how to pay mortgage

Numbers Tell The Truth!

There is never a dull moment in the Canadian mortgage landscape with new rules introduced by the Minister of Finance and OSFI, Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions.  I want to state upfront that I support these changes with the exception of reducing secured lines of credit (HELOCs) from 80% to 65% of home values.  Canada's housing market has been very hot since the credit crunch of late 2008 and the house prices to income ratio gap has grown significantly due to stimulus low mortgage rates.I want to clarify what families will be facing in 2016, 2017 and beyond.  Today's 5 year fixed rates are in the low 3's (3.09%-3.19%) which are fantastic.  However, the extended period of low interest rates will be followed by periods of high interest rates due to the following:

  • Focus will turn from stimulus in the global economy to combating inflation due to excessive stimulus (money printing and quantitative easing) since 2008
  • Cost of borrowing will increase due the European credit crisis which will only intensify as Italy & Spain (3rd & 4th largest economies in Europe) deal with their debt issues. As you recall, in late 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed, money (capital) disappeared from the market, creating a supply issue and variable mortgages went from primes less 0.75% to prime plus 1% in a short period of time

I want to share the following numbers to help you see where I am going:

Family household income (pre-tax): $100,000 Income tax bracket: 45% Mortgage amount: $400,000 Interest rate: 3.09% Mortgage amortization: 30 years Monthly payment: $1912 Renewal Rate in 2017: 5.5% (an increase of 2-2.5% over 5 years is very reasonable based on historical data and the above stated issues) Mortgage payment at renewal: $2103 (increase of $416 per month)

Some would assume taking on an additional $416 per month in 5 years is doable.  Let's dissect a little further:

In order to absorb $416 of additional mortgage payment, the family's pre-tax income has to increase by $9,000.  That might sound reasonable , however, it's equivalent to getting 2.5% raise every year for the next 5 years.  The economy is not in the greatest condition: not many companies are hiring, some are cutting back and the reality is keeping a job nowadays is great news. Furthermore, the increased cost of living (property taxes as municipalities deal with their debt and deficit issues, gasoline which affects goods prices, higher hydro rates....) will eat away into a family's affordability. I didn't mention that children cost more as they grow up!

This blog post is a reality check.  We have been drunk for too long on cheap money.  Plan for the long term and understand how future events should play into your decisions today.  This is a golden opportunity to consider long term mortgages such as a 10 year fixed.

To get more information please visit: www.10YearFixedMortgages.com

Whether you agree or disagree with me, I would love to hear from you.

Don't Buy An Investment Property For Cashflow!

You are probably thinking "What is he saying, especially since he always talks about buying an investment property is buying a business". You are correct, buying an investment property is buying a business. Here is what I mean:A property is purchased at $625,000 with a mortgage of $500,000 (80% loan to value), borrowed at 3.99% for a 10 year term amortized over 35 years.  Rental income for the duplex is $3800 per month, which nets $800 after taking into account 10% safety (for repairs & maintenance as well as vacancy).

There are 2 options when it comes to using the surplus:

  1. Increase the mortgage payment by $800 per month
  2. Use the lump sum feature to pay down the mortgage $800 every month or at a set frequency (quarterly or semi-annually)

If the real estate investor is planning to acquire more properties, option 2 is best, since increasing the mortgage payment would hinder qualification of further properties.  The pre-payment feature would accomplish the same result without sacrificing the ability to qualify for more investment properties.

Let's dig deeper into the numbers:

If the mortgage is pre-paid by $800 every month, the mortgage amortization would drop from 35 years to 20.25 years! Imagine what would it feel like if you owned your investment property free and clear 15 years ahead of schedule and what that additional income would do to your lifestyle.

The next time you are buying an investment property, don't buy it to use the cashflow for personal expenditure, rather use it to payoff the mortgage.

Every real estate investor has unique goals, to discuss your personal real estate investment portfolio and goals, please contact me.

 

Getting A Mortgage Is Like Day Trading!

Have you recently shopped for a mortgage? Were you trying to choose the lowest available rate? Many Canadians shop based on "lowest rate" and I don't blame them.  When was the last time a homeowner sat down with a mortgage broker or banker to discuss a strategy for their mortgage?  I'm sure you will understand where I'm going with this, let's say you have $50,000 to invest:

  • How would you go about choosing a financial planner?
  • Would you choose a financial planner based on the stock/mutual fund price on that day?
  • How will you choose which financial planner gets to manage your investments if all them have the same stock/mutual fund price?

I believe the majority of people choose their financial planner based on their belief the planner can deliver the proposed strategy that will achieve their long term goals.

Now let's go back to mortgages, let's say you receive 3 different rate quotes which are exactly the same, how will you choose who will get the privilege of managing your debt?  If you have an asset manager shouldn't you have a debt manager?

I believe that a mortgage professional is ought to provide more than filling out applications and quoting rates.  They should provide a well executed strategy to achieve your desired mortgage freedom, a mortgage product that fits your changing lifestyle and a mortgage term based on current and projected economic conditions.

A stock is chosen by a day trader by timing the market whereas a mortgage is a vehicle to achieve your financial freedom.

To discuss your personal mortgage financing needs, please contact me.

How To Use A 40 Year Mortgage To Payoff A Mortgage In 20 Years

You might be thinking can I really use a 40 year mortgage to payoff a mortgage in 20 years.  The answer is yes. Here is a real example of a recent client case that I helped structure:  Client has one rental property which he was paying down aggressively by taking all the net cash flow ($400 monthly) and putting it down on the principal.  This might sound like a good idea, however it is inefficient.  Here is why:

  • Paying down an investment property aggressively reduces interest portion of mortgage payment which is tax deductible, therefore resulting in higher taxable income
  • Net positive cash flow can be used to pay down non tax efficient debt (home mortgage)

The solution for the client was the following:

  • Leave the investment property mortgage at its original 40 year amortization (which is still available for conventional mortgages)
  • Use the net positive cash flow ($400 per month) to paydown principal residence ($300,000 mortgage amortized over 30 years at 3.29% is reduced to 20 years of amortization saving $62,461 of interest payments)

The cash repositioning helped the client paydown their principal residence, save thousands of interest dollars and be tax efficient.  It is important when choosing a mortgage for your investment property, the right product is selected that will fit into your long term goal.  Please consult with your accountant regarding your taxes.

In conclusion, there is more to mortgages than rates.  If a mortgage product is used properly, mortgage freedom can achieved faster which is the goal of many homeowners.

To discuss your personal mortgage situation, please contact me.

How I Ended Up With 2% Equity In My Home!

Over the last few years, real estate prices have appreciated considerably where some first time home buyers have had a hard time qualifying for a mortgage.  Nevertheless, some are able to scramble the minimum 5% downpayment (or have some of the downpayment gifted by a family member) to start their journey of home ownership.

When buying a home with 5% downpayment, the mortgage has to be insured per Government requirement.  The insurance premium is 2.75% (for 25 year amortization) or 2.95% (for 30 year amortization) which equates to the homeowner having 2.25% to 2.05% equity in their home at the day of closing.  In the first few years of homeownership, the majority of the mortgage payment pays for the interest portion and minimal mortgage principal is paid down.  It's important to keep in mind that if one is planning to move in 5 years (outgrow the 1 bedroom condo), once the costs (realtor fees, legal fees, downpayment requirement for new home & closing costs) are taken into account, the seller might find themselves to be short of funds which will mean they have to stay for a longer period of time in their current home.

It's important to have a plan to paydown the mortgage principal which fits a person's long term goals. Afterall, getting a mortgage, setting the payment and forgetting about it is not a sound approach to financial freedom.

To discuss your personal mortgage financing needs, please contact me.

2 Factors That Can Affect Your Home Value

The second factor that can affect your home value is jobs creation or an unemployment spike. Cities or towns that are reliant on one major industry are exposed to large swings in real estate values.
For example cities such as Windsor and Oshawa are reliant on the automotive industry. Since the automotive industry downturn, many jobs that support the auto industry have been lost as well (tool & die, transportation, manufacturing companies, sub suppliers...). As unemployment numbers rise, the supply demand pendulum swings towards more people selling their homes and/or less having the appetite to buy homes since there is a lack of job security which lowers real estate values.  This has been evident in Windsor over the last few years which continues to struggle in creating jobs.

Keep in mind the next time you are looking for a home or an investment property in a city, to take a look at job creation activities such as companies relocating or expanding, infrastructure investment or a city that is diversified in multiple industies. Afterall, having all the city's eggs in one basket is risky!

To discuss your personal mortgage needs, please contact me.

2 Factors That Can Affect Your Home Value

Toronto and GTA's real estate values have increased significantly over the last 10 years.  The prices continue to increase as the global economy struggles to emerge out of the slowdown since late 2008.  There are 2 factors that can negatively affect the housing market in Toronto, GTA as well as Canada: Interest rate and/or unemployment spike.

1/ Interest Rate Spike

For the last 3 years, Canadian homeownerns and real estate investors have enjoyed historically low interest rates which have resulted in record sales and prices.  Interest rates have remained low to stimulate consumer spending and promote GDP growth.  As Canadians reach record debt levels (approximately $1.50 of debt to $1 earned), Canadians are running out of steam for further debt accumulation. Many Canadians have fixed mortgages in the 3.3%-3.8% and variable mortgages at the prime minus level.

In order to save the global economy from a depression, governments around the world took on aggressive stimulus (printing money) since late 2008 which will result in high inflation sometime in the future.  As inflation becomes the primary objective of governments, interest rates will have to rise to control and moderate inflation.  Canada is already experiencing high inflation numbers, however the Bank of Canada is choosing to keep its benchmark rate low due to the uncertainty originating out of Europe.

A spike in interest rates would effect Canadians since mortgages will renew at higher interest rates and unsecured loans would cost more.  Based on August 2011 data, the affordability index in Toronto for 2 storey homes and bungalows is at 61.4% and 51.9% respectively (http://goo.gl/8rK5B). If one assumes that an income earner is taxed at 40%, it means that in order to buy a 2 storey or bungalow in Toronto, 2 incomes are required. Condos are a more affordable option in Toronto at 34.2%.

A spike in interest rates which diminish the ability of many to qualify for a mortgage especially insured since qualification is based on posted rates.  Demand would therefore be reduced since less buyers can qualify for a mortgage.

The main point to take away from this post is to have a plan regarding mortgage/debt paydown and plan to renew ones mortgage at a 6% level.  For more information, click here.

My next post will discuss unemployment spike.

What's Happening To Variable Mortgages?

What Was That Lender's Name Again?

Mortgage brokers promote dealing with 20 or more lenders.  However, many homeowners only recognize the big 6 banks they have seen on street corners.  So who are these other lenders that brokers promote?In Canada, approximately 25% of homeowners use the services of a mortgage broker.  These lenders are Canadian owned and operated, but choose to fund their mortgages through the broker channel to cut overhead costs on "brick and mortar".  Afterall, having full-time salaried employees with benefits cost money, not to mention the costs of operating a bank branch.  Due to the reduction of expenses for the "non-bank" lenders, they tend to pass on the savings to borrowers through lower rates.

What are The Risks of Dealing With Non-Bank Lenders?

There is a mis-conception, especially after the financial credit crunch in late 2008, that borrowers will lose their homes if the mortgage is funded by a non-bank lender.  This is absolutely not true.  The risk is assumed by the lender since they are the ones giving out their money with the understanding the borrower will repay the mortgage on time.  Also, keep in mind these lenders function under the Canadian Government rules and laws.

Why Should I Choose a Non-Bank Lender Over A Bank?

You don't have to.  A non-bank lender is an option that is presented by your mortgage professional to consider.  Other important factors to consider when choosing a lender are:

  • How is the mortgage penalty calculated?
  • If I decide to lock in, do I get the posted or discounted rate (typically 1.5% difference)?
  • What features are built into the mortgage (pre-payment, increased payment, portable, assumable...)?
  • What are the fine print terms that I should be aware of?
  • Who & how will my mortgage be managed? Afterall, getting a mortgage is one thing but working with someone who will oversee the mortgage and optimize it to reduce overall interest is another skill (click here for inflation hedge mortgage strategy)

Bottom line, if you pay your mortgage on time no on will take your home away!  This is Canada afterall.

To discuss your personal mortgage financing situation, please contact me.

Why Ultra Low Mortgage Rates Are Not Good?

Thumbs_down

We have experienced low mortgage rates since the financial credit crisis in late 2008.  The purpose of the low rates is to stimulate consumer spending which will result in economic growth and recovery out of the recession.  In the last few weeks, there have been talks regarding the European debt crisis and how similar it looks like the 2008 credit crisis.  It started with Ireland and Greece, which are considered small economies in Europe. The credit crisis talks have shifted to Spain and Italy which are large economies.  As Germany and France continue to bailout their Euro zone counterparts, they accumulate more debt.  There were talks last week that France is in financial trouble which resulted in a stock market sell off among other bad economic news.  The bottom line there is a storm brewing in Europe which will come to fruition sooner or later.  This uncertainity has resulted in bond yields dropping to historic lows which will result in lower fixed mortgage rates.

There are now possibilities the Bank of Canada might hold or even consider cutting its benchmark rate (which sets prime rate) to stimulate the Canadian economy just in case Canada gets dragged into a slowdown due to what's happening in US & Europe.  This means continued low rates for the foreseeable future.

So What You Might Ask?

The concern with even lower interest rates, is creating more demand in the Canadian real estate market.  This is good news for first time home buyers since the affordability requirements will drop, however, more bidding wars might result (I can only comment on Toronto's real estate market since this is where I conduct my business) and some would lose out.  Canadian household debt is already at an all time high and taking on further debt could result in an unpleasant consequences for all (http://goo.gl/zzcDH).  The lower rates will pull the future demand into the present and leave a void in the future.  The other concern is Canadians getting used to these low mortgage rates and not plan for higher interest rate environment when mortgages renew in a few years from now.

Finally, taking on debt with a responsible plan to pay if off can be a good thing. However, taking on debt and not planning for higher interest environment will have dire consequences.

To discuss your personal mortgage financing situation, please contact me.

 

Are Mortgage Interest Rates Dropping?