Tag Archives: mortgages

Five Ways To Tell If You’re Cut Out To Be A Landlord

 

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Investing in real estate by purchasing rental properties can be a smart way to balance your portfolio, hedge against inflation and build long-term wealth. Not everyone is cut out to be a landlord, though — but even if you feel you’re not landlord material, you can get the same portfolio benefits by investing in real estate indirectly through a private loan fund or a real estate investment trust. Here are five questions to help determine if investing directly in real estate is right for you.

1. Do you have 20% down payment and 5% to cover repairs and unexpected expenses?

Buying a rental property takes a much bigger down payment than buying a personal residence. Most lenders want at least 20% down, even if the property will generate enough income to pay the mortgage plus expenses like property taxes and hazard insurance. Having another 5% set aside to cover repairs and big-ticket expenses, such as replacing a roof or an HVAC system, may keep you from having to dip into personal funds to pay for unexpected problems.

2. How will you handle renters who don’t pay and the possibility of evicting tenants?

At some point, almost every landlord has to deal with tenants who stop paying rent. Eviction is a financial decision with emotional underpinnings. When tenants don’t pay rent, you still have to pay the mortgage, the property taxes, the water bill and all the other holding costs. But sometimes, nonpaying tenants are families with children or have unexpected circumstances like a serious illness or accident occur, leaving them unable to pay rent. If it’s too emotionally taxing to handle the eviction yourself, you can hire an attorney to represent you in court and movers to remove the tenants’ possessions from the property. Before becoming a landlord, you should know that the possibility of evicting a tenant might become a reality.

3. How do you feel about other people using your stuff?

Landlords hold security deposits because damage happens. Carpets get stained, hardwood floors get scratched and there is a fair amount of general wear and tear that should be expected in and on your property. As long as the cost to repair damages doesn’t exceed the security deposit, there shouldn’t be an issue. The real question becomes, what happens when the cost of repairs required exceed the security deposit? How will you confront your tenant to address these issues?  If contemplating this (somewhat common) scenario is stressful, becoming a landlord may not be an optimal option for you.

4. Can you wait at least 15 years for your investment to pay off?

Real estate is a long-term investment for a couple of reasons. First, the transaction costs are high. Real estate sales commissions, state and local transfer taxes, appraisals and settlement costs all reduce your resale profit. Second, the length of your mortgage dictates the monthly payment. The longer your keep your mortgage, the lower the monthly payment.

 

Source: Forbes – Bobby Montagne, CEO of Walnut Street Finance

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A LOOK BACK AT 2018

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As we approach the end of January 2019, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the accomplishments of our team during the prior calendar year.
 
As a result of changes in government regulations, the mortgage industry was impacted in ways not seen in more than a decade. Many mortgage professionals, including myself, had to rethink our strategies. It became evident that a team approach would result in a more comprehensive market approach.
 
The primary focus of 2018 was building that team. By July of 2018, the right mix of individuals were identified and began a concerted approach in servicing our clients effectively, amidst the unfamiliar territory created by the government changes.
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The team includes myself with in excess of two decades of banking, lending and mortgage brokering experience. My son Stefan McMillan, fully licensed as a mortgage professional since July 2017. Anis Rahman licensed as both a mortgage professional and a realtor since January 2017, but has in excess of thirty years of entrepreneurial experience. Nasir Zia also a licensed mortgage professional and realtor, who is the tech savvy member of the team. The final member of the team is Sidra Zia who is a licensed mortgage professional. Among the team, a total of 5 languages are spoken.
 
Each member focuses on a specific area of our mortgage brokering business. Building relationships with non-bank prime lenders is the focus of Anis. Relationships with ALT-A, B lenders and private lenders is the focus of Stefan. Nasir and Sidra both provide in depth research on new real estate opportunities for real estate investor clients outside of the Greater Toronto Area. I serve as the quarter back of the team by coaching them on client interactions, CMHC and Genworth mortgage products, client prospecting, sales forecasting, managing renewals and mortgage maturities and other business development tools.
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This team approach allowed us to finish the year with tremendous success. Two members of the team, Anis and Stefan, both received top producer awards from our broker office, Centum Supreme Mortgages Ltd. This could not have been a greater achievement for two industry professionals who have both been licensed for less than 2 years. We expect 2019 to yield much of the same successes.
 
The McMillan Group
Real Estate and Mortgages Made Simple
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Can a single person afford to buy a place in Toronto?

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On a recent evening, I was scrolling through some images of George Nelson wall sconces on my phone. (If you’re about to Google it, I ask that you not judge my extravagant taste).

I was fantasizing about how great they’d look beside my bed — but oh yeah, that would require drilling into the wall. And as a renter, I have to consider whether they’d be practical in the layout of my next place, let alone whether I’d even be allowed to drill there.

If I owned a condo I wouldn’t have to think about stuff like that.

Truth be told, I’m getting a little impatient. I want the same privileges homeowners enjoy. No surprise, then, that I woke up on my birthday last year wondering: am I really going to deal with landlords and roommates for the rest of my life?

Sure, my apartment has its charms — built-in cabinetry, surprisingly spacious bedrooms, proximity to both a pizza joint and a wine store — but every day on my way to work, I pass a brand new condo building with large wrap-around concrete balconies; that’s something my turn-of-the-century apartment building lacks. I feel a twinge of envy.

There’s a ton of pressure in Toronto’s housing market (where I hope to buy) to get in — and get in quickly. Why? Because housing prices have been going up every year.

Even housing experts are encouraging people not to wait.

“In the end, the history shows that it is more likely that the market will go up in the future. if you want to purchase you might as well do it as soon as possible,” Louis Phillipe-Menard, director of mortgage products at National Bank, told me when I called him up for his professional opinion.

The thing is, I’m single.

Based on the metrics that lenders consider, it’s less likely that a household with only one income would be able to service a mortgage for a Toronto property.

Mortgage lenders will generally only lend customers a mortgage amount that’s worth five times their annual salary (the maximum amount Canadian banks are allowed to loan you).

According to the 2016 census, the median total household income in Toronto is around $65,829. In December, the Toronto Real Estate Board reported that the median sale price of a condo was $594,381 up 11.4% from the year before. (Forget buying a house in the city — the average price for a detached home was $1.15 million.)

On a salary of that size, it’s unlikely you’ll qualify for a mortgage — unless you’ve got $100,000 saved up as a down payment.

And that’s just the sale price. There are lots of other factors that could make or break your dreams of becoming a condo owner.

The metrics lenders look at to decide if you’re loan-worthy include the gross debt service ratio, which measures the percentage of your pre-tax income needed to pay your housing costs on top of the mortgage (like taxes, insurance, utilities, and condo fees). They also look at the total debt service ratio, which measures how much of your income will go to covering existing debts.

So, even if you make an above-average salary, if you have large debts, you may not be able to get a mortgage.

Those are a lot of expenses for one person to carry. Obviously, two incomes in such a scenario are better than one. At this point, I’m thinking that my chances for homeownership are slim.

But despite those mind-boggling expenses, I keep finding people who insist that there are singletons out there living my dream.

Megan Sheppard, a real estate agent in Toronto whose clientele includes lots of single people, warns that every year you stay out of the market, you miss out on your home’s appreciation.

“If you look at the price of what you’re paying [for rent] and the [price and] appreciation of a condo, [the difference is] like a tip at a restaurant for a good meal,” says Sheppard.

Assuming the value of a condo worth $450,000 goes up in value by 6% each year, that’s an appreciation of $27,000 a year. Or, as Sheppard puts it: “Every year you rent, you’re losing the $27,000.”

Of course, past performance doesn’t equal future returns. And now buying any property has become a lot harder after the federal government imposed new rules on mortgage lenders last year. The new “stress test rule,” brought to you by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institution, went into effect in January 2018.

The new rule means that anyone who wants a mortgage must be able to show they can afford payments that are two percentage points higher than their quoted rate, or their bank’s five-year average rate — whichever one is higher.

Right now, you can put as little as 5% down when buying a home. Doing that also means you’ll have to buy insurance from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., which can add tens of thousands of dollars annually in payments to the total cost of your mortgage.

Ironically, you’re more likely to get a lower mortgage rate from your lender when you put 5% down. Why? Because your mortgage is insured — by the federal government. Meaning, the government’s left holding the bag if you default, not the bank.

Even though it’s impossible to say for sure where the market is headed, both Phillipe-Menard and Sheppard predict that for Toronto home prices, the only way is up. “Everyone wants to be here,” says Sheppard. And unless that changes, you can bet that Toronto prices are going to stay expensive.

But buying a place leads to expenses that renting doesn’t — things like interest payments, lawyer’s fees, home insurance premiums, maintenance and renovation costs, and last but not least, property taxes.

When you’re on your own, you’re on the hook for those things. Your mortgage lender doesn’t care if you lose your job.

That’s one of my biggest fears, so to assuage them, I set out to talk to another single woman who bought her own place. Thirty-one-year-old Janelle (who requested her last name not be used) bought her first house in a rural town by herself a decade ago. She knew from a young age that being a homeowner was important to her. To meet her goal, she worked while attending high school and then later college.

By the time she graduated college, she had a down payment of 20% on a home that cost roughly $120,000.

Buying a house with a down payment smaller than that is unimaginable to her — and me too, frankly.

“It baffles me that you’re paying your mortgage for 25, 30 years. If you’re only paying 5% into it, that’s another $20-25,000 in interest at the end of your mortgage,” she says.

At the end of the day, she adds, it’s still more expensive to be a homeowner.

“As soon as you get into a mortgage, a bill always seems to creep up when you least expect it. ‘I just had $1,000 saved, but oh, I have to install in a new shower.’ Once you get into a house it’s not like the bills stop,” says Janelle.

There are a few other variables you need to factor in, as well.

One is that salary growth has remained flat for most of us and it looks like it’s going to stay that way. The other one is that the Bank of Canada’s key interest rate has been rising steadily over the past two years, meaning the cost of borrowing money is going up.

Of course, your circumstances may change for the better. For renters who are stuck on the idea of one day buying a home, Sheppard advises asking yourself the following questions:

  • How much you can you currently afford in rent?
  • Do you have the potential for your income to increase?
  • Is there anyone else who can do this with you (like a parent)?

Sometimes the smartest, safest, and the most responsible option is not buying, says Sheppard. “Housing is a necessity but owning your real estate is wealth and it’s a long-term investment,” says Sheppard.

Based on my circumstances, I’ve decided to continue renting while also putting away a few hundred dollars away each month. Right now it’s acting as an emergency savings account, but maybe one day I’ll take money out for a down payment. Maybe homeownership will happen for me one day.

At the very least, saving for a home will leave me with a nice pile of savings if I ever need it. Like if I want to get myself some fancy mid-century wall sconces.

Source; Lowestrates.ca – By: Alexandra Bosanac on January 11, 2019

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What does a mortgage broker do? Your step-by-step guide

What does a mortgage broker do? A mortgage broker is a licensed individual who helps you select the mortgage product that best suits your financing needs. They do this by comparing mortgage products offered by a variety of lenders. A mortgage broker acts as the quarterback for your financing, passing the ball between you, the borrower, and the lender.

To be clear, mortgage brokers do much more than help you get a simple mortgage on your home. They can help you access equity, refinance current properties, purchase investment properties, and a myriad of other tasks to support your financial well-being.

When you go to the bank, the bank can only offer you the products and services it has available. A bank isn’t likely to tell you to go down the street to its competitor who offers a mortgage product better suited to your needs. Unlike a bank, a mortgage broker often has relationships with dozens of lenders (oftentimes some lenders that don’t directly deal with the public), making his chances that much better of finding a lender with the best mortgage for you.

Now that you have a better understanding of what does a mortgage broker do, let’s look at how a typical mortgage application looks.

Step-by-step guide to a mortgage application

What does a mortgage broker do to win your business? Your relationship with a mortgage broker will usually start with an introduction from someone you trust like a family member or friend. Or, you may find your mortgage broker online. You’ll often set up an initial phone call to go over your mortgage financing needs.

Your mortgage broker will typically ask you some basic questions about how much you’re looking to spend on a property, how much you earn and how much you intend to put down on the property. If you’re looking to refinance, access equity, or obtain a second mortgage, they will require information about your current loans already in place.

Once your mortgage broker has a good idea about what you’re looking for, he can hone in on the best mortgage solutions.

In many cases, your mortgage broker may have almost everything he needs to proceed with a mortgage application at this point. If everything goes well, he’ll ask you to provide some documentation, such as a letter of employment, notices of assessment and pay stubs to submit your application to a lender.

If you’ve already made an offer on a property and it’s been accepted, your broker will submit your application as a live deal. Once the broker has a mortgage commitment back from the lender, he’ll go over any conditions that need to be met (an appraisal, proof of income, proof of down payment, etc.).

Once you’ve completed the mortgage commitment, your broker will usually submit the paperwork and any additional documentation to the lender to sign off on. Once all the lender conditions have been met, your broker should ensure legal instructions are sent to your lawyer. Your broker should continue to check in on you throughout the process to ensure everything goes smoothly.

This, in a nutshell, is how a mortgage application works.

Why use a mortgage broker

You may be wondering why you should use a mortgage broker. Isn’t it better to just go down to the local bank branch and get help with your financial needs there?

The main advantage of using a mortgage broker is that they deal with dozens of lenders and hundreds of products. Your broker should be well-versed in the mortgage products of all these lenders. This means you’re more likely to find the best mortgage product that suits your needs.

If you’re an individual with damaged credit or you’re buying a property that’s in less than stellar condition, this is where a broker can be worth their weight in gold. Since they have access to many lenders, they are more likely to find you a lender that can assist you, unlike the banks, which may turn down your mortgage application or offer your a higher interest rate.

Even if you’ve been offered a decent mortgage from your bank, using a mortgage broker means you’re doing your own due diligence. Your broker may be able to find you a better lending solution than your bank is offering. You won’t know unless you pick up on the phone and contact a mortgage broker.

Free service: When you work with a mortgage broker, in most cases you won’t have to pay them a dime. That’s because your broker is usually compensated directly by the lender. You can get unbiased mortgage advice at zero cost – it doesn’t get any better than that!

Just be aware that some lenders offer more compensation than others. You’ll want a broker who is honest and will put you with the best lender for you, despite another lender paying a higher finder’s fee.

Save time and money: By using a mortgage broker, not only can you save money, but you can save time. When you shop on your own for a mortgage, you’ll need to apply for a mortgage at each lender. A broker, on the other hand, should know the lenders like the back of their hand and should be able to hone in on the lender that’s best for you, saving you time and protecting your credit score from being lowered by applying at too many lenders.

Negotiate on your behalf: Your broker can negotiate on your behalf with various lenders to help find you the best mortgage solution. Be sure to ask your broker how many lenders he deals with, as some brokers have access to more lenders than others and may do a higher volume of business than others, which means you’ll likely get a better rate.

This was an overview of working with a mortgage broker. By working with a broker, you’ll better your chances of negotiating a better deal on your mortgage with a lender of your choosing.

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Mark Cuban Says the Best Investment Is Paying Off Your Debt — Is He Right?

Mark Cuban Says the Best Investment Is Paying Off Your Debt -- Is He Right?

Image credit: Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock via GOBankingRates

Billionaire investor and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban said that the safest investment you can make right now is to pay off your debt, according to an interview with Kitco News earlier this year.

 

“The reason for that is whatever interest you have — it might be a student loan with a 7 percent interest rate — if you pay off that loan, you’re making 7 percent,” said Cuban. “And so that’s your immediate return, which is a lot safer than trying to pick a stock, or trying to pick real estate or whatever it may be.”

Cuban is mostly right: More often than not, paying down debt as fast as possible is going to provide the most value in the long run. And perhaps more importantly, it will do so without any real risk that comes with most investing. That said, each person’s financial situation is different, so it is worth a closer look at when it’s better to pay off debt or invest.

Debt is like investing but in reverse.

One important thing to note is that the same principals that make investing so important also make paying off your debt similarly crucial. As Cuban points out, the interest rate on your loan is essentially like the rate of return on your investments but backward. In fact, many investments are simply ways you’re letting your money get loaned out to others in exchange for them paying interest.

As such, it’s important to keep in mind that as satisfying as it might be to watch your money grow in investments, it’s doing just the opposite when you have debt.

Every loan is different.

Although debt chips away at your net worth through interest, it’s important to note that different types of borrowing do so in very different ways. Every loan is different, with some offering terms that are actually quite favorable and others that can be excessively costly.

An overdue payday loan can lay waste to your financial health in no time, but a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a competitive rate can be relatively easy to manage with good planning. Borrowers should be sure they understand what kind of debt they have and how it’s affecting their finances.

 

Focus on the interest rate.

The key factor to take note of when considering how to allocate funds is the interest rate — usually expressed as your APR. Debt with a high APR is almost always going to be better to pay down before you focus on any other financial priorities beyond the most basic necessities.

The average APR on credit cards as of August 2018 was 14.38 percent. That’s well in excess of what anyone can reasonably expect to sustain as a return on most investments, so it shouldn’t be hard to see that investing instead of paying down your credit card is almost always going to cost you money in the long run.

Does your interest compound?

Another crucial factor in understanding how your debts and your investments differ is whether or not your interest is compounding. Compounding interest — like that on most credit cards — means that the money you pay in interest is added to the amount due and you’ll then have to pay interest on it in the future. That can lead to debt snowballing and growing exponentially. So, not only do credit cards have high interest rates, but they also make for debt that’s growing faster and faster unless you take action to pay it down.

However, that same principle can work in reverse. Gains on something like stocks will also compound over time, so there’s a similar dynamic at work when comparing your investment returns to fixed interest costs.

Know your risk tolerance.

Another factor that plays a big part in the conversation is your level of risk tolerance. Note that the question Cuban was responding to earlier was about what the “safest” investment was. For most people, erring well on the side of caution when it comes to something like personal finance just makes sense, and in that case, focusing on paying off debt is pretty crucial.

However, others might decide that the long-term payoffs that are possible make it worth rolling the dice on their future. Borrowing money for investments is common despite the risks associated, with everyone from massive investment banks to investors with margin accounts opting to take a calculated risk that their returns will ultimately outpace the cost of borrowing.

 

Costs of debt are set, investment returns often are not.

One important aspect of understanding the risks involved is that the cost of your debt is usually set and predictable, but the returns on your investments are not. It might be easy to look at the historical returns of the S&P 500 at just under 10 percent a year and assume that it’s worth it to put off paying down debt for an S&P 500 ETF or index fund as long as your APR is under 10 percent.

However, that long-term average does not reflect just how chaotic the markets really are. Sure, it might average out to about 10 percent, but some years will be in the negative — sometimes over 30 percent into the red. Even with bonds — where your rate of return is fixed — there is always a chance that the borrower will default and leave you with nothing.

If you have a variable rate loan

Of course, if your loan has variable interest rates, the equation changes yet again. You could see your interest rate rise or fall depending on what the Federal Reserve does, adding another layer of uncertainty to the decision — especially when it’s impossible to say with certainty which direction interest rates are headed in for the long run.

So, although debt will typically have more certainty associated with its costs than investing, that’s not always the case and variable rate loans could change things for some borrowers.

Don’t forget taxes.

You should also remember that the tax code includes a number of provisions that promote investment, and those can boost the value of investing. In particular, contributions to a 401(k) or traditional IRA are made with before-tax income, meaning that you can invest much more of that money than you would have with your after-tax income that would be used to pay down debt.

That’s especially true when you have an employer who matches your 401(k) contributions. If your employer matches, you’re essentially getting a chance to not just avoid paying taxes on that income, but you’re doubling its value the moment you invest — before it’s even started to accrue returns.

 

Some opportunities are unique.

Another important factor to consider is what type of investments you can make. In some very specific cases, you might have access to an investment opportunity that brings with it huge potential returns that could tip the scale. Maybe a specific local real estate investment you’re particularly familiar with or a startup company run by a family member where you can get in on the ground floor.

Opportunities like this usually come with enormous risks, but they can also create transformational shifts in wealth when they pay off. Obviously, you have to gauge each opportunity very carefully and make some hard choices, but if you do feel like it’s a truly unique chance to get the sort of returns that just don’t exist with publicly-traded stocks or bonds, it might be worth putting off paying down debt — especially if those debts have fixed rates and a reasonable APR.

What really matters with debt and investments

At the end of the day, you certainly shouldn’t opt to invest money that could be used to pay down debt unless the expectation for your returns is greater than the interest rate on your debt. If your personal loan has an APR of 15 percent, investing in stocks is probably not going to return enough to make it worthwhile. If that rate is 5 percent, though, you could very well do better with certain investments, especially if that’s a fixed rate that doesn’t compound.

But, even in circumstances where you might have reasonable expectations for returns higher than your APR, you might still want to take the definite benefits of paying down debt instead of the uncertain benefits associated with investments. When a wrong move might mean having to delay retirement or delay buying a home, opting for the sure thing is hard to argue with.

Which decision is right for you?

Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet for knowing whether your specific circumstances call for you to prioritize paying down debt over everything else. Although paying down debt is typically going to be the smartest use for your money, that doesn’t mean you should do so blindly.

Putting off paying down your credit card balance to try your hand at picking some winning stocks is a (really) bad idea, but failing to make regular 401(k) contributions in an effort to pay off your fixed-rate mortgage a couple of years early is probably going to cost you in the long run — especially if you’re missing out on matching funds from your employer by doing so.

So, in a certain sense, Mark Cuban is right: Paying down debt is very rarely going to be a bad idea, and it’s almost always the safest choice. But that said, it’s still worth taking the time to examine the circumstances of your specific situation to be sure you’re not the exception that proves the rule.

Source: Entrepreneur – Joel Anderson , 

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The main reason Canadian homeowners refinance

 

The main reason that 15% of Canadian homeowners refinanced their homes was to consolidate debt.

That’s according to the CMHC Mortgage Consumer Survey which shows that debt consolidation outranked home improvements and that one third of refinancers say that their debt, including their mortgage, is higher than expected.

That said, 69% say they are comfortable with their current level of mortgage debt and 63% said that, if they run into financial problems, they have other assets they can tap to meet their needs.

The survey also showed that 68% were satisfied with their broker and 79% were satisfied with their lender but would have liked to receive more information from their mortgage professionals about mortgage or purchase fees, types of mortgages, closing costs and interest rates.

Refinancer facts
The CMC survey revealed the following insights about refinancers:

  • 24% are Generation Xers (35 – 44 years old) and 35% are baby boomers (55+ years old)
  • 54% are married
  • 61% are employed full time, 7% are self-employed and 17% are retired
  • Refinancers, along with repeat buyers, represent the highest proportion of self-employed mortgage consumers
  • 72% own a single-detached home
  • 23% have a household income of $60,000 – $90,000

Source: Canadian Real Estate – by Steve Randall 19 Nov 2018

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Homeowners’ typical mortgage payments are rising much faster than home prices

Homeowners’ typical mortgage payment is rising much faster than home prices, according to new data from CoreLogic.

The US median sale price has risen by just under 6% over the past year, according to CoreLogic. However, the principal-and-interest mortgage payment on a median-priced home has spiked by nearly 15 percent. And the trend looks set to continue – CoreLogic’s Home Price Index Forecast predicts that home prices will rise 4.7% year over year in August 2019. Mortgage payments, meanwhile, are forecast to have risen more than 11% in the same time period.

One way to measure the impact of inflation, mortgage rates and home prices on affordability is to use the so-called “typical mortgage rate,” CoreLogic said. That’s a mortgage-rate-adjusted monthly payment based on each month’s median US home sale price, calculated using Freddie Mac’s average rate on a 30-year mortgage with a 20% down payment.

“The typical mortgage payment is a good proxy for affordability because it shows the monthly amount that a borrower would have to qualify for to get a mortgage to buy the median-priced US home,” said CoreLogic analyst Andrew LePage.

While the US median sale price in August was up about 5.7% year over year, the typical mortgage payment was up 14.5% because of a neatly 0.7-percentage-point hike in mortgage rates over the time period, LePage said.

Source: Mortgage Professionals America – by Ryan Smith18 Nov 2018

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