Mortgages.ca

blog, Mortgage News

Getting a Mortgage During a Pandemic

Home buyers getting into the market and home owners looking to refinance wonder whether a new mortgage is possible right now.

It is, but with some caveats.

A recent first-time home buyer decided honesty was the best policy when he lost his job during the current COVID-19 crisis.

With just two weeks before the deal closed on his new home, he told his bank what happened. His parents co-signed on the mortgage and the deal moved forward, but the home buyer could have landed in serious financial trouble without that safety net.

He was at risk of losing his deposit and being sued by the sellers for money they would have lost had the deal fallen through.

Can I get a mortgage right now?

All this to say Canada’s large banks are still financing home purchases, even with an economy that’s all but halted. But they are being more conservative with their lending, says James Harrison, president and mortgage broker with mortgages.ca.

For starters, they’re no longer making exceptions on debt-service ratios and they’re eliminating discounts on prime and variable mortgages. Self-employed applicants will also have a harder time getting a mortgage with banks more thoroughly scrutinizing the industries in which they work.

Updated letters of employment are now essential for approval. Banks have started asking mortgage applicants for pay stubs up to two weeks before deals close, too, and they’re calling employers to confirm clients still have a job.

“Get your files in order,” Harrison advises. “Get your conditions met as soon as possible so there are no problems later and deals can close.”

Be prepared to wait.

Still, it will take longer for deals to be funded because banks are swamped right now. Mortgage applications were up 400 per cent when the pandemic started taking its toll economically, Harrison says.

Home buyers were taking advantage of low fixed rates at the time. Homeowners looking to refinance also jumped at lower interest offered after the Bank of Canada dropped rates.

Approval on financing can now take up to 10 days with clients waiting up to four weeks to get that cash in hand.

The key is to work with an experienced mortgage broker who can help navigate financing during these unprecedented times and get the best rates for homebuyers and homeowners in the process.

“It’s not the time to drag your feet and rate shop,” Harrison says. “Have the conversation with an experienced mortgage broker, know what’s out there and get your approval in place. Don’t be left in the dark because everything is changing so fast.”

 

Home Ownership, Mortgage News

Changes to the Stress Test – What it means for buyers

 

 

 

The government has come out with another mortgage rule change. This time the rule change may actually increase affordability for people looking to purchase a property with less than 20% down. Now before you start jumping for joy let’s take a look at the numbers and how they will work out for increasing your affordability.

Currently, and until April 6th, the rule as it stands right now would require any buyer, whether insured or conventional, to use the bench mark qualifying rate of 5.19% or their actual rate plus 2%, whichever is higher.


The new rule, as of April 6th 2020, will allow “insured” buyers to use their 5yr fixed rate plus 2% and that number can be lower than the bench mark rate.


Using RBC as our industry benchmark, who’s current rate is 3.09%, if an insured buyer were to purchase something, they would qualify at 5.09% (3.09 plus 2%), instead of the current benchmark rate of 5.19%.

As you can see this difference here is 0.10% and will have a little impact on affordability.

Here is a real life example:

Jane Doe makes 100k/yr and wants to buy a condo in Toronto that has monthly condo fees of $400/month and property taxes of $200/month.

If Jane Doe puts 10% down, here is how the old versus new rules would look for her

(For our example, assume Jane has great credit and Zero Liabilities)

Old/Current rule = qualifying at 5.19%.

-Maximum purchase purchase Price = 500k

New rule = qualifying at 5.09%
– Maximum purchase price = $510k

So while it may not be a huge increase, it is still a net positive, especially for first time homebuyers. Want to find out exactly how much you can afford?

Apply Now

blog, Home Ownership, Mortgage Education, Mortgage News

CMHC’s New Incentives for First-Time Home Buyers

Everything You Need to Know About CMHC’s New Incentives for First-Time Home Buyers

First Time Home Buyers

James Harrison, AMP
Mortgage Broker
Mortgages.ca

 

Breaking into the Canada mortgage market as a first-time homebuyer can be daunting, especially when it comes to navigating incentives, offers, and financial hurdles. Luckily, CMHC’s newest Home Buyer Incentive Plan for 2019 is full of incentives tailored perfectly for first-time homebuyers, the most important of which are broken down below:

 

Payment for Equity

As part of the latest First-Time Home Buyer Incentive Plan, CMHC will pay 5% of the purchase price for an existing home and up to 10% for the value of a new home as part of a down payment assistance program in exchange for an equity stake. This means that the Government of Canada partners with you in a Shared Equity Mortgage, taking a share of the increase (or decrease!) in the property’s market value. To qualify for this incentive, first-time homebuyers must meet a short set of criteria:

 

  • Minimum down payment amount based on mortgage amount
  • Qualifying income is $120,000 or below
  • Total mortgage is no greater than four times the qualifying income
  • Homes must be below the purchase price of $500,000

 

The government’s equity stake, otherwise referred to as a Shared Equity Mortgage, is then repaid as a percentage of the selling price, which takes into account the gain or loss in property value.

 

Taking Advantage of Your Money: RRSP Withdrawals

The Home Buyer’s Plan, a federal program that acts as a first-time homebuyer incentive, allows you to use a $35,000 RRSP withdrawal (in one year) towards your new home purchase. Making your RRSP withdrawal requires you to fill out a Home Buyers Plan Redemption Form to declare the amount that is being withdrawn, whether in a single amount or in installments. 

 

Why First-Time Homebuyer Incentives?

In today’s housing market, it can take individuals years to save up enough for the minimum down payment of 5% on a home. With the help of the First-Time Home Buyer down payment assistance incentive and the RRSP withdrawal allowance, purchasing a home can come much sooner. 

 

These incentives, developed for Canada’s real estate market and the first-time homebuyer, offer a number of benefits that help one transition into home ownership, such as: 

 

  • Purchase a home with the future in mind
  • Reduce the financial burden without delaying property purchase
  • Shared equity mortgage means interest-free down payment assistance
  • First-Time Home Buyer Incentive allows choices for repayment based on property value, not interest
  • Savings on mortgage payments of up to $3,430 per year

 

Your first home is one of the biggest, most important purchases of your life. The Government of Canada has developed a system to help first-time homebuyers comfortably acquire and pay back a mortgage, with assistance that is based on property value, rather than an established interest rate. With CMHC’s First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, buying your first home just got much easier.

 

Apply now for a mortgage with Mortgages.ca and learn more! 

blog, Mortgage News

5-Year Fixed Rates Drop Due to Predicted Prime Rate Cuts

What does the arrival of a dropped 5-year fixed product mean for the variable versus fixed debate? Frankly, not much.

5-year fixed products drop over anticipated prime rate cuts

Image Source: Al x

James Harrison, AMP
President / Mortgage Broker

As of this week, economists are predicting the prime rate could actually start coming down. As a result, banks and lenders have been dropping the 5-year fixed rates and removing the discounting on the variable products so as to encourage clients to go fixed.


Don’t Be Fooled: We’ve Seen This Strategy Before

The banks have been aggressively pushing the 5-year fixed rates for the past 8 months now, using the fear over the last few rate increases as reason enough to consider the switch. But lest we forget: the 5-year fixed product is the most profitable product for the banks, not you.

When the prime rate goes up, banks systematically try to convince variable clients to break their mortgage and instead lock into a new fixed rate that is generally 0.75%-1.00% higher than the current variable rate. And based on 2018’s recent Mortgage Consumer Report, this fear mongering works — noting at least 68% of Canadians are talked into a fixed rate product.

But rest assured, when our variable clients call–panicked after a prime rate increase–our answer is always the same:

Our Clients: Do we lock in?
Us: No!

An Alternative (& More Effective) Strategy

Say NO to 5-year fixed but you should increase your payments as if you did lock in! This way, you are paying off your mortgage faster without the higher interest cost and terrible terms & conditions of the bank’s 5-year fixed product.

Speak with a Mortgage Professional

Regardless, you should always work with a professional and experienced mortgage broker in making these decisions. By definition, a mortgage broker works for you, independent of the bank’s interests.

If you’re considering a switch and your bank suggests a 5 year fixed rate product, make sure to ask them “why?” Think critically and get a second opinion from a mortgage professional. It’s your hard-earned money, it should stay in your pockets.

In Summary:

  • Go variable
  • Increase your payments from day one as if you went fixed and
  • Always stay loyal to yourself first–not your bank.

Let’s Connect!

For more information, click Apply Now, email us at info@mortgages.ca, or call 647-795-8700 x 0 today for your free, no-obligation consultation.

With the help of a Mortgages.ca broker, you have nothing to lose and only great INSIGHTS to gain.