Category Archives: reverse mortgages

Don’t-pay-til-you-die reverse mortgages are booming in Canada as seniors binge on debt

Don’t-pay-til-you-die reverse mortgages are booming in Canada as seniors binge on debt

Already carrying debt, many seniors can’t downsize because they can’t afford high rents, so turn to reverse mortgages for a new source of income

If you’re 55 or older, you can borrow as much as 55 per cent of the value of your home. Principal and compound interest don’t have to be paid back until you sell the home or die.Getty Images/iStockphoto

Reverse mortgages are surging in Canada as more older people join the country’s debt bandwagon.

If you’re 55 or older, you can borrow as much as 55 per cent of the value of your home. Principal and compound interest don’t have to be paid back until you sell the home or die. To keep the loan in good standing, homeowners only need to pay property tax and insurance, and maintain the home in good repair.

“We’ve only been in this market for 18 months, but applications are jumping,” and have tripled over the past year, Andrew Moor, chief executive officer at Equitable Group Inc., said in an interview. The company, which operates Equitable Bank, sees the reverse mortgage sector expanding by about 25 per cent a year. “Canadians are getting older and there is an opportunity there.”

Outstanding balances on reverse mortgages have more than doubled in less than four years to $3.12 billion (US$2.37 billion), excluding foreign currency amounts, according to June data from the country’s banking regulator. Although they represent less than one percentage point of the $1.2 trillion of residential mortgages issued by chartered banks, they’re growing at a much faster pace. Reverse mortgages rose 22 per cent in June from the same month a year earlier, versus 4.8 per cent for the total market.

The fact that these niche products are growing so quickly offers a glimpse into how some seniors are becoming part of Canada’s new debt reality. After a decades-long housing boom, the nation has the highest household debt load in the Group of Seven, one reason Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz may be reluctant to join the global monetary-policy easing trend.

More seniors are entering retirement with debt and the cost of rent has shot up in many cities, making downsizing difficult amid hot real estate markets. Reverse mortgages offer a new source of income.

Canada’s big five banks have so far shied away from the product. Only two lenders offer them in Canada. HomeEquity Bank, whose reverse mortgage has been on the market for 30 years, dominates the space with $3.11 billion on its books. Equitable Bank, a relatively new player, has $10.1 million. Shares in parent Equitable Group have surged 75 per cent to a record this year.

Critics say reverse mortgages are a high-cost solution that should only be used as a last resort.

“When they think of their cash flow, they’re not going to get kicked out of their house, but in reality, it really has the ability to erode the asset of the borrower,” Shawn Stillman, a broker at Mortgage Outlet, said by phone from Toronto.

HIGHER RATES

Interest rates are typically much higher than those for conventional mortgages. For example, HomeEquity Bank and Equitable Bank charge 5.74 per cent for a five-year fixed mortgage. Conventional five-year fixed mortgages are currently being offered online for as low as 2.4 per cent.

Atul Chandra, chief financial officer at HomeEquity Bank, said the higher rates are justified because the lender doesn’t receive any payments over the course of the loan.

“Our time horizon for getting the cash is much longer, and generally the longer you wait for your cash to come back to you, the more you need to charge,” Chandra said in a telephone interview.

MOST DELINQUENT

Executives at HomeEquity Bank and Equitable say they are focusing on educating people about reverse mortgages to avoid mistakes that were made in the U.S. during the housing crisis — including aggressive sales tactics.

While delinquency rates on regular mortgages are still low for seniors, they were the highest among all age groups in the first quarter, at 0.36 per cent, according to data from the federal housing agency. The 65-plus demographic took over as the most delinquent group at the end of 2015. For non-mortgage debt, delinquency rates in the 65-plus category have seen the biggest increases over the past several quarters, Equifax data show.

Reverse mortgages aren’t included in typical delinquency rate measures — borrowers can’t be late on payments because there are no payments — but they can be in default if they fail to pay taxes or insurance, or let the home fall into disrepair. However default rates for reverse mortgages have remained stable, even with the strong growth in volumes, said HomeEquity’s Chandra.

According to a scenario provided by HomeEquity Bank, a borrower who took out a reverse mortgage of $150,000 at an interest rate of 5.74 per cent would owe $199,058 five years later. A home worth $750,000 when the reverse mortgage was taken out would be worth $869,456 five years later, assuming 3 per cent annual home price appreciation, meaning total equity would have grown by about $70,000.

Source: Financial Post – Bloomberg News 

Chris Fournier and Paula Sambo 

September 16, 2019

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How reverse mortgages staged a comeback

Professor Chris Mayer has a lesson for ­homeowners: Reverse mortgages, which let older Americans tap their home equity without selling or moving, aren’t as risky as some say. In an online video, he brushes aside “common misconceptions,” including fears about losing your home.

Mayer, a real estate professor at Columbia Business School, isn’t an impartial observer. He’s chief executive officer of a company that sells reverse mortgages. He’s trying to rehabilitate one of the U.S.’s most-­reviled financial products—part of a broader push that relies in part on academics with interests in the mortgage industry.

The host of Mayer’s talk was the American College of Financial Services, a school that trains financial planners and insurance agents. Until recently, it had a task force funded by reverse mortgage companies, which each contribute $40,000 a year. They include Mayer’s firm, Longbridge Financial, and Quicken Loans’ One Reverse Mortgage.

To show the need for reverse mortgages, industry websites cite a Boston College retirement research center run by Alicia Munnell, a professor and former assistant secretary of the Treasury Department in the Clinton administration. She once invested $150,000 in Mayer’s company, though she’s since sold her stake.

The six-year-old task force cites key successes. Mainstream publications have run articles quoting positive research on the loans, and financial planners are growing more comfortable recommending them. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the securities industry’s self-regulatory agency, in 2014 withdrew its warning that reverse mortgages should generally be used as “a last resort.”

Mayer and Munnell said they’ve fully disclosed, in research, appearances, and interviews, their financial interest in the lender. Columbia and Boston College both said they approved the arrangements.

The professors and industry officials say these government-backed mortgages deserve a second look, partly because of a series of federal reforms in recent years designed to protect taxpayers and consumers.

“We are looking to help people responsibly incorporate home equity in their retirement planning,” Mayer said of Longbridge.

Reverse mortgages let homeowners draw down their equity in monthly installments, lines of credit or lump sums. The balance grows over time and comes due on the borrower’s death, at which point their heirs may pay off the loan when they sell the house. Borrowers must keep paying taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities—and could face foreclosure if they don’t.

While even critics say the mortgages can make sense for some customers, they say the loans are still too expensive and can tempt seniors to spend their home equity early, before they might need it for health expenses.

Fees on a $100,000 loan, based on a $200,000 home, can total $10,000. Because the fees are typically wrapped into the mortgage, they compound at interest rates that can rise over time. Homeowners who need cash could be better off selling and moving to less expensive quarters.

“The profits are significant, the oversight is minimal, and greed could work to the disadvantage of seniors who should be protected by government programs and not targeted as prey,” said Dave Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association until last year and a commissioner for the Federal Housing Administration in the Obama administration.

Academics represent a new face for an industry that’s long relied on aging celebrity pitchmen. The late Fred Thompson, a U.S. senator and Law & Order actor, represented American Advisors Group, the industry’s biggest player. These days, the same company leans on actor Tom Selleck.

“Just like you, I thought reverse mortgages had to have some catch,” Selleck says in an online video. “Then I did some homework and found out it’s not any of that. It’s not another way for a bank to get your house.”

Michael Douglas, in his Golden Globe-winning performance on the Netflix series The Kominsky Method, satirizes such pitches. His financially desperate character, an acting teacher, quits filming a reverse mortgage commercial because he can’t stomach the script.

In 2016 administrative proceedings, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau accused American Advisors, as well as two other companies, of running deceptive ads. Without admitting or denying the allegations, American Advisors agreed to add more caveats to its advertising and pay a $400,000 fine.

Company spokesman Ryan Whittington said the company has since made “significant investments” in compliance. Reverse mortgages are “highly regulated, viable financial tools,” and all customers must undergo third-party counseling before buying one, he said.

The FHA has backed more than 1 million such reverse mortgages. Homeowners pay into an insurance fund an upfront fee equal to 2 percent of a home’s value, as well as an additional half a percentage point every year.

After the last housing crash, taxpayers had to make up a $1.7 billion shortfall because of reverse mortgage losses. Over the past five years, the government has been tightening rules, such as requiring homeowners to show they can afford tax and insurance payments.

In response to public concerns, Shelley Giordino, then an executive at reverse mortgage company Security 1 Lending, co-founded the Funding Longevity Task Force in 2012. It later became affiliated with the Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania-based American College of Financial Services.

Giordino, who now works for Mutual of Omaha’s reverse mortgage division, described her role as “head cheerleader” for positive reverse mortgages research. Gregg Smith, CEO of One Reverse Mortgage, said the group is promoting “true academic research,” including work by professors with no industry ties.

In January, the American College cut its ties with the task force because the school, as a nonprofit institution, wasn’t comfortable being affiliated with an organization endorsing products, according to Vice President James N. Katsaounis. “A proper retirement portfolio is one that is well-balanced and diversified, which may or may not include reverse mortgages,” he said.

Mayer, the Columbia professor and reverse mortgage company CEO, said many older consumers could benefit from the loans because they can never owe more than their house is worth even if real estate prices plunge.

A former economist at the Federal Reserve of Boston with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Mayer joined the Columbia faculty in 2004 and currently co-­directs Columbia’s Paul Milstein Center for Real Estate. He wrote his first paper on reverse mortgages in 1994, when the FHA product was five years old.

In 2012, Mayer co-founded Longbridge, based in Mahwah, New Jersey, and in 2013 became CEO. He’s on the board of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association. He said his company, which services 10,000 loans, hasn’t had a single completed foreclosure because of failure to pay property taxes or insurance.

While many colleges let professors engage in outside business activities, Gerald Epstein, a University of Massachusetts economics professor who’s studied academic conflicts of interest, said Columbia may need to scrutinize Mayer’s arrangement closely.

“They really should be careful when people have this kind of dual loyalty,” he said.

Columbia said it monitors Mayer’s employment as CEO of the mortgage company to ensure compliance with its policies. “Professor Mayer has demonstrated a commitment to openness and transparency by disclosing outside affiliations,” said Chris Cashman, a spokesman for the business school. Mayer has a “special appointment,” which reduces his salary and teaching load and also caps his hours at Longbridge, Cashman said.

Likewise, Boston College said it reviewed Professor Munnell’s investment in Mayer’s company, on whose board she served from 2012 through 2014. Munnell said another round of investors in 2016 bought out her $150,000 stake in Longbridge for an additional $4,000 in interest.

She said she now prefers another approach: States allowing seniors to defer property tax payments. The advantages include “no fee, no paperwork and no salespeople,” she said. In one way, she’s glad she exited her reverse mortgage investments.

“Anytime I had a conversation like this, I had to say at the beginning that I have $150,000 in Longbridge,” she said. “I had to do it all the time. I’m just as happy to be out, for my academic life.”

 

Source: Copyright Bloomberg News – Business News 13 Mar 2019

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Mortgage rates, charges decisive factors for consumers

A combination of reasonable mortgage rates, no unexpected charges, and special features were the most important factors in consumers’ choice of mortgage originator, according to a recent survey conducted by financial services firm D+H.

The study’s results accompanied the increased popularity of the internet as a valuable resource for would-be borrowers, giving them more confidence in their transactions as well as making them more wary of hidden fees.

“People are asking the right questions. Even a caveman could find the lowest mortgage rates online within seconds. What you can’t learn as easily are the hidden costs, including mind-blowing penalties, inflated blend and increase rates (the rates lenders charge on any new money you add to your mortgage), ridiculous rates to convert from a variable mortgage to a fixed, aggravating fees to switch lenders, restrictions when porting your mortgage, and so on,” mortgage columnist and RateSpy.com founder Robert McLister wrote in a February 28 piece for The Globe and Mail.

McLister stated that the results pointed at the growing importance of a second informed opinion, apart from online information, in determining the best mortgage rates available.
 
“It’s no surprise, then, that two out of three borrowers value the person arranging their mortgage more than the lender itself. And they should. Lender reputation is immaterial compared to proper guidance and mortgage flexibility,” McLister said.

The survey also revealed that the largest contributor to consumer satisfaction is the absence of time pressure, which can be achieved by the broker going the “extra mile” to assist with the details.

“Besides time pressure, the survey found the biggest headaches for borrowers were paperwork, uncertainty about getting the best rate and finding the time to meet with a banker or broker,” McLister noted.

Source: MortgageBrokerNews.ca – by Ephraim Vecina | 02 Mar 2016 

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…mortgages made simple…

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THE RAY C. MCMILLAN ADVANTAGE

The Ray McMillan Mortgage Team  is licensed through Northwood Mortgage Ltd. We deal with major banks, trust, life insurance, finance companies and private lenders. We are licensed to provide the most competitive mortgage rates and terms available for your real estate financing needs throughout Ontario.

OUR SERVICE INCLUDES:

 

  • First and second mortgages
  • Transfers
  • Condominium/Townhouse purchases
  • Home Improvement Loans
  • Construction Loans
  • Debt Consolidation
  • Refinancing
  • Power of Sale
  • Multi-residential
  • Vacant land
  • Cottages and recreational properties
  • Rural and farm properties

 

 

ARE THERE ANY COSTS INVOLVED?

When we arrange a prime residential first mortgage the lender pays us a finder’s fee.This does not affect the rate our terms of the mortgage in any way.

When we arrange any other type of mortgage that does not qualify as a prime residential mortgage then the lender does not pay us. We must then charge a brokerage fee*. The fee is based on the complexity involved to arrange the mortgage.

any-questions

You have mortgage questions, the Ray McMillan Mortgage Team has answers.

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Demographics driving key mortgage market

Industry insiders are attributing strong year-over-year growth in reverse mortgage originations to several factors – the most notable being human longevity.

“With the current demographic trends and extended life expectancy we project reverse mortgage originations to grow at 25-30 per cent annually over the next few years,” said Steven Ranson, president and CEO of HomEquity Bank. “Canadians are living longer, have underfunded pensions and insufficient savings. For many, their house plays a big role in a comprehensive retirement plan.”

The increase in consumer direct business as well as continued growth through referral partners including banks and mortgage brokers is producing record results in the industry. Brokers themselves are pointing to increased demand for a product many professionals were slow to refer on.

HomEquity Bank alone reported a record $41 million in reverse mortgage origination in the month of July, marking another month of record year-over-year growth for the reverse mortgage company. 

The reverse mortgage industry is booming in Canada, growing by 21 per cent in July compared to last year.

According to recent numbers from Statistics Canada, the 55-59 age group in the country make up 7.2 per cent of the overall population, with those age 60-64 making up 6.1 per cent.

The numbers that show how the reverse mortgage sector is ready to really take off are the percentage of people in the 55-59 age bracket, which make up 7.8 per cent of the total population – which places HomEquity Bank in the catbird seat, as is the only national provider of reverse mortgages in Canada available to those aged 55 and older.

The lender originates and administers Canada’s largest portfolio of reverse mortgages under the CHIP Reverse Mortgage and Income Advantage brands, and has been the main underwriter of reverse mortgages in Canada since its predecessor, Canadian Home Income Plan, pioneered the concept in 1986.

Source: MortgageBrokerNews.ca Donald Horne | 07 Aug 2015
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Your HomeBuyingTeam – What Professionals Should You Call On?

Your HomeBuyingTeam - What Professionals Should You Call On?

Your HomeBuyingTeam

What Professionals Should You Call On?

Even if this isn’t your first homebuying experience, you’ll want to get help from a team of professionals. Having the help of professionals will give you experienced and knowledgeable people for reliable information and answers to your questions. These are the people who can help you:
•Realtor
•Lenders or mortgage broker
•Lawyer or notary
•Insurance broker
•Home inspector
•Appraiser
•Land surveyor
•Builder or contractor

You will be doing a lot of interviewing to establish your team. Use this handy CMHC worksheet to help you keep track of the people you interview and the ones you finally choose.

The next sections describe each professional role.

The Realtor

Your realtor’s job is to:
•Help you find the ideal home
•Write an Offer of Purchase
•Negotiate to help you get the best possible deal
•Give you important information about the community
•Help you arrange a home inspection

Finding a Realtor

When looking for a realtor, don’t be afraid to ask questions — especially about possible service charges. Normally, the seller pays a commission to the agent. But, some realtors charge buyers a fee for their services. Use the CMHC worksheet Checklist for Evaluating Realtors to help you.
If you would like to know more about a realtor’s ethical obligations, go to the Canadian Real Estate Association’s website at www.crea.ca, or call your local real estate association.

The Lender or Mortgage Broker

Many different institutions lend money for mortgages — banks, trust companies, credit unions, caisses populaires (in Quebec), pension funds, insurance companies, and finance companies. Different institutions offer different terms and options — shop around!

Mortgage brokers don’t work for any specific lending institution. Their role is to find the lender with the terms and rates that are best for the buyer.

Finding a Lender or Mortgage Broker
•Ask around. Your realtor, another professional, family members, or friends may give you helpful suggestions.
•Look in the Yellow Pages™ under “Banks,” “Credit Unions” or “Trust Companies” for a lender and under “Mortgage Brokers” for a broker.
•Contact the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals at 1-888-442-4625, or visit the Association’s website at www.caamp.org.

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The Lawyer/Notary

Having a lawyer/notary involved in the process will help ensure that things go as smoothly as possible. You need a lawyer (or a notary in Quebec) to perform these tasks:
•Protect your legal interests by making sure the property you want to buy does not have any building or statutory liens, charges, or work or clean-up orders
•Review all contracts before you sign them, especially the Offer (or Agreement) to Purchase.

Finding a Lawyer

Law associations can refer you to lawyers who specialize in real estate law. In Quebec, contact the Chambre des notaires du Québec for the names of notaries specializing in real estate law.

Remember that a lawyer/notary should:
•Be a licensed full-time lawyer/notary
•Live/work in the area
•Understand real estate laws, regulations and restrictions
•Have realistic and acceptable fees
•Be able and willing to explain things in language you can easily understand
•Be experienced with condominiums, if that’s what you are buying

Lawyer/notary fees depend on the complexity of the transaction and the lawyer’s expertise.

Shop around for rates when choosing your lawyer/notary. Use the CMHC worksheet Checklist for Selecting a Lawyer/Notary to guide you.

The Insurance Broker

An insurance broker can help you with your property insurance and mortgage life insurance.

Lenders insist on property insurance because your property is their security for your loan. Property insurance covers the replacement cost of your home, so the size of your premium depends on the value of the property.

Your lender may also suggest that you buy mortgage life insurance. Mortgage life insurance gives coverage for your family, if you die before your mortgage is paid off. Your lender may offer this type of insurance. In this case, the lender adds the premium to your regular mortgage payments. However, you may want to compare rates offered by an insurance broker and by your lender.

Don’t confuse property insurance, or mortgage life insurance, with mortgage loan insurance.

The Home Inspector

Whether you are buying a resale home, or a new home, consider having it inspected by a knowledgeable and professional home inspector.

The home inspector’s role is to inform you about the property’s condition observed at the time of the inspection. The home inspector will tell you if something is not working properly, needs to be changed, or is unsafe. He or she will also tell you if repairs are needed, and maybe even where there were problems in the past.

A home inspection is a visual inspection. It should include a visual assessment of at least the following:
•Foundation
•Doors and windows
•Roof and exterior walls (except winter)
•Attics
•Plumbing and electrical systems (where visible)
•Heating and air conditioning systems
•Ceilings, walls and floors
•Insulation (where visible)
•Ventilation
•The lot, including drainage away from buildings, slopes and natural vegetation
•Overall opinion of structural integrity of the buildings
•Common areas (in the case of a condominium/strata or co-operative)

Finding a Home Inspector

It’s important to hire a knowledgeable, experienced and competent home inspector. In most areas of Canada, there are no licensing or certification requirements for home inspectors. Anyone can say that they are a home inspector without having taken any courses, passed tests or even inspected houses. So look for a home inspector who belongs to a provincial or industry association holds an accreditation that demonstrates training and experience, provides inspection reports, carries insurance, provides references and has strong experience with the type of home to be inspected.

While CMHC does not recommend any individual home inspector or association, CMHC supports a common national occupational standard for home inspectors such as the home inspection industry’s voluntary and independent national certification program.

Home inspector fees range, depending on the size and condition of the home.

The Appraiser

Before you make an offer, an independent appraisal can tell you what the property is worth. This will help ensure that you are not paying too much. In order to complete a mortgage loan, your lender may ask for a recognized appraisal.

The appraisal should include:
•Unbiased assessment of the property’s physical and functional characteristics
•Analysis of recent comparable sales
•Assessment of current market conditions affecting the property

Finding an Appraiser

Ask your realtor to help you find an appraiser.

The Land Surveyor

If the seller does not have a Survey or Certificate of Location, you will probably need to get one for your mortgage application. If the Survey in the seller’s possession is older than five years, it needs to be updated.

Remember that you must have permission from the property owner before hiring a surveyor to go onto the property. Ask your realtor to help co-ordinate this with the owner.

Finding a Land Surveyor

Search the web or Yellow Pages™ or ask your realtor to help you find a land surveyor.

#mortgagesmadesimple

Seniors Can Now Tap More Equity

Seniors Can Now Tap More Equity | Mortgage Rates & Mortgage Broker News in Canada

Earlier this year HomEquity Bank increased its maximum loan-to-value on a reverse mortgage to 55% (in some cases slightly more). It was a change made with little fanfare, but one that will provide necessary cash to thousands more senior homeowners.Prior to this change, the bank lent up to one-half of a property’s appraised value. Now, qualified seniors can access at least $20,000 more on a $400,000 property, for example. This money can be a lifeline when an elderly homeowner has immediate expenses (e.g., medical costs), but no other source of liquidity and a need to stay in their home.

“We are rather conservative,” said Yvonne Ziomecki, SVP, HomEquity Bank in response to why the bank hasn’t offered this high of an LTV in the past. “Having 29 years of actuarial history on repayments, etc., gave us comfort to move in that direction.”

The company confirms that these higher lending ratios are here to stay. “We wouldn’t have offered it up if we didn’t believe we can continue offering it,” she explains. Note that qualifying for a 55% LTV reverse mortgage requires that a borrower be more than 75 years of age and have a marketable home in a good location.

Sidebar: HomEquity Bank is getting ready to launch its new “Mortgage Broker Direct” service in September. For the first time, mortgage brokers will be able to submit deals directly to the bank via D+H Expert. The company will offer an official designation for approved brokers called the “Certified Reverse Mortgage Specialist.” Brokers will receive continuing education (CE) credits for completing the certification, specialized marketing support and compensation equal to that of selling a regular five-year fixed mortgage.

Source: Canadian Mortgage Trends  July 22, 2015  Robert McLister