Tag Archives: female buyers

The future of homeownership is female

The future of homeownership is female 

Girl power is growing in the real estate world.

61% of first-time and repeat homebuyers in Canada were female, according to the 2019 Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) Mortgage Consumer survey. This is backed up by statistics coming out of the US as well. Single women made up 17% of homebuyers in 2019, according to the National Association of Realtors, while single men accounted for about 9%.

“I’ve definitely seen a shift, with more women showing interest in buying a home. The whole concept of waiting till you’re married to own a home is not as strong as it used to be,” said Rakhee Dhingra, CEO of Mortgage Savvy.

After having a negative experience buying her first home, Dhingra decided to get into the mortgage business herself and created Mortgage Savvy in 2016. Since then, she has been committed to changing the transactional nature of the mortgage process. She is specifically interested in helping the growing number of women homebuyers become more confident in applying for mortgages through different initiatives like hosting homebuyer events and seminars.

“More single women are buying homes and even women in relationships are applying for mortgages as the more-significant income earners. Women are showing up as very strong from a financial standpoint,” she said. On top of that, Dhingra has also noticed in the case of couples going through a divorce, there’s a rising number of women who are buying out their male counterparts so they can stay and own their primary residence.

Not only is she focused on helping women into their dream homes, Dhingra also wants to encourage other female professionals to consider mortgage as a career option. Even though it’s a historically male-dominated industry, she believes her emphasis on building real relationships and the ability to connect with her clients has really been the key to her success. She believes the industry needs more of that.

“I always make an effort to be available if a new professional reaches out for coaching or support. Several women who were part of my team have grown their career and eventually moved on to build their own business, and I really support that,” she said. Dhingra said while she hopes to be a mentor for many young women in the mortgage business, she didn’t really have that opportunity when she was starting out not too long ago.

Dhingra is known by her team and referral sources for calming demeanor and her ability to ease people’s anxiety during the intimidating process of either buying a home for the first time, doing a refinance, consolidating debt or going through a divorce.

“If I can provide concrete information in a digestible manner for clients, and keep them calm through the process, that’s the key. We keep communication timely and detailed, which helps eliminate a lot of the stress,” she added.

In 2019, Dhingra was chosen by CMP as a Women of Influence. The recognition has been incredible positive for her and her business, but what she is most proud of is being able to show her daughter her success.

Dhingra also puts her money where her mouth is. Fifty dollars from ever transaction at Mortgage Savvy goes toward supporting local causes in Toronto, including the Red Door Family Shelter which assists families, refugees and women who are fleeing violence.

In the future, Dhingra hopes to help promote a stronger balance in the mortgage industry by bringing more women in.

“There needs to be more opportunity for collaboration and networking for not just women, but the industry as a whole. There needs to be a safe place for people to share information and knowledge without being seen as competition or a threat.”

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OSFI Hints at Changes to the Mortgage Stress Test Qualifying Rate

changes to stress test qualifying rate

The use of Canada’s benchmark rate in administering the mortgage stress test is currently under review, according to an official with the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).

In a speech to the C.D. Howe Institute, Ben Gully Assistant Superintendent, Regulation Sector, said the use of the benchmark qualifying rate as the floor of Guideline B-20 stress testing for uninsured mortgages is “not playing the role that we intended.”

Uninsured mortgages (those with more than 20% down payment) are currently stress-tested on the higher of the borrower’s contract rate plus 200 bps, or the benchmark rate, which is currently 5.19%.

“For many years, our data showed the difference between the benchmark rate and the average contract rate was about 2%. This provided a healthy buffer,” Gully said. “However, the difference between the average contract rate and the benchmark has been widening more recently, suggesting that the benchmark is less responsive to market changes than when it was first proposed.”

Indeed, fixed mortgage rates have been on a downward trajectory since the beginning of 2019.

mortgage stress testWhat likely won’t be changing is OSFI’s use of the contract rate plus 200 basis points for stress testing uninsured mortgages. “This helps borrowers and lenders manage a sudden change in circumstances such as an income loss, increased interest rates, and/or additional expenses,” Gully said. “This will therefore remain a key part of OSFI’s guideline B-20.”

Gully added that “while we are aware of contrary opinions, “institutions, markets and borrowers have all come to see the value of a qualifying rate even if there remains debate about the appropriate level of responsiveness.”

“It’s an interesting acknowledgement [by OSFI] that the BoC posted rate is now possibly too stringent a test given our market rates,” Paul Taylor, President and CEO of Mortgage Professionals Canada told CMT. “This is very encouraging for the marketplace and own lobby efforts.”

In his speech, Gully also provided OSFI’s take on other aspects of the mortgage industry.

On renewals…

For mortgage renewals, existing lenders don’t typically re-underwrite the loan if the borrower is current with their payments. “OSFI sees this as a reasonable practice…” Gully said. “However, we do expect lenders to update their risk analysis throughout the life of the loan.”

“We will continue to look at this issue closely through regular reporting on rates for new originations and renewals,” he added. “If we see outliers, then we will follow up directly with lenders to understand why this is happening and what they are doing about it.”

On HELOCs…

OSFI recognizes that combined loan products, such as HELOCs, “can make adding more risk easy for borrowers,” Gully said, adding that, “OSFI is concerned that some lenders may be taking on more risk than they bargained for with these open-ended commitments.”

The problem, he noted, is that loan products such as HELOCs can conceal increasing debt loads while payments remain the same.

“This can make assessing credit quality more difficult for lenders,” he said. “We are working with the Bank of Canada to collect data to assess the potential vulnerabilities of these products as well as the larger market and economic issues.”

Canadian Mortgage Trends –
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Investors eye rent-to-own strategies as Canadians look for more ways to home ownership

Rent-to-own is becoming an increasingly attractive option for investors. While the practice isn’t as popular with our neighbours south of the border, here in Canada it is a great option to consider especially with tightening regulations, a complex market and new mortgage rules.

With more than 11 billion people across the country renting, and housing prices becoming more unattainable, tenants are looking for more options and investor interest is brewing on what opportunities are out there.

A rent-to-own strategy is an alternative route to home ownership for buyers who aren’t quite able to purchase their new home but are interested in eventually attaining ownership. It could be a great option for someone who is self-employed, new to Canada or has a damaged credit. The tenant would pay a monthly fee similar to rent, but a portion of that goes toward a down payment for that home. In addition, at the end of the agreed -upon term, the tenant would be in a position to qualify for a mortgage through traditional lending institutions and the property title will transfer to their name.

“There are many people across the country who are so close to getting their own home but need someone on their team like Homeowners Now and our partners that can support them through those last few steps,” said Conrad Field, VP Partnership at rent-to-own company, Homeowners Now.

From an investor’s perspective, rent-to-own is a low risk option that can maximize cash flow, target areas with high appreciation and allow for turnkey operations to occur. “Rent-to-own models have the ability to both grow wealth in strong markets, as well as protect it in a correction,” said Field.

According to him, rent-to-own is like a cross between shorter-term development projects and longer-term buy-and-hold properties. You get the benefit of receiving your capital back with profit in a relatively short time period like a development project, but also the security of monthly rent revenue like with a buy-and-hold. “There are benefits for everyone in the eco-system, from our partners, tenants and the rent-to-own company. As a wealth-building vehicle for our partners, some of those benefits include the security of substantial deposits, additional revenue streams under contract, minimal ongoing management, reduced expenses and more,” he added.

Homeowners Now has partnered with some of the most experienced professionals in the real estate industry to put systems and processes in place to maximize the success of tenants and provide security for their partners. The tenant-first approach is a key aspect of that, according to Field. “We find the tenant, qualify them for our program based on a set of financial criteria and then they pick their dream home on the market that is within the price range they can afford. What’s great about this is the tenant truly gets the house of their choice instead of having to select from a potentially very small list of available properties,” said Field. This means the tenant is more motivated to follow through with the program and likely to have years of happiness in their home. Homeowners Now uses a deferred purchase agreement, rather than a lease option, which is able to provide additional security for investors.

In a new whitepaper, Field shares more detailed information on how to maximize return on investments this year through a rent-to-own strategy. “A lot of people don’t have the time to put these pieces in place and are looking for a hands-off way to get involved. They want their money working for them so they can focus on other priorities,” said Field.

Source: Canadian Real Estate Magazine – by Kasi Johnston 30 Jan 2020

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Hunting for your first home? Here are 5 tips from the pros

Fuchs gives a tour of his new duplex  which he bought for $292,000.

But first-timers may encounter a number of obstacles, from financial to psychological. Eliot Fuchs, 31, describes buying his first home in Newark, New Jersey, a two-bedroom, two-bath condo, as “a learning experience.”

One of his early lessons came when he lost out to a higher bid after his first offer. That sparked a realization, says Fuchs, who works in corporate strategy for Prudential.

“You’re not going to necessarily get it just because you put down the asking price,” he notes. “So if you want a competitive unit, like one in this building, you’re probably going to have to pay more than the asking price.”

Real estate investing:Is buying a property right for you? Here are six tips

Brian Nielson, right, helped Eliot Fuchs land a condo in Newark, New Jersey, after seven months of searching and placing bids on various homes.

When he eventually found a condo that ticked off all his boxes, he and his real estate agent, Brian Nielson, developed a bidding strategy.

“Once I saw the apartment, I knew that people were gonna want it,” Fuchs recalls. He says he and Nielson developed a plan for making second- and third-round bids, which prepared him for going above the asking price.

The condo, originally listed at $263,000, sold to Fuchs for $292,000.

“Having done it all, I’m happy that I did it,” Fuchs says.

Read on to learn five tips shared by Fuchs and Nielson about the first-time home-buying experience.

Get your mortgage preapproved

A mortgage preapproval – when a bank determines how much you are qualified to borrow – will help buyers zero in on their price range, says Nielson, a Realtor with Keller Williams.

“You want to make sure that you get preapproved before you start looking,” Nielson says. “That paper tells you exactly how much you can afford per month.”

Having preapproval shows sellers that you’re serious about making an offer, Nielson adds. And it can help buyers move quickly once they find a home they love.

“So when you do find something – ‘Bang, I want this property, here’s my offer, here’s my preapproval’ – the bank already knows about it and we can hit the ground running,” he says.

Fuchs gives a tour of his new duplex  which he bought for $292,000.

Hunt for the right location

Fuchs knew he wanted to move from Manhattan to Newark, where his office is based, because it would mean a shorter commute and more affordable home prices.

Nielson showed him homes around Newark, a city of about 280,000 people close to New York City, helping Fuchs narrow his search to three neighborhoods that appealed to him for their amenities and locations.

“You don’t want to ever regret buying a place,” Fuchs advises. “Cast a very wide net in the beginning … and spend a lot of time just looking at different places.”

It’s also important to know what you want in a home – and what you might be willing to give up. A home-buyer with children, for instance, might not want to budge on good schools. For other buyers, home size may be more important.

“If you want to be in a better area with better schools, then we might have to switch around what it is you’re looking for,” Nielson says. “Sometimes you want a bigger house, but in the nice neighborhoods you might not get that.”

Prepare for a months-long process

Fuchs says he eventually found exactly what he wanted in his condo but cautions that finding the perfect home can require months of searching. “That’s probably why it took like seven months to get it to find this place and get it,” he notes.

Nielson notes that many of his clients find their dream homes within two months but adds that others take six months or longer.

“It has to do with more of them not getting the offers accepted,” he says of the longer searches. “The product is there. They just didn’t feel that the product is worth the price tag.”

Fuchs chose to buy in the business district of Newark because of its close proximity to his job.

Understand the closing process

Once a seller accepts your offer, the closing can occur in about 30 days, Nielson says – or even faster “depending on how fast your attorneys are, depending on how fast your bank is with everything else,” he adds.

Make sure to budget for closing costs, he says. “Closing costs are everything outside of the down payment,” such as attorneys, insurance and other expenses, he notes. Budget about 3% to 5% of the overall cost of the home on these expenses, he adds.

Lastly, Nielson says an agent will walk the buyer through the closing process, such as setting up an appointment with an inspector to examine the property.

“The agent doesn’t cost the buyer anything,” he notes. “It costs the seller’s agent. We help you negotiate the deals and we get the deals done quickly and as fast and as securely as possible.”

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Canadian buyers increasingly worried about qualifying for mortgage

Canadian buyers increasingly worried about qualifying for mortgage 

Ninety-two percent of Canadians see at least one barrier to home ownership, and two of the top concerns are related to the mortgage process, according to a recent survey from Zillow and Ipsos.

Canadians report feeling pressured by stricter mortgage regulations that went into effect in 2018 and Zillow’s survey found that 56% of Canadians see qualifying for a mortgage as a barrier to home ownership—a six-point increase from 2018. This concern rises to 64% for consumers who recently purchased a home, likely linked to the impending mortgage regulation changes at the time of their home search.

New and stricter mortgage requirements took effect in January 2018 with the addition of a stress test, requiring borrowers to qualify under a higher rate. The rule only applies to newly originated mortgages and is designed to prevent borrowers from taking on more debt than they can handle if interest rates go up. Since its passing, buyers’ worries are growing according to the survey. Half of Canadians (51%) say they are specifically concerned that stricter rules will prevent them from qualifying for a mortgage, up five points since 2018.

Steve Garganis, lead mortgage planner with Mortgage Architects in Mississauga, said that the concerns have risen due to more information flowing to consumers.

“Canadians are surprised to learn that even a large down payment won’t guarantee you a mortgage approval. Got 30%, 40%, 50%, 60% down payment and great credit? Guess what?  You still may not qualify for a mortgage. This is ridiculous, in my opinion,” Garganis said. “Those of us with years of experience in risk mitigation and credit adjudication know that if you have a large down payment, the chances of default are slim and none. Chances of any loss to the lender is nil.”

Younger home shoppers also feel the weight of the law. Sixty-nine percent of younger home shoppers, those between 18-34 years old, are concerned about qualifying for a mortgage under the stricter guidelines. This worry is also present for current renters who may be considering the purchase of their first home: 66% express concerns about mortgage qualification under stricter guidelines.

This despite a recent CMHC survey that found homebuyers were overwhelmingly in favour of the stress test, agreeing that the measure would help prevent Canadians from shouldering mortgages that they couldn’t afford.

Garganis added that more Canadians are being forced back to the six big banks, as smaller lenders now have more costs in raising funds to lend. This results in Canadians paying more than they should.

Most people have heard the buzz word “stress test” but don’t really know what it means or know the specifics of what it did, said Jeff Evans, mortgage broker with Canada Innovative Financial in Richmond, B.C. He thinks that the higher qualifying standard is “quite unreasonable,” and that the government has “taken a hatchet to anything to do with helping the average Canadian to own a home.”

Evans says that Canadians have a right to be concerned, although there’s no sign of their concerns hampering their desire to purchase a home.

“Life has gone on. They qualify for less, the market has gone down primarily because of the changes the government has made, so it’s starting to get more affordable again and people are gradually coming into the market as it becomes more affordable, “Evans said.

Other perceived barriers to home ownership include coming up with a down payment (66%), debt (56%), lack of job security (47%), property taxes (46%), not being in a position to settle down (15%), or not being enough homes for sale (13%). Only 8% of Canadians claim not to see any barriers to owning a home.

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Which Canadian cities are people moving to right now?

Which Canadian cities are people moving to right now?A new report reveals the cities that are seeing the strongest immigration currently; and those that are seeing the most exits.

U-Haul’s migration trends report for 2019 shows that North Vancouver, BC, is the No.1 U-Haul Canadian Growth City, posting the largest net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering the city versus leaving it during the past calendar year.

Along with Vancouver, BC has a further three cities on the list: Salmon Arm, Merritt and Victoria.

“Every community in Metro Vancouver feels the pressures associated with regional growth,” stated Michelle Benson, U-Haul Company of Vancouver & Vancouver Island president. “Vancouver is booming, but many people are priced out of the city. That gives North Vancouver the opportunity to attract new residents.”

The number of one-way U-Haul truck rentals arriving in North Vancouver jumped almost 30% from 2018 levels with departures up almost 20%. Arrivals accounted for 55% of all one-way U-Haul traffic through North Vancouver in 2019.

“Vancouver is rated as one of the top cities to live in, so every nearby city is growing,” added Jennifer Anstett, U-Haul Area District Vice President. “North Vancouver is enjoying the trend of people moving toward the West Coast and all it has to offer.”

The rest of the top five are all in Ontario – Trenton, Saint Thomas, Brockville and North Bay – and the province boasts 19 of the top 25 cities.

U-HAUL CANADIAN GROWTH CITIES FOR 2019


* Ranking from Top 25 U-Haul Canadian Growth Cities of 2018 in parentheses, if applicable

Source: Mortgage Broker News – by Steve Randall 09 Jan 2020

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Young Homebuyers Are Vanishing From the U.S.

The median age of first-time home buyers has increased to 33, the oldest in records dating back to 1981, according to a National Association of Realtors report released Friday. The median age of all buyers also hit a fresh record, 47, increasing for a third straight year — and well above the median age of 31 in 1981.

Getting Older

The median age for all U.S. homebuyer profiles is creeping higher

Click link to see graph: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-08/young-homebuyers-vanish-from-u-s-as-median-purchasing-age-jumps

Note: Survey conducted almost every other year prior to 2002. No data for 1983 and 1999.

While the median age of first-time home buyers only rose by one year, the increase reflects a variety of factors facing Americans searching for a home.

A nationwide shortage of affordable housing, coupled with lower mortgage rates, has stoked prices in cities from the coasts to the heartland. At the same time, student loans and other debts make it harder for Americans to save tens of thousands of dollars for a down payment, while tight lending standards can make getting a bank loan difficult for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit scores.

“Housing affordability is so difficult today, especially when coupled with rising rents and student loan debt, that they’re finding different ways to enter home ownership,” said Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at the Realtors group in Washington.

The characteristics of home buyers have changed in recent years. The share of married couples has declined as unmarried couples and those purchasing as roommates has risen.

As buyers’ ages have increased, so have their incomes. The typical income of purchasers rose to $93,200 in 2018 as a lack of affordable options squeezed lower-income potential buyers out of the market.

Higher prices of homes have also changed how first-time buyers are entering the market. Nearly a third of first-time home buyers said they used a gift from a relative or friend to fund their down payment.

Builders have cited a shortage of affordable lots and labor as reasons to build fewer or bigger single-family homes, leaving America’s growing population to consider more of the existing housing stock. New homes as a proportion of all purchases fell to a low of 13% in records dating back to 1981.

The report reflects survey responses from 5,870 people who purchased a primary residence in the period between July 2018 and June 2019.

Source: Bloomberg.com – By 

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