4% from last November and up 62.4% compared to the same month five years ago. It’s an increase of 98.7% compared to the average sales price in 2008.

“Similar to October, we saw inventory (what is called active listings) making slight gains, despite the overall record low inventory that dominated our marketplace this year,” Nethercott said. “Last month, LSTAR’s jurisdiction had 1,391 active listings, up 7.6% from November 2017. The sales-to-new listings ratio was 83.1%, which the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) says represents conditions in the marketplace that favour sellers (a ratio between 40% and 60% is generally consistent with a balanced market). Looking at the major centres, St. Thomas had the highest sales-to-new listings ratio at 97.0%.”

A total of 65 homes were sold in November, up 10.2% from November 2017. The average home sales price in St. Thomas was $304,618 up 13.1% from a year ago and up 43.5% compared to five years ago. It’s also up 78.6% from 10 years ago.

The following chart is based on data taken from the CREA National MLS® Report for October 2018 (the latest CREA statistics available). It provides a snapshot of how average home prices in London and St. Thomas compare to other major Ontario and Canadian centres.

According to a research report1, one job is created for every three real estate transactions and approximately $53,000 in ancillary spending is generated each time a home changes hands in Ontario. “It’s turning out to be another exceptional year for real estate across London and St. Thomas,” Nethercott said. “The business of real estate touches every layer of our regional economy, with November resale activity generating potentially more than $39 million and helping create approximately 248 jobs. The impact to economic growth is priceless.”

The London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) exists to provide its REALTOR® Members with the support and tools they need to succeed in their profession. LSTAR is one of Canada’s 15 largest real estate associations, representing over 1,700 REALTORS® working in Middlesex and Elgin Counties, a trading area of 500,000 residents. LSTAR adheres to a Quality of Life philosophy, supporting growth that fosters economic vitality, provides housing opportunities, respects the environment and builds good communities and safe neighbourhoods and is a proud participant in the REALTORS Care Foundation’s Every REALTOR™ Campaign.

*These statistics are prepared for LSTAR by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and represent a data snapshot taken on December 1, 2018, based on processed home sales activity between November 1 and 30, 2018.

Predictions on a Cooling Down of the Real Estate Market 

For the first time since 2007 we are seeing an inverted Bond Yield Curve, and indicator that a potential bear market is ahead for stock markets and a cooling of other related markets.  Join Mike Maloney as he reveals an important factor of the partial Yield Curve inversion that is being ignored by mainstream news and media. Then stick around to the end of the video to see yet another indicator that is suggesting a huge change in markets could be upon us.  You can watch a full presentation by Mike Maloney HERE.

CMHC Announced that the cooling down of the Real Estate Market is finally here and predict that we will see house prices and mortgage rates moderate throughout 2019 into 2020.  Many economists have been claiming the prime rate increases (currently at 3.95%) are only cooling down the remainder of an extremely hot real estate housing market. Hopefully in London the pressure of having multiple offers are soon behind us.  Read more on CMHC Announcement HERE.

CIBC economist Benjamin Tal explains we are nearing comparable times to what the markets were like from 2007 to 2008 with the inverted bond. What does inverted bonds mean? This is where the 10 year fixed is almost side by side to the 5 year fixed. For example, today a 5 year conventional fixed rate is close to 3.94% and some banks have a 10 year special at 4.19% much like the fixed rates in 2007 where the 5 year was 5.65% and the 10 year fixed 5.75%. If you recall, in 2008 we saw the lower term products, 3-5 year fixed, quickly decrease.

In summary, CMHC and the economists say that everything is stabilizing and much like the past, we could even see some decreases on low term rates and also decreases to the prime rate and variable rate/Line of credit products.

Read Benjamin Tal’s market forecast HERE.

Economic Highlights

Canada’s Employment Numbers

Canada’s November employment numbers were stunning.  Economists had projected about 10,000 new jobs.  The economy created an amazing 94,000 jobs for the month, most of them full time.  The unemployment rate dropped to 5.6%, down 2 basis points from October and down 3 bps from a year ago.

Numbers like that usually set the stage for a lot of speculation about more interest rate hikes by the Bank of Canada, but not this time.

Two key details suggest the economy is not as robust as the headline employment number might suggest.

1Youth participation in the work force is down

2Wage growth continues to slow

For October and November the number of young people, aged 15 to 24, who wanted to work and who were employed sat at 62.5%.  That is the lowest level since 1998.  It is an indication that employers are not having any trouble finding the older, experienced help they want, suggesting there is still slack in the economy and labour pool.

Hourly wage growth, which is a key driver of inflation – which is, in turn, a key trigger for interest rate increases – came in at just 1.7% in November, compared to a year ago; the 6th straight monthly decline for wage growth.  It indicates the labour market is weaker than it appears and employers are not being compelled to raise wages to attract workers.

Then there is what the Bank of Canada, itself, is saying.  While the language used by central bankers can be downright cryptic, once you decipher what is in the economic statement that came with the latest interest rate decision it sounds a lot like “we’re just going to keep an eye on this for the time being.”  By First National Financial.

Bank of Canada’s Dovish Tone  

As was universally expected, the Bank of Canada’s Governing Council held overnight interest rates steady at 1-3/4% as it heralded a weaker outlook for the Canadian economy. The dovish tone in today’s Bank of Canada statement is in direct contrast to its attitude when it last met on October 24. Since that time, the global economy has moderated, and oil prices have fallen sharply. Troubling prospects for Alberta’s energy sector have weighed on the economy as the U.S. has expanded shale oil production. Benchmark prices for “western Canadian oil–both heavy and, more recently, light–have been pulled down even further by transportation constraints and a buildup of inventories”. The Notley government in Alberta ordered production cuts this week leading the Bank to conclude that Canada’s energy sector will be “materially weaker” than expected.

The Canadian economy grew at a 2% annual rate in the third quarter, mainly in line with the Bank’s expectation, however, September data suggest significantly less momentum going into Q4. The biggest disappointment was the plunge in business investment, which likely reflected trade uncertainty (see chart below). Business investment outside of the oil sector is likely to improve with the signing of the new trade agreement USMCA, the new federal tax measures to improve capital depreciation write-offs, and ongoing capacity constraints.

Household credit appears to be stabilizing following a significant slowdown in recent months. However, the rise in interest rates this year has had a more substantial impact on credit-sensitive spending than many had expected. For example, plunging car sales add to evidence that higher borrowing costs are dampening economic activity possibly to a more significant extent than the central bank expected. Light vehicle sales dropped 9.4% in November, the most since 2009. As well, Bank of Canada data show growth in residential mortgages decelerated to 1.4% in September on an annualized three-month basis, the weakest pace since 1982.

The Bank has raised borrowing costs five times since July 2017. New home building declined for the third consecutive quarter, down an annualized 5.9% in Q3. Moreover, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), Toronto’s housing market posted its biggest monthly sales decline since March while prices remained little changed. Sales in Canada’s largest city fell 3.4% in November from the previous month TREB reported today (see chart below).

The housing market in the Toronto region has been stabilizing after a slowdown in sales and prices earlier this year amid more stringent mortgage-lending rules. The market picked up its pace through the summer, though sales have declined for the third month in a row.

The drop in sales could in part be attributed to a decline in new listings, which fell 26% year-over-year. “New listings were actually down more than sales on a year-over-year basis in November,” Garry Bhaura, the president of the board, said in a statement. “This suggests that, in many neighbourhoods, competition between buyers may have increased. Relatively tight market conditions over the past few months have provided the foundation for renewed price growth.”

Here is a sampling of other factors that highlight some of the headwinds confronting the Canadian economy:

Economic data have been coming in below expectations according to Citibank’s Surprise Index, which tracks the difference between market expectations for economic indicators and their actual values. This index has trended downward since last summer and has been below zero since mid-October–around the time of the Bank of Canada’s last Monetary Policy Report (MPR) and the most recent rate hike.

The Macdonald Laurier Institute’s Leading Indicator fell 0.1% in October. The composite gauge’s first decline since January 2016 was primarily driven by a pullback in S&P/TSX Composite Index, which fell 6.5% on the month, as well as marked decreases in commodity prices.

As well, inflation pressures have diminished. For example, gasoline prices have tumbled by about 25 Canadian cents back toward a dollar a litre since October. The latest policy statement says, “CPI inflation, at 2.4% in October, is just above target but is expected to ease in coming months by more than the Bank had previously forecast, due to lower gasoline prices. Downward historical revisions by Statistics Canada to GDP, together with recent macroeconomic developments, indicate there may be additional room for non-inflationary growth. The Bank will reassess all of these factors in its new projection for the January MPR.”

Bottom Line: “Governing Council continues to judge that the policy interest rate will need to rise into a neutral range to achieve the inflation target,” the bank said in the statement, adding the appropriate pace of increases will depend on the “effect of higher interest rates on consumption and housing, and global trade policy developments.”

“The persistence of the oil price shock, the evolution of business investment, and the Bank’s assessment of the economy’s capacity will also factor importantly into our decisions about the future stance of monetary policy,” the bank said.

As recently as October, investors were expecting at least three more rate hikes in 2019. Currently, those expectations have lessened to no more than two. The Bank had previously estimated the “neutral” range for overnight rates at between 2.5% and 3.5%. Today’s more dovish statement might well indicate that rate hikes over the next year will be to levels well below this neutral range.  By Dr. Sherry Cooper.  Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres.

Mortgage Interest Rates

Prime lending rate is 3.95%.  Bank of Canada Benchmark Qualifying rate for mortgage approval remains at 5.34%.  Fixed rates are on hold.  Deep discounts are offered by some lenders for variable rates making adjustable variable rate mortgages very attractive.

This edition of the Weekly Rate Minder shows the latest rates available for Canadian mortgages. At Dominion Lending Centres, we work on your behalf to find the best possible mortgage to suit your needs.

Explore mortgage scenarios using helpful calculators on my website: http://www.iMortgageBroker.ca

Other Industry News & Insights

Roundup of the latest mortgage and housing news.

From Mortgage Professionals Canada.

Canada’s new construction housing market could be hit a wall, thanks to higher interest rates: TD (Livabl)

The Ford government wants to develop the Ontario Greenbelt. Here’s why one expert thinks that’s a bad idea (Livabl)

Consumer Insolvency Filings Spike In Canada, And It’s Likely Just The Beginning (Huffington Post)

Here’s how the final quarter of 2018 is shaping up for the Canadian housing market (Livabl)

Will changes to rent control mean more Toronto rental buildings? This expert says probably not (Livabl)

Not too hot, not too cold: Vancouver’s new home market to remain stable in 2019 (Livabl)

A ‘grey tsunami’ and the precariousness of aging for Vancouver renters (Vancouver Sun)

These Canadian Housing Markets Took A Beating In 2018. What Does 2019 Have In Store? (Huffington Post)

Once on top, the Canadian housing market has fallen to the bottom of this global price ranking (Livabl)

New data shows how active foreign-homebuyers are in Metro Vancouver after big policy changes (Livabl)

How migration impacts Vancouver’s housing prices (Vancouver Sun)

The next Canadian interest rate hike may have just been pushed back all the way to next spring (Livabl)

Bank of Canada holds key interest rate steady at 1.75% (CBC)

Investors have little to fear of a housing meltdown (Canadian Real Estate Wealth)

Here’s how Canadian household debt levels could affect the housing market in 2019 (Livabl)

Vancouver real estate: sales and prices down to more ‘historical’ levels, says board (Vancouver Sun)

Toronto home prices stable in November amid sharp drop in listings (BNN Bloomberg)

There is never a better time than now for a free mortgage check-up.  It makes sense to revisit your mortgage and ensure it still meets your needs and performs optimally.  Perhaps you’ve been thinking about refinancing to consolidate debt, purchasing a rental or vacation property, or simply want to know you have the best deal?  Whatever your needs, we can evaluate your situation and help you determine what’s the right and best mortgage for you.

Adriaan Driessen
Mortgage Broker
Dominion Lending Forest City Funding 10671
Cell:     519.777.9374
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3

Lori Richards Kovac
Mortgage Agent & Administrator
Dominion Lending Forest City Funding 10671
Cell:     519.852.7116
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3

Adriaan Driessen
Sales Representative & Senior Partner
PC275 Realty Brokerage
Cell:     519.777.9374
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3

24 Jul

FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS –  Mortgage Financing Qualifying Frustrations and Solutions for Home Ownership


Posted by: Adriaan Driessen

FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS –  Mortgage Financing Qualifying Frustrations and Solutions for Home Ownership. 
Are you a first time home buyer or repeat buyer feeling frustrated in your price point qualification due to the new mortgage lending guidelines that created an affordability issue for most borrowers?
The general consensus in the industry is that first time home buyers are getting very discouraged due to the tight lending rules and the increasing affordability gap together with rapidly increasing home prices in peripheral markets outside the GTA that are experiencing increased demand, short supply, sellers markets and rapidly increase home values.
There will also be a cost of living, but the benefit of ownership and building your equity for long time financial success and net worth growth, far outweighs continued renting pared with saving instead.   The sooner you get your foot in the door in the real estate market, the sooner you’ll start realizing that benefit – even if it means purchasing a smaller home, a condo instead of the freehold property, or a property in another more affordable market that may require commuting.
A recent article by Neil Sharma indicates that According to a report by Altus Group, the preponderant reason for the languid housing market this year has been the absence of first-time buyers—but they’ll be back soon and the market will resultantly recover. “With all the policy changes we’ve had and additional stress testing, they have knocked many first-time buyers out of the market for a while, but part of what they’re doing is saving money. They’ll be back,” said Patricia Arsenault, vice president of research and consulting services at Altus Group. “Particularly among younger renters; they’re inclined to buy homes. Because of their ability at the moment, they’re saving longer and tapping resources from parents to help them out, but they’ll be back in the short-term. There’s nothing out there that says they don’t want to own homes anymore.”  
Arsenault added that, by autumn, housing sales will markedly improve. “People are saving for down payments,” she said. “Savings rates are up in Canada and that money is being used for better down payments.” The Altus Group Housing Report furthermore elucidates how instrumental first-time homebuyers are to the health of the Canadian real estate market. They account for somewhere around half of all housing sales, but, unlike years past, they have been forced to the sidelines in 2018. Given the housing market’s interconnectedness, fewer first-time buyers occlude other buyers from moving up the housing ladder. “The important role that first-time buyers play is that if I’m a repeat buyer trying to move up to something more expensive, I need somebody to buy my house,” said Arsenault. “If first-time buyers aren’t there, there’s nobody to buy my house, so they make the world go around, if you want to put it that way.”
The good news is that there are solutions if your current pre-qualification falls short of your needs and goals.
Connect with an experience mortgage broker to review these options with you:
1. Gifted funds for 20% Down Conventional Mortgage.
There are select A lenders that will still qualify borrowers under traditional non B20 guidelines, which will place you at a higher price point for qualifying.  Contact an experience mortgage broker for access to those lenders.
2. Strong co-signer.  
With a strong Co-Signer to help you qualify for the mortgage financing you could qualify at a much higher price point.  This option will be a 4-5 year plan during which you’ll fully a program created by your broker to help you qualify by yourself at renewal.  At maturity we will refinance and remove the co-singer/s off mortgage and title and original the best mortgage in your name only.  Title will at closing be registered tenancy in common at 99% in your name and 1% for the co-signer to minimize future tax implication and maximize land transfer tax rebate benefits for first time buyers. 
3.  Alternative Lender Combination Mortgage Up To 95% LTV.
With alternative lenders the interest rate and cost of ownership will be higher.  This will be a combination 1st mortgage up to 80% loan to value, and 2nd mortgage up to 95% if you qualify.  With this mortgage solution you will follow a guideline and goal to qualify you for an A lender lower rate mortgage once you have grown your equity position qualify to refinance at 80% loan to value with and A lender mortgage.  It will take estimated 3-5 years depending on your property and original LTV. 
4.  Rent to Own.
Another options that you may consider is Rent to Own.  This could allow you to get into your desired home now instead of waiting years.  During the term you will build equity in your home while making monthly rent payments, and at the same time you will follow the rent to own program guideline in order to qualify for the mortgage once the rent to own term is complete and you can exercise your option to purchase from the investor and take ownership and title of your home.  Consult with your mortgage broker to see if you would qualify for a Rent to Own Program and time find out more about it.
5.  Vendor Take Back Mortgage.
A vendor take back mortgage as part of the agreement of purchase and sale could allow you to purchase with as little down as the buyer and seller agrees to, with interest rate and terms as negotiated with the vendor.  Depending your your original down payment amount and mortgage loan to value, this option will be a 3-5 year plan during which you’ll follow your mortgage brokers guideline to help you qualify for an institutional mortgage at maturity to pay out the sellers mortgage.  
6.  Joint Venture / Co-Ownership.
Purhcase with another like minded person that you trust, and that shares in your goals.  Consult with your broker for the important ins and outs and need to know details about such a venture and qualification options under this program.  You will also get independent legal advise and create a joint venture / co-ownership agreement prior to entering into this type of ownership.
7. Prepare to Qualify for an A Mortgage 2 year Plan.
If not of the above options suit your preference nor works out for your needs, then follow the custom home ownership plan your mortgage broker creates for you to help you get to the place where you qualifying for your desired home.  This normally includes plans to help you increase your income, fully establish your credit and save up for the future home purchase down payment and closing cost.  The timeline will depend on your personal circumstances and needs.
Contact us today if you have any questions or need assistance. 
We are always at your service and ready to assist you with your mortgage financing needs!
Adriaan Driessen
Mortgage Broker 
Dominion Lending Forest City Funding 10671
Cell:     519.777.9374
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3
Lori Richards Kovac
Mortgage Agent & Administrator
Dominion Lending Forest City Funding 10671
Cell:     519.852.7116
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3
Adriaan Driessen
Sales Representative & Senior Partner
PC275 Realty Brokerage
Cell:     519.777.9374
Fax:      519.518.1081
415 Wharncliffe Road South
London, ON, N6J 2M3
5 Feb

2018 – Mortgage Rule Changes

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Adriaan Driessen

With a new year comes a new mortgage landscape, and the rules have changed! Come Jan 1, 2018, new mortgage rules came into effect that may have a direct impact on what you can do when it comes to your mortgage. These new rules will affect everyone who is thinking about applying for a mortgage, refinancing, or in some cases renewing a mortgage. So let’s break it down!

Mortgage Applications – New rules by Canada’s federal financial regulator mean that mortgage applicants with a down payment of 20 percent or more will now face the same stress test previously introduced in January of 2017 for applicants with a lesser down payment. This means that that the financial institutions must vet all mortgage applications using a minimum qualifying rate that is equal or greater than the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate, which is currently 5.14 percent, for high ratio insured mortgage, and for conventional mortgage the committed rate plus an additional 2 percentage points. So what does this translate to? This new rule will essentially make it harder to afford the home of your choice, and those who are in the market for a new home may need to settle for less even if they pass the stress test. But how much less? For those looking to stretch their budgets thin, this could mean a price reduction of as much as 20 percent.

Mortgage Renewal – Lenders are not required to apply the same stress test to clients who are looking to renew an existing mortgage, but may do so if they wish. So what if you fail the stress test when renewing your mortgage? Failing the stress test when renewing a mortgage not only exposes you to a higher interest rate, but essentially reduces the amount of options a client has when renewing a mortgage. In this case, the client may be bound to their current mortgage lender at a less than favourable rate, without the ability to shop around.

Mortgage Refinancing – If you are planning on refinancing, you will also need to qualify under the new mortgage stress test rather than your existing contractual mortgage rate. Take the following situation as an example of how the new 2018 mortgage rules affect rates vs those of 2017. When applying for a refinance in 2017 mortgage lenders would only be required vet the refinance value against the current offered mortgage rate. In 2018 however, lenders would be required to take the offered rate, add 200 basis points, or an additional 2%, and vet the refinance value against the sum. Depending on how close one is to their borrowing limit, this could substantially affect the amount of the refinanced loan.

Who’s not affected? – As with all new financial rules, there is generally a transition period to ensure transactions that are currently under way are not affected. If you’ve signed a purchase agreement on a new home before Jan 1, 2018, you are in luck. These new rules won’t affect you as lenders are not required to apply the stress test even if you apply for the mortgage in 2018. If you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage, some lender will allow you to complete the transaction under the old rules as long as there is no change to your financial status, and no increase in the pre-approved loan amount. For a refinance, as long as it was approved prior to the rule changes, and closes within 120 days it will complete under the old rules.  And it goes without saying that if you pass the stress test, then you have nothing to worry about.

Looking to apply for a new mortgage, or make changes to your existing mortgage but are unsure how these new rules affect you? Give us a call at (519) 777-9374 and the team at iMortgageBroker Inc. can guide you through what your mortgage options are.

19 Dec

Mortgage London Ontario – Broker VS Bank: What Should You Do?

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Adriaan Driessen

We all know life can get very busy, and having to deal with additional situations – such as a mortgage – can be very time consuming, stressful and sometimes cumbersome.

Working with the right Mortgage Professional is a significant factor in the outcome of your experience.

Firstly, you need to ensure that you are working with a Professional that is licensed, experienced and has an excellent track record if you want to have a smooth process. Working with someone who checks these off can reduce your time requirements significantly, remove the stress and simplify the process for you.

As a qualified broker for your mortgage in London, Ontario, allow iMortgageBroker to get you the results you need. We can achieve this by shopping your mortgage needs around on your behalf to get the best deals and lowest rates for your specific needs and circumstances. We get the lenders to compete for your business!

At iMortgageBroker Inc., which is a member of Dominion Lending Centres, we pride ourselves on providing excellent service and unbeatable results for our customers and clients.  Every person is valued and treated like a VIP – the way you deserved to be treated and cared for, no matter what.

We consider it a pleasure and a privilege to assist you with your real estate mortgage financing needs and to provide you with exceptional service, experienced counsel, the best available financing options, and lowest rates for your mortgage needs.

A Mortgage Broker does all the legwork for you to shop your needs around to all the lenders. This includes dealing with banks, trust companies, credit unions, mortgage corporations and insurance companies to get them to compete for your business. We also educate our clients and will provide you with all the knowledge and information you need so that you can make the best decision that’s going bring the most financial benefit.  Most of all, our expert service to you is FREE!   A fee may only be discussed and charged for commercial deals and alternative lending solutions for credit and income challenged borrowers.

Are you curious to know why working with a London mortgage broker protects your best interests and is of such great benefit to you for your mortgage needs compared to going to your bank?  We put together a Broker vs. Bank below explanation that will answer most of your questions.

Working with a Bank

A bank agent or bank mortgage specialist is a representative of that specific bank.  This person has knowledge of that bank’s specific suite of mortgage products, and can only offer one of their own mortgage products to you.

The purpose of the bank as a publicly traded company is to create as much profit for its investors and to generate as much money off consumers and borrowers.  How this is done and affects you, you’re probably well aware of, and that’s another discussion of its own.

Banks offer bank posted rates and are only willing to give discounts, called discretionary pricing, to clients on discretion to compete and retain business. The bank representative is motivated by funding ratios, as this is what is required for performance and promotions, and sometimes commissions.  Mortgage specialists and bank agents have limited education and training as they operate and function under The Bank Act.

All of these factors limit the borrower’s options, lending solutions, and results, and it may not be to your best interest.

Working with a Mortgage Broker

A mortgage broker works for the client and not for the bank. Brokers have a fiduciary responsibility to care for and look out for the best interest of the borrower. Perhaps the biggest gain with working with a broker is that their service is free of charge, meaning no fee and no cost to the consumer.

Additionally, a mortgage broker has in depth knowledge of their local markets and all the products that different lenders are offering, including banks, trust companies, credit unions, mortgage corporations and insurance companies.

A broker finds the right mortgage product that is best suited for the client’s needs with the best terms, conditions and lowest rates. The purpose of a mortgage broker is to negotiate on the client’s behalf to ensure the best interest of the client is cared for and that they get only the very best mortgage in London, Ontario, for their unique situation.

Furthermore, a broker is client-performance and result-driven, meaning we are highly motivated to perform exceptionally well you. We only get paid by the lender through referral fees and commission-based income after a mortgage funds on closing day.

Most importantly, the successful career of a super mortgage broker in London is very much dependent on positive client reports and reviews, which only happens when a client is happy with the service they received and achieved outstanding results.

If after meeting with your broker you decide that you still prefer to have your bank fund your mortgage, your broker can still do all the legwork for you and have your mortgage funded through your bank. This will originate your bank’s best financing for you upfront.

However, don’t be surprised if you find that your mortgage broker’s discounted rates at your bank are even lower than the best your bank offered you.

If you have any questions regarding a mortgage or which product may be right for you, reach out to us today! We would be more than happy to answer your questions.

We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you!

15 Nov

How a London Mortgage Broker Can Help You

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Adriaan Driessen

You’ve found the home of your dreams and you want to buy it. Firstly, congratulations! Secondly, you now need a mortgage in order to act on it.

When it comes to something as big as a mortgage, it’s incredibly important that you work with a professional who can guide you through the process and ensure everything is done the proper way. As a leading London mortgage broker, it is my duty to look after you and ensure you are successful in your mortgage journey.

But how exactly does a mortgage professional work, and how can one help you? I’m glad you asked!

As a qualified professional in London, I am a licensed broker who meets with my clients to learn their personal needs and situation. Once I do that, I compare mortgages and rates from a number of lenders with whom I work with on a daily basis to find the best one that suits you.

Perhaps the biggest difference between a big bank and a Dominion Lending broker in London is that I am not tied to any single bank, meaning I am also not tied to a specific rate or mortgage product. Instead, I have access to several mortgage options and rates where I am able to negotiate to get the most ideal fit for clients. Once I have your application and know your needs, I take your mortgage to the lenders and search for the lowest rates, terms and conditions and come back to you with several options to choose from.

Additionally, a good mortgage broker will be sure to explain the entire process to you, what the terms mean, what you can expect, and will take initiative when it comes to the progress on your mortgage. They can also keep you updated with mortgage rate trends and any potential changes that could be coming.

I believe that no client should be left wondering what the status of their mortgage is, and I make it a priority of mine to keep you as informed as possible on where things are at.

Perhaps the best thing about working with a broker (aside from the personal relationship you can develop) is that they are generally free! Brokers aren’t paid by the clients – we are paid by the lenders once your mortgage is approved.

When looking for a broker, it’s important to speak with the person and get a feel for them to ensure they are someone you can work with and trust. The entire mortgage process can be complex, but a broker can make the journey a hassle-free experience.

If you’d like to learn more about how a London mortgage broker like me can help you find your ideal mortgage, get in touch with me today! I would be happy to speak with you!