Tag Archives: young families

A first-time buyer’s guide to understanding Canada’s mortgage stress test

Photo: James Bombales

Livabl is here to help you understand the housing market. With this comprehensive explainer, our aim is to give you a 360-view of this important issue that has been affecting the market.

For prospective homebuyers, there are several financial hoops to jump through on the way to property ownership: growing a healthy downpayment, securing a preapproval, and finding a home that fits within budget, to name a few. Yet, even with years of financial planning, the dream of homeownership can quickly come crashing down if one cannot jump through the hoop that trips up first-time and repeat buyers alike: the mortgage stress test.

In January 2018, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, a federal watchdog and the sole regulator of Canadian banks, implemented the Residential Mortgage Underwriting Practices and Procedures guideline — otherwise known as B-20. Under B-20, all new and renewing homebuyers who opt for a regulated mortgage lender are subject to a mortgage stress test, which evaluates the borrower’s ability to afford residential mortgage payments against higher interest rates. OSFI says that this policy protects Canadian homeowners from excessive debt and unaffordable mortgage payments.

“The stress test, which is one component of our B-20 guideline, is a safety buffer that ensures a borrower does not stretch their borrowing capacity to its maximum, leaving no room to absorb unforeseen events,” says OSFI in a statement to Livabl. “Borrowers across Canada face different risks that could impair their ability to pay their mortgage: changes to income, changes to expenses, changes to interest rates.”

However, the mortgage stress test does not affect everyone equally. In Canada’s most expensive markets, such as Toronto, where the average price of a home is expected to surpass $820,000 in 2019, buyers have been disqualified for mortgages by the test based on high down payment requirements. Meanwhile, in cheaper real estate markets, such as Regina, the RBC reports real estate prices fell in the third quarter of 2018. Yet, as the job market remains stagnant in some cities, meeting the income standards to pass the stress test creates a provincial disadvantage.

“The one downside is that it’s made it harder for some buyers to get into the market because what they can spend on a home now is a lot lower than what it was a year or two ago before the stress test,” says John Pasalis, Founder and President of Toronto-based brokerage Realosophy.

In other cases, desperate buyers are opting to avoid the stress test altogether by choosing to work with private lenders, who are not federally regulated by OSFI and offer much higher interest rates. Some have questioned the financial stability of the market with this increased presence of higher interest rate lenders.

“People are going to private lenders, and that brings on other risks,” says mortgage broker Elan Weintraub. “It brings on economic risks because if people are paying $4,000 a month for a private lender mortgage payment, they can’t go to restaurants, they can’t buy clothes, they can’t spend money on other things.”

If you’re a first-time buyer, don’t stress about the stress test. We turned to mortgage and real estate professionals to help answer key questions about the test.

Photo: CafeCredit.com

What does the stress test do?

All Canadian buyers are required to take the mortgage stress test, but how you are tested depends on the size of your down payment.

If you have a downpayment of less than 20 percent of the home purchase price, your mortgage is automatically insured. With the added insurance premiums, your payment rates are increased up to 4 percent higher. Insured mortgages will be tested between the interest rate offered by the regulated mortgage lender — typically, one of the top five banks of Canada — against the Bank of Canada’s conventional five-year mortgage rate (5.34 percent as of February 2019).
Those with uninsured mortgages and down payments greater than 20 percent, will be have their current rate tested, plus a two percent point increase, against the five-year bank rate. To pass the stress test, the calculated interest rate must meet the Bank of Canada’s qualifying rate or the contracted rate plus two percentage points, whichever is higher. For example, if your lender offers an interest rate of 2.99 percent for your uninsured mortgage, plus two percentage points, your calculated interest rate would need to meet the Bank of Canada’s minimum qualifying rate of 5.34 percent, since it is the greater of the two.

The mortgage stress test will consider elements such as your gross income, debt and expenses. A mortgage qualifier calculator can give you an idea how much income and down payment amount you’ll need to pass, but Pasalis recommends speaking with a mortgage broker before you begin the process.

“In the past, you could just go on some mortgage calculator and try to estimate yourself,” he says. “But with stress tests and all of these new mortgage rules, you want to go to a mortgage broker for them to tell you, in theory, what you qualify for, because that kind of really sets your expectation of what you can afford to spend on a home.”

Does it matter if I choose a variable or fixed-rate mortgage?

If you wish to secure a fixed-rate mortgage, the stress test may dash those hopes.

Fixed-rate mortgages are typically priced higher than variable-rate mortgages, as variable-rate payments fluctuate with interest rates and a higher proportion of a mortgage payment goes to principal. These higher fixed-rates can limit your options when applied to the stress test. As Weintraub describes, borrowers looking at a fixed-rate of 3.69 percent with an uninsured mortgage, plus two percentage points, wouldn’t qualify against the Bank of Canada’s rate.

“There are some clients who are so tight they can’t have a 5.69 [percent] stress test, they need a 5.34 [percent] stress test, so they have to get the variable rate even if they want fixed,” says Weintraub. “If you make a lot of money you can have both options, but if you have a very tight file, you might only have the option of variable.”

I want to change mortgage lenders. Will I have to retake the stress test?

A common criticism of the stress test is its tendency to trap borrowers with their current lenders. Buyers who purchased their home prior to the stress test are still required to participate. For those who won’t pass, it means staying with the same mortgage lender to avoid disqualification.

“Imagine that you want to renew your mortgage but you technically don’t qualify under the new stress test. You’re technically handcuffed with that same lender,” says Pasalis. “They can charge you eight percent interest and you can’t do anything about it.”

While OSFI ensures that the stress test, “contributes to public confidence in the Canadian financial system,” Weintraub questions whether this element of the policy benefits the market overall.

“If the bank knows the borrower cannot leave, how competitive are they going to be with their rates?” he says. “Some of my lowest interest rates are when their mortgage is expiring and I can move them to a new lender. But if they don’t pass the stress test, they’re basically forced to stay with their current lender, which doesn’t make sense.”

Photo: PlusLexia.com

Can I avoid the stress test?

If you’re a nervous test taker and want to sit out, then you do have the choice to not take the stress test — but at a cost.

The mortgage stress test does not apply to unregulated mortgage finances companies, called MFCs. While provincially regulated, these lenders operate in the private market, which makes loan approvals easier to obtain, but at higher rates. Weintraub suggests that an MFC lender should be reserved for short-term loan options.

“If you’re a first time buyer dying to buy a place and you go to a private lender, I don’t necessarily know if that’s the right solution,” says Weintraub. “I think private lenders are meant for very short term solutions, to help someone in a very specific situation, and then to get out of that situation ideally in 12 months or less.”

Pasalis says that MFCs tend to take on riskier borrowers, so higher interest rates compensate for that liability. But these higher payments, Weintraub says, can push new buyers into being house poor.

“It’s meant to be a stop gap, it’s not meant to be a long-term, sustainable way to borrow money, because it’s very expensive,” he says.

What happens if I fail the stress test?

Flunking the stress test is not the end — you can always retry later with a higher down payment or increased income. Weintraub says that the Bank of Mom and Dad could be available for some buyers looking for a mortgage co-signer or a boost in down payment funds. However, he recommends evaluating whether homeownership is truly worth it if this is the case.

“I would say that buying is not for everyone and sometimes we get into this whole, ‘I need to buy, I need to buy,’ mentality,” says Weintraub. “But there are certain situations where renting is a great option.”

While there has been increasing pressure for OSFI to provide policy relief for those in expensive markets, they remain firm on preventing “relaxed mortgage underwriting standards.” Pasalis says that there is always future potential for first-time buyer relief, but overall, exceptions to a national policy are unlikely to be made for individual market conditions.

“They can’t craft out different policies for Vancouver and Toronto and by municipalities,” he says. “I think the market will adjust to it.”

Source: Livabl.com –   

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Mortgage Leads From Facebook Messenger? Believe It.

 

Nine out of 10 mortgage professionals can’t generate good quality leads from the web. Are you one of them?

If you want to grow your mortgage business, you have to steadily and consistently generate good quality prospects and leads. However, the landscape is changing rapidly and moving in a direction where conventional marketing is becoming less effective at generating qualified and engaged prospects that you can turn into mortgage deals.

There’s both a huge problem and an even bigger opportunity here, depending on how you look at it. Smart brokerages will capitalize on this change in market behaviour and take advantage of it for significant growth.  Others will ignore it, and continue marketing themselves the way they’ve always done it, and risk being left behind.

With all the powerful tools we implement in our marketing and all the money we spend to get our message in front of the right people, we still fall far short of meeting people where they are and giving them what they need the way they want it.

But there has been no other option up to this point. Text-based email open rates continue to decline as inboxes are flooded with noise. And it isn’t slowing down.

  • Average open rate across industries: 20.8%
  • Average click rate across industries: 2.43%

 

People are shifting how they do everything from accessing music and media to searching for and purchasing products. It’s all going mobile through apps.

People are using their smartphones and tablets more than ever to search for and consume media, information, education, and to search for, research and purchase products and services.

And they’re using apps to do it instead of browsers.

Mobile More Prevalent Than Ever

  • People today have two times more interactions with brands on mobile than anywhere else—including TV, in-store, etc. (Google, 2017)
  • 80% of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies with mobile sites or apps that help them easily answer their questions. (Google, 2018)
  • 94% of respondents in a Facebook survey (of one million people) have a smartphone on hand while watching TV. (Facebook, 2018)
  • During TV shows, viewers paid attention to mobile 28% of the time, and during TV ads, they paid attention to mobile more than half the time. People ages 18–24 looked at their smartphones 60% of the time during TV ads, and people ages 45 and over did so 41% of the time (Facebook, 2018)

I hope it’s becoming clear that mobile is the future of the mortgage business and marketing online. Now, let’s look at how people are using their mobile devices.

Spam filters are becoming more strict and almost too good at restricting access, to the point where your content may not be seen by your prospective clients.

The experience is broken. When you click a link you have to leave your email client and move to another application to view the content. On top of that, people have become wise to text-based email marketing and are less responsive to it.

NBC News, 2018

What are They Doing on Their Mobile Devices?

Consumers are using apps on their mobile devices significantly more than web browsers to get things done.  And social media apps and messaging apps are at the top of the list.

It’s clear that people want an instant, seamless, frictionless experience that meets them where they are and gives them the power to do it their way. Apps give them that.

  • Apps account for 89% of mobile media time, with the other 11% spent on websites. (Smart Insights)
  • Users spend on average 69% of their media time on smartphones (Comscore, 2017)
  • In 2017, 95.1% of active Facebook user accounts accessed the social network via a mobile device (Statista, 2018)

Your customers are on Facebook and Facebook Messenger where it’s easier to reach them and get their attention.

What is Facebook Messenger & Why Should I Care?

Messenger is Facebook’s messaging platform and application. Think text messaging, but through Facebook and 100 times more powerful and better.

And 1.2 billion people use it monthly on both desktop through browser and on mobile through dedicated apps.

And everyone who interacts through Facebook Messenger has a Facebook profile, which means they can be targeted by ads.

Most importantly, this is a messaging app that people use to communicate with friends and family regularly so they’re very comfortable using it.  And it’s how they want to communicate.

So if that’s the case, wouldn’t it make sense to tap into that channel if you could?

Well you can, and it’s one of the best marketing decisions you can make, if you make it soon.

Why Use Facebook Messenger as a Marketing Channel?

Statistics show Facebook Messenger is a channel you should pay attention to.

  • Over 2 billion messages are sent each month between people and businesses. If you think Facebook Messenger is only for people and not brands, you’re wrong. (Inc)
  • 260 million new conversations are started daily. These are not just new threads between people, but between people and businesses too. This number will only grow. (Inc)
  • Messaging apps surpassed social networks in monthly active users sometime in 2015 according to a report on Business Insider.
  • Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion users. That is more users than Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram combined. (Inc)
  • Messenger adds 100 million new users every five to six months. Facebook Messenger hit 1.3 billion users in September 2018. (Inc)
  • 64% of monthly Facebook users use messenger. (DMR, 2018)
  • Users have 7 billion conversations on Messenger every day. That’s over 2.5 trillion conversations every year. For comparison, Snapchat users send 3 billion photos per day. (Inc)

One of the Best Marketing Opportunities

By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships with businesses without interacting with a human (Gartner).

Commerce is moving that way, whether you adopt it or not.

This tool and channel allows you to communicate with customers the way THEY want: one-to-one, on their phones or tablets, whenever is convenient for them.

It keeps your customers within the safety of Facebook and removes friction and barriers from the process, making it easier to move the relationship forward faster.

And, most importantly, Facebook Messenger marketing creates conversations, not leads. You don’t need a complex funnel when you interact with customers the way they want.

The result is a better experience for the customer and that translates to a better first impression of your brand, which leads to a whole host of benefits for both you and your clients in the long term.

So… let’s talk about what you would actually get out of Facebook Messenger marketing if you decided to implement it for your mortgage business.

Messenger Marketing – What’s in it for My Mortgage Business?

(Search Engine Journal, 2018)

1) Generates a conversation, not a lead.

In every other type of marketing you can do for your mortgage business, you’re never in an active conversation with the prospect in real time throughout the marketing process.

Marketing is meant to drive people to the conversation and make that conversation happen. Although, it can take a while. It’s never instant. Facebook Messenger makes this possible.

Now imagine this scene for a minute:

What if when you were watching a TV commercial, you could just walk up and press a button on the screen during the commercial and a conversation started right there between you and a person from that company?

That is exactly what happens with Facebook Messenger marketing. The customer clicks the ad and the conversation starts. The moment they click, they’re in an active dialogue with you and your brand.

That means you get to talk to them the moment they’re most interested in what you’re offering.

2) It gives the customer the simplest path to getting their problem solved without confusion.

It feels natural to them, so their guard comes down. Every time you have to leave one app for another to get something done, the friction reduces the likelihood you will turn them into a customer.

Most sales and marketing funnels are comprised of landing pages in one tool, a website on another platform, text-based email marketing in another tool, analytics in another tool…you get the picture.

That means that the user is going to have to figure out how to navigate through landing pages and multiple emails and website pages to finally get to the point where they can take the next step.

The image below is a comparison of a customer’s experience through a conventional landing-page funnel versus a Facebook Messenger funnel experience.

  • Each dot represents a touch.
  • Each red arrow represents a change from one software, app or device to another throughout the process.

The entire conversion process can take place almost entirely within Messenger. It’s a straight path to a solution.

That means prospects trust your brand faster and convert into a qualified lead and customer faster.

3) It’s automated, but not too much.

Once the user clicks the ad, they go directly to Facebook Messenger where the conversation is handled automatically by a Messenger bot.

A “bot” is simply a software version of a robot that you program to converse with users through Facebook Messenger just like a person…well, almost.

This means that your virtual assistant (the bot) is having a conversation behind the scenes with your prospective client, qualifying them, giving them more resources, gathering information about them, getting them interested and ready to talk to someone.

Then that prospect is handed over to the business to take over by phone or a scheduled appointment.

All of the lead generation and prequalification happens automatically.

4) Open up a channel four times more effective than email to communicate with your prospective customer whenever you want.

For someone to get value from what you send them, they have to consume it/access it/find it.

Facebook Messenger has an 80% open rate compared to text-based email with only 24%. Facebook Messenger has a 56% response rate compared to text-based email with less than 3%

Using Messenger Marketing in your Mortgage Business

Marketing is becoming harder and more expensive. People aren’t listening to channels like email and phone calls like they used to. They’re migrating to apps on their mobile devices to search for your services and products and do everything else.

With this huge shift in consumers to mobile, you need to have a strategy that focuses on reaching them there and engaging with them the way they want to do it – through apps like Facebook Messenger.

Let me ask you two quick questions.

1) Is your mortgage business positioned to take advantage of the mobile channel and channels like Facebook Messenger marketing rather than get left behind?

And…

2) Do you want to continue to generate leads that are getting more and more expensive by the day that hardly ever turn into conversations, let alone customers?

If your answer is “No” to either or both of the above questions, Facebook Messenger marketing could be the solution you need. If you want to explore this form of marketing for your mortgage business, or you have some questions, let’s connect and talk. Feel free to email me directly at javed@empression.ca

Source: Canadian Mortgage Trends – Javed S. Khan 

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How couples can save for a downpayment and stop arguing about money

According to a poll by the Bank of Montreal, 68 percent of Canadian couples surveyed cited fighting over money as a top reason for divorce, ahead of infidelity. Buying a home together only raises the stakes — bank accounts are merged, couples are collectively preparing for the biggest purchase of their lives and are budgeting together to chip away at a downpayment.

Octavia Ramirez is the founder of Paper & Coin — a financial coaching company that helps Millennials reach their personal finance goals. “Money can be a huge stressor in relationships. So why not get ahead of the problem?” she says.

Photo: Paper and Coin 

The finance pro is uniquely qualified to help couples. Since getting married, Ramirez has never once fought about money with her husband. “Obviously, I enjoy finances but it’s taken years of practice to get here,” she tells Livabl.

It all comes down to communication and understanding your partner’s unique worldview — especially when it comes to money. Dr. Katelyn Gomes (Ph.D., C.Psych), a clinical psychologist with CBT Associates, echoes this: “We each have unique personal histories that define our values, rules, dislikes and assumptions for living in and viewing the world — including how we spend money, save money, even what’s important in the home you purchase.”

Octavia Ramirez and Dr. Katelyn Gomes spill their tips for communicating about finances and, in turn, making your partnership even stronger.

Photo: James Bombales

1. Work together as a team by joining your accounts

“I often see couples not working together as a team by splitting their expenses. This divides your efforts and can interfere with what you’re trying to accomplish,” Ramirez explains.

When it comes to buying a home, Ramirez makes a case for joining your bank accounts, “When my husband and I get paid, it all goes into the same checking account and we move the money accordingly. We don’t treat it as my money, your money. Consider that both of your incomes together are the grand total.”

When couples put their savings into separate accounts, they also diminish their returns. “Splitting your accounts is a democratic way of doing things, but you won’t get as much bang for your buck that way,” she says.

Ultimately, if you’re in a serious committed relationship, be in a serious committed relationship. “If you divide things based on your separate incomes, it gives the person who makes more a leg-up versus feeling like you’re equally respected in the relationship,” says Ramirez.

Ultimately, you will both be living in the house together. If one person makes considerably less, going 50/50 can potentially lead to selling yourself short — and building resentment long-term.

Photo: Paper and Coin

2. Agree on your collective goals, then make a transparent budget

Ramirez often hears her clients explain that they have budgets — in their head. “It’s important to have a shared document that communicates your budget and spending at a glance.”

Before putting numbers into a Google spreadsheet, agree on your short-term and long-term financial goals with your partner. Working towards homeownership? Start by determining the cost of the house you want to buy, then work backwards to see how much you will need to save each year to make it happen.

“Once you know how much you’ll have to save in the year ahead, go back month-by-month and see what areas of your budget can be cut or if you can increase your income to reach that goal,” explains Ramirez.

Even if it means passing on your yearly vacation and doing a staycation, instead.

Octavia and Will Ramirez. Photo: Paper and Coin

3. Have regular budget meetings with your partner

Once you’ve set your budget and are tracking your expenses and spending, set monthly or bi-monthly meetings to stay on track.

“Getting a downpayment together is a huge accomplishment. It’s a long-term process and there are occasionally going to be slip-ups in your savings efforts. It’s important to come back together regularly to remind yourself of your ‘why’. Maybe you didn’t reach your goal one month. Don’t dwell on it for too long, and instead decide together to get back on the saddle,” says Ramirez.

Dr. Katelyn Gomes explains, “We have this tendency to incorporate comments from our partners using faulty or unhelpful interpretations. These are known as cognitive distortion and it includes things like mindreading, jumping to conclusions, catastrophizing or thinking of the worst-case scenario. When we think our partners opinion, wants or needs don’t align with our lens it can lead to difficulties in communication, clashes or arguments.”

When you keep the lines of communication open over your spending habits, it creates an opportunity to have the necessary dialogue to avoid miscommunications or jumping to conclusions.

“Whether it’s contentious or not, just showing up to have that conversation is really important to keep couples on the same page,” explains Ramirez.

Photo: Paper and Coin

4. Save for an emergency fund

To avoid major money stress down the line, Ramirez recommends having an emergency fund in place: “Before you buy a house, prioritize saving three to six months of expenses in advance. If you break up or someone loses a job, you won’t risk going into extreme debt while you figure out your next move.”

5. Stay in the loop, even if you aren’t handling the finances

If you’re the one to handle the finances, Ramirez recommends letting your partner in on exactly what’s going on — whether it’s your insurance policy, the status of the car payments, how much interest you’re paying on the mortgage, or how much credit card debt each person has brought into the relationship.

“Because I enjoy finances, there’s a temptation to not keep my husband in the loop,” says Ramirez. “But even when I handle everything, I always debrief him after. He knows the passwords for the bank accounts and where things go, so he can take over at any point. Having everything on the table encourages you to trust each other.”

Source: Livabl.com –  

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Renting Versus Buying: A Real Estate Expert Breaks It Down for Us

The renting versus buying dilemma is one my friends have started to face since they’ve begun leaving Manhattan and escaping to the suburbs (I’m still not there yet, but when I think about how much money I “throw away” each year on rent, it’s actually cringe-worthy). But, maybe it’s true when they say the grass is always greener. Buying doesn’t come without its own set of problems, considering both sets of my friends who recently purchased homes faced movers damaging their patio, gas leaks, and even a broken washing machine within the first week. (They’ve confided in me that their bank accounts are still recovering.)

Since we’re no experts on the topics, we decided to tap Scott McGillivray, a real estate/renovation expert and TV host, to get his professional take. “Neither renting or buying is intrinsically right or wrong,” he says. “It basically comes down to your goals and your lifestyle.” That being said, he encourages getting into the real estate market once you feel financially prepared to do so. And what if you’re worried about going all in? McGillivray suggests trying a practice mortgage in which for one year while you’re renting, you put aside the amount you’d have to pay as a homeowner (mortgage, property tax, potential repairs). This gives you a realistic idea of how your lifestyle and budget will be affected if you buy.

“If you can manage, go for it,” the expert says. “And the bonus is that at the end you’ll have some extra cash for a down payment.” Since renting versus buying is no small debate, we asked McGillivray to break down all the pros and cons for each. Keep reading to get the full scoop.

 

 

Source: MyDomaine.com – by 

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12 most affordable cities for millennial first-time homebuyers

Affordability stands in the way for millennials as one of the main barriers to homeownership.

But not all housing markets are created equal, and many cities offer this generation plenty of options within a price range they can afford.

“Millennials who dream of owning a home will have better luck if they move inland to places like St. Louis, Columbus and Pittsburgh,” Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather said in a press release. “These cities used to have economies that relied heavily on manufacturing, and during the recession a lot of young people moved away in search of jobs.”

With home price growth currently plateauing, the time for millennial buyers to strike could be now before that changes.

“However, now these cities have more diverse economies based on education, healthcare and technology, and there are open jobs with salaries that are high relative to cost of living. But millennials may want to move as quickly as possible because even in most inland cities the share of homes affordable to the typical millennial is shrinking as housing prices go up,” Fairweather said.

From just below the Mason-Dixon Line to the gateway to the West, here’s a look at the 12 housing markets with the highest percentage of homes affordable to millennial purchasers with median incomes.

Redfin calculated the share of homes in each housing market that were affordable during 2018 to households making the median income for millennials in that metro area, assuming a 20% down payment, an interest rate of 4.64% and a monthly mortgage payment no more than 30% of gross income.

 

12. Baltimore, Md.

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Median list price: $308,595
Median millennial salary: $85,562
Homes affordable to millennials: 81.3%

11. Raleigh, N.C.

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Median list price: $298,081
Median millennial salary: $76,729
Homes affordable to millennials: 81.4%

 

10. Oklahoma City, Okla.

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Median list price: $198,000
Median millennial salary: $60,462
Homes affordable to millennials: 82.8%

9. Indianapolis, Ind.

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Median list price: $190,000
Median millennial salary: $62,054
Homes affordable to millennials: 83.5%

 

8. Cleveland, Ohio

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Median list price: $164,900
Median millennial salary: $56,151
Homes affordable to millennials: 84%

7. Minneapolis, Minn.

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Median list price: $284,900
Median millennial salary: $83,933
Homes affordable to millennials: 85.1%

 

6. Kansas City, Mo.

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Median list price: $225,000
Median millennial salary: $71,313
Homes affordable to millennials: 85.2%

5. Hartford, Conn.

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Median list price: $249,900
Median millennial salary: $76,235
Homes affordable to millennials: 85.7%

 

4. Cincinnati, Ohio

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Median list price: $199,900
Median millennial salary: $68,511
Homes affordable to millennials: 85.9%

3. Columbus, Ohio

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Median list price: $215,500
Median millennial salary: $71,181
Homes affordable to millennials: 87.1%

 

2. Pittsburgh, Pa.

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Median list price: $179,900
Median millennial salary: $70,169
Homes affordable to millennials: 87.5%

1. St. Louis, Mo.

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Median list price: $189,900
Median millennial salary: $68,805
Homes affordable to millennials: 88.1%
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Source; National Mortgage News – Paul Centopani February 12 2019
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The fast track to your first home

Thinking about buying your first home? Saving for a down payment sooner rather than later is easier than you think. Here are nine strategies to boost your financial fitness and fast-track your way to homeownership.

  1. GAUGE YOUR FINANCIAL FITNESS

You need an honest assessment to know which areas of your financial house are on track and which areas need improvement. Get your Financial Fitness Score by taking the Genworth Canada/Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services Financial Fitness survey at caccs.ca.

  1. CHECK YOUR CREDIT

Order a copy of your credit report from TransUnion or Equifax so you can check your credit score and history, as well as ensure there are no errors. Contact the credit report-ing agency if you identify any mistakes.

  1. BUMP UP YOUR CREDIT SCORE

The higher your credit score, the better the lending terms you’ll receive, whether for a mortgage, car or consumer credit loan. The most effective ways of improving your credit score are paying your bills on time, dramatically paying down – or, better yet, clearing – your credit card balance each month and repaying any loans.

  1. CREATE A MONTHLY BUDGET – AND TRIM THE FAT

Find a template online or download a household budgeting app to your smartphone. How much do you spend each month on rent, utilities, transportation, groceries, child-care, insurance, gym memberships and clothing? You need accurate info about your income and expenditure to evaluate how much house you can afford. At the end of the month, you’ll be able to spot patterns and identify the most effective places to save money, whether your spending vice is a two-lattes-per-day habit or too many taxi rides each month.

 

  1. DETERMINE HOW MUCH HOUSE YOU CAN AFFORD

Use your budget to evaluate how much of a mortgage you can afford. A bank may approve you for monthly mortgage payments of up to 32 per cent of your gross monthly household income, but can you afford it? Work out what your future expenses will look like each month (mortgage + insurance + utilities + taxes + other expenses). Do you make enough to cover this – with enough left over to save? If not, maintain breathing room by opting for a more affordable first home.

  1. START “PAYING” YOUR MORTGAGE

If your future mortgage payments will cost approximately $1,800 per month and you currently pay $1,300 in rent, now’s the time to start setting aside an extra $500 per month, so you can get into the habit of budgeting $1,800 per month for shelter. That will grow your savings faster.

  1. BULK UP YOUR INCOME

Another way to hold on to your money is to make more of it! Consider a second job, extra hours or selling those collectibles on eBay. (Bonus: Fewer boxes on moving day!)

  1. PAY YOURSELF FIRST

Get serious about paying yourself first by setting up bi-weekly automatic transfers from your chequing account to your savings account. Beyond the down payment and closing costs associated with a new home, homeownership might come with surprise expenses like a leaky roof and a broken washing machine. A healthy savings account will make you less stressed about those possibilities.

  1. CONSIDER PROFESSIONAL ADVICE

Once you’re on track, see a financial advisor to work out short- and long-term strategies for your ongoing financial goals, from homeownership to retirement savings. You’ll get more from the meeting if you have already determined your goals and actions.

Source: HomeOwnership.ca

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Do You Know Your Clients?

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Mortgage Professionals – get to know your clients! Millennials are just one of the surveyed groups from our Mortgage Consumer Survey. 

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