Tag Archives: first-time buyers

Required downpayment amounts vary across Canada

MORTGAGE
 

Housing affordability is becoming a top priority for voters in the upcoming federal election, says Penelope Graham, managing editor at Zoocasa.

“However, given the vast geographical size of Canada and its many market nuances, buyers’ ability to purchase a home varies widely depending on local prices and incomes,” says Graham. “The Canadian Real Estate Association has noted a growing gap between price growth in Eastern and Western Canada, with improved affordability concentrated in the Prairie markets, as well as parts of the Maritimes.”

Zoocasa conducted a study to find out how feasible it would be for households on a median income to purchase real estate in Canada, finding median-income households would be able to afford the local benchmark-priced home in eight markets of the 15 markets studied.

“In the remaining seven, a median-income earner wouldn’t qualify for a mortgage large enough to fund their home purchase and would need to supplement it with a hefty downpayment, which, in some urban centres, would require a savings timeline that spans decades, assuming they set aside 20 percent of their total income each year,” says Graham.

In determining the extent of affordability for median-income households, Zoocasa calculated the maximum mortgage they’d qualify for in each region, assuming a three-percent interest rate, 25-year amortization and that the equivalent of one percent of the total home purchase price would be put toward annual property taxes. An additional $100 per month for heating costs was also factored into the calculation.

“Similar to CREA’s observations, Zoocasa’s calculations reveal housing affordability is most prevalent in the Prairies, accounting for five of the most affordable markets,” says Graham. “In these cities, home buyers with a median income would qualify for a large enough mortgage to purchase the average or benchmark priced home, so long as they have the required minimum downpayment of five percent.”

A median income wouldn’t get far in the British Columbia and Ontario real estate markets, says Graham..

“In Greater Vancouver, where the benchmark home price is $993,300, a median-income household earning $72,662 would qualify for a mortgage of only $241,994, leaving a shortfall of $751,306, 76 percent of the total purchase price. That would take a household setting aside 20 percent of their income annually a total of 52 years to save the required funds,” she says. “Fraser Valley and the Greater Toronto real estate markets round out the steepest three, requiring median-income households to come up with 70 percent and 63 percent of purchase prices of $823,300 and $802,400, respectively, requiring prospective buyers to save for 42 and 32 years, respectively.”

Top 5 Most Affordable Cities for Median Income Households

Average
Price
Median
Income
Maximum
Mortgage
Required
Downpayment
Savings
Time
1 Regina $267,900 $84,447 $264,685 $13,395 1 year
2 Saskatoon $290,800 $82,999 $287,310 $14,450 1 year
3 Winnipeg $292,198 $70,759 $288,695 $15,771 1 year
4 Edmonton $321,300 $94,447 $317,444 $16,065 1 year
5 Calgary $420,500 $99,583 $415,454 $21,025 1 year

Source: The calgary Sun – Myke ThomasMore  Published:

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In the $1.6-trillion mortgage market Canadians don’t even understand the basics

Houses and townhouses are seen in an aerial view, in Langley, B.C., on Wednesday May 16, 2018. (Darryl Dyck/CP)

When it comes to mortgages, a government survey finds most Canadians don’t know their terms from their amortizations

 

It’s no secret that the financial literacy of Canadians is tenuous at best, but given the fact that households are carrying $1.6 trillion worth of residential mortgage debt, we should be particularly nervous about just how yawning the knowledge gaps are when it comes to the basics of a mortgage.

survey conducted for the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada and the Bank of Canada and made public this week found when it comes to simple mortgage terminology like “term” and “amortization” most Canadians are hopelessly lost.

According to the survey slightly more than half of consumers failed to correctly identity what “mortgage term” means. Only 49 per cent offered purely correct responses like “the years you have a mortgage/contract term,” “the length of time you are committed to a mortgage rate,” or “the length of time before renewal.”

Canadians have an even shakier grasp on what “amortization” means  — while just over one quarter (28 per cent) of the general population could offer a proper definition of the word, they also said things in their answers that made it clear they didn’t fully know what they were talking about.

Fewer than one per cent of Canadians could give a strictly correct definition for amortization as “the time to pay the mortgage in full.”

Just so we’re clear, the amortization period is the length of time it will take you to completely pay off a mortgage (generally 25 years) while the mortgage term is the length of time you commit to a specific mortgage rate and conditions with a lender (usually five years).

While the above responses from the survey reflect the mortgage knowledge of the general population, even those people specifically targeted in the survey who have a mortgage or plan to buy a home in the next five years had only a marginally-better understanding of mortgage basics. As the survey results note, “three-in-10 in the target audience … do not know what the phrase ‘amortization period’ means,” which suggests a large number of people plunged into the biggest financial decision of their lives with a dubious understanding of the core terminology in the documents they were signing.

“The responses indicate that there is a significant lack of knowledge about mortgage terms among both the general population and the target audience,” wrote the authors of the survey. The survey, which was published was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs and involved interviews with 5,000 Canadians between May and June 2019.

The findings were meant to establish the “baseline knowledge” Canadians have about mortgages as part of a larger quest: to find out what Canadians know about long-term mortgages and why they don’t chose that option more.

In fact just as the survey was getting underway last May, Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz gave a speech in Winnipeg where he made an impassioned (well, for a central banker, at least) case for the financial industry and Canadians homebuyers to embrace longer-term mortgages. It was part of a broader call by him for innovation in the mortgage sector.

While fixed-rate mortgages with terms longer than five years are widely available, they’re little used — just two per cent of all mortgages issued in 2018 were fixed-rate loans with terms longer than five years, according to the Bank of Canada. Yet Poloz sees a lot of benefits to both consumers and the financial system if that number were to rise. For one thing, he said, a longer term means fewer renewals and hence less risk that when households do renew it will be at a higher rate. (Poloz acknowledged a longer-term mortgage will have a higher interest rate, but for some homebuyers the trade-off for lower risk will be worth it.)

As for the financial system, the fact that nearly half of all mortgages in Canada carry fixed-rate five-year terms means that when interest rates do start to rise again, which they will, a whole lot of borrowers who took on massive mortgages in recent years will be up for renewal each year. “Simple math tells you that of all those five-year mortgages, roughly 20 per cent will be renewed every year,” he said. “That is a lot of households. If all the mortgages were 10-year loans, only 10 per cent of these homeowners would renew every year.”

Based on the survey results Poloz has his work cut out for him — only one-in-10 homeowners or likely buyers can correctly define both a mortgage term and an amortization period and at the same time even know that mortgages with terms longer than five years exist in Canada.

 

Source: Macleans.ca – by Jan 16, 2020

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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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Dispelling myths about land lease communities

One of the biggest hurdles land lease communities face is a lack of awareness Canadians may have about this housing option. Many do not understand how the arrangement works. Surprisingly, two in three Canadians are unaware that land lease is even a home-ownership alternative. Here are some frequently asked questions about land lease home-ownership, and answers that correct the myths.

1. What happens when your lease is up?
Some people mistakenly think that their lease could change dramatically, or worse, they could lose their home. At end-of-lease term, a homeowner can either renew their lease or continue on a monthly basis. If someone sells, it just starts a new lease. “We must follow the provisions set by the Residential Housing Act and Planning Act, which means increases and changes to the lease are governed by law,” says Robert Voigt, director of planning for Parkbridge. “Leases are typically 21 years in length, and depending on the project, we have mechanisms for creating longer-term leases. Our main focus is to work collaboratively with residents within the legal framework.”

2. Does the value of your home rise like freehold homes?
Homes in land lease communities go up in price the same way as other homes on the market. “In our experience, if you have a well-maintained home in Parkbridge, it will appreciate in value the same as freehold homes do in the same market,” says Voigt. “Homeowners sell their homes using real estate agents with support from the Parkbridge property team. As an example, our records show that for homeowners in the Antrim Glen community near Hamilton, well-maintained homes have experienced an average seven-per-cent increase in value per year over the past decade.”

3. Are people in land lease homes typically lower income?
“While perception may be that residents are lower income, in reality, they have simply chosen to leverage the equity in their home for the lifestyle they want to live or enter the housing market,” explains Voigt. They’re just looking for ways to make their money go the furthest and get more living space for less.

4. Does the 21-year lease make it difficult to get a mortgage?
Since most mortgages have a 25- or 30-year amortization, the 21-year lease for most land lease homes could require adjustments. “You may have to have a shorter amortization period based on your lease, which will mean higher monthly payments, but your home would be paid off more quickly,” says Voigt. “And it could still be less money than you’d spend monthly for a freehold home of equal value.” Parkbridge is working with financial institutions to support financing options.

5. Is it difficult to sell a land-lease home?
Not at all, says Voigt. “Homes go up at the same rate as freehold homes in the same area. If the home is well looked after, you should have no trouble selling it at a similar rate of return as any other house in your community.”

6. Is the community closed off from the larger neighbourhood?
These are not gated communities. “They are built to the same quality and look like other houses, streets and park areas in the broader local community,” explains Voigt.

To learn more about land lease opportunities, visit parkbridge.com.

Source: TheStar.com – Mon., July 29, 2019
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Mortgage Pre-Qualification vs Mortgage Pre-Approval vs Mortgage Approval

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Buying & Selling Tips

Mortgage Pre-Qualification vs Mortgage Pre-Approval vs Mortgage Approval

What are the differences between each stage of the mortgage process?
By Kara Kuryllowicz September 18, 2019

In early 2019, several Canadian banks launched digital apps that offer home buyers easy, hassle-free mortgage pre-qualification in 60 seconds or less. Sounds great, right?  The problem is many consumers believe a mortgage pre-qualification is a lot like a mortgage pre-approval or mortgage approval. As a result, prospective home buyers and sellers are left expecting the financial institution associated with the app to lend them hundreds of thousands of dollars, despite the fact they simply keyed their names, addresses, contact information and gross income into various online fields.

Getting Mortgage Approval

“Every week, as many as 40% of my new clients come to me because they’ve just bought a home and discovered that mortgage pre-qualification is meaningless and that they do not have the financing required for the purchase,” says Tracy Valko, owner and principal broker of Dominion Lending Centres Valko Financial Ltd., and a director at Mortgage Professionals of Canada.

Let’s get real: A mortgage pre-qualification gives the financial institution warm leads (names, contact information, purchasing timeline) and tells consumers how much money a financial institution might loan them. There is no way any financial institution will actually lend consumers hundreds of thousands of dollars just because they spent 45 seconds with the company’s mortgage pre-qualification tool.

Lenders do everything they can to ensure the borrower will repay the loan. A mortgage pre-approval looks at how an individual manages his/her money to determine that person’s creditworthiness. The next step is the mortgage approval which assesses that specific person’s ability to repay a loan of a certain amount at a set interest rate on a particular home.

“Always get a mortgage pre-approval before you start searching for a home and have a mortgage approval in place before you waive your financing condition on the offer – back out of a deal after it’s firm and you could be sued by the seller.” says Valko. “A mortgage pre-approval will tell consumers and their realtors what they can realistically afford to buy.”

Let’s further define the terms consumers need to fully understand before they commit to a real estate agent and start shopping for a home.

What is Mortgage Pre-Qualification?

It takes less than 60 seconds because it requests only the most basic information, whether it’s submitted to an online app or a financial representative. Mortgage pre-qualification never requires supporting documentation that proves the consumer actually has a full-time job, is paid a weekly salary and has earned a good credit score. At best, a mortgage pre-qualification can provide a very loose, broad estimate of a consumer’s home-buying power based on the consumer’s unverified data. Because the consumer typically inputs the information into an online tool, it takes just seconds for the software, not an experienced, professional underwriter, to pre-qualify a consumer for a mortgage.

If consumers notice and bother to read the apps’ fine print or legal disclaimers, they’ll likely see a statement like this one: “This is not a mortgage approval or pre-approval. You must submit a separate application for a mortgage approval or a mortgage pre-approval and a full credit report.”

In other words, they’re not actually promising you a dime, let alone enough the hundreds of thousands of dollars you’ll likely need to buy a home anywhere in Canada.

What is Mortgage Pre-Approval?

In general, it will take two to five business days to investigate an individual’s financial circumstances and the risk that a person might represent to the lender. The underwriter will need the basics, such as name, address and contact information in addition to detailed data on their income, assets (e.g. stocks, RRSPs, property, vehicles, savings), liabilities (e.g. debt, loans, mortgages) and their credit rating and report as well as the available down payment. Supporting documentation may be required to prove any or all of the above.

Unlike a pre-qualifying app, lenders’ underwriters may request a letter of employment, a Notice of Assessment, pay stubs, or T4 for the two most recent years as well as documentation indicating the down payment is available. The lender or mortgage broker will also require the consumers’ permission to pull credit scores and credit reports from organizations such as Equifax.

Your credit score, typically 300 to 800+, is based on feedback from lenders who confirm that you do or don’t pay your bills in full and on time every month. The credit report includes your name, address, social insurance number and date of birth as well as your credit history, for example, your debts and assets and whether you’ve ever been sent to collection or declared bankruptcy.

“Lenders want to know how well or how poorly you manage your money and will be looking for patterns of insufficient, late and missed payments,” says Valko.

A mortgage pre-approval is generally valid for up to 120 days at a specific interest rate unless the consumers’ circumstances change, for example, employment status, down payment, or income. For example, a consumer may not realize it, but their probationary status with a new employer, whether it’s three, six or 12 months, does matter to lenders. Likewise, a move from a salaried to a contract or self-employed position will also be seen as a higher risk.

“I’ve had clients believe they were full time, salaried employees, then discover they’re still on probation when we start underwriting,” says Valko. “An electrician client left his full-time salaried position to work independently and didn’t realize it negated his mortgage pre-approval, which was based on the guaranteed weekly paycheck versus the sporadic earnings associated with self-employment.”

What is Mortgage Approval?

This is the big one. Once consumers have identified the homes they want to purchase, they need mortgage approval to buy that specific home. Lenders assess the age and condition of the homes and consider comparable homes to confirm the price being paid is fair and market value. The mortgage approval is valid until the closing date unless the buyers’ circumstances change.

“Only the mortgage approval accounts for property specifics, such as taxes or condo fees, so give your underwriter/lender time to ensure the numbers previously used are still valid and that the property is acceptable to the lender,” says Valko.

If you’re serious about the home search and purchase process, skip the mortgage pre-qualification apps. Instead, take the time and make the effort to get mortgage pre-approval, then find the home suits you best, then get mortgage approval to close the deal. Then? Enjoy your new keys.

Source: REW.ca –  Kara Kuryllowicz September 18, 2019

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