mortgage interest

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.

Double Your Money By Renting Your Home

Lately, I have been dealing with an increasing number of clients who are deciding not to sell their home.  They are choosing to keep their existing property by turning in it into an investment property and using the proceeds of the refinance to buy a home.  Since the financial credit crunch in late 2008, more Canadians are skeptical about the markets, are worried about having enough to retire and are looking for alternative ways to diversify their investments.A greater number of homeowners, after reviewing the numbers, are deciding to refinance their existing home up to 80% of its current market value, take advantage of today's historic low interest rates and rent the property.  Here is real example that I did for a client who owns a condo in downtown Toronto.

Condo value: $350,000 Mortgage amount: $280,000 (80% loan to value) Mortgage amortization: 30 years Mortgage interest rate: 3.29% Mortgage term: 5 years Annual appreciation: 2%

There are two items to pay attention to in the above chart: 1/ initial equity is $70,000 and after 5 years based on 2% capital appreciation and utilizing the inflation hedge mortgage strategy, 2/home equity is at $135,771.  By having the tenant paydown the mortgage and adjusting the mortgage payment gradually for higher interest rate environment, the home owner almost doubles their money in 5 years.  Imagine the financial freedom a fully paid off investment property would create.

If you are interested in finding out how to turn your current home into an investment property and use your home equity to buy a home, please contact me.

 

Do US Elections Impact Canadian Mortgage Rates?

Over the last month or so, I have heard some mortgage brokers promoting the 4 year fixed rates to their clients since it coincides with the US presidential cycle based on the argument that in US election years, mortgage rates remain low for the incumbent President to be re-elected.  As a mortgage broker who is driven by data and facts, I had to do some research to justify these statements.Before we dive into data, let's understand what drives mortgage rates:

  • Fixed rates are driven by the bond market which moves up and down based on economic news. Good news drive the bond yields higher, therefore increasing rates and vice versa; bad economic news drive the bond yields lower therefore reducing fixed mortgage rates.
  • Variable mortgages are driven by prime rate which is set by the Bank of Canada (independent of government) and the discounts on prime are driven by liquidity and credit risk factors. In good times, variable mortgages were at prime-0.8%, during the financial meltdown of late 2008, variable mortgages were at prime+1%
Based on the above 2 points I don't see how US elections can drive the bond market or influence the decisions of the Bank of Canada.  The only connecting factor is the Bank of Canada benchmark rate has to remain relatively close to the US Federal Reserve benchmark rate.  If Canada's benchmark rate was much higher, the Canadian dollar would rise in value negatively affecting exports and would dampen the economy.

Let's look at the numbers.  Over the last 25 years, fixed rates on US re-election years: 2012, 2004, 1996 and 1988 the fixed rates based on the chart do not show a dip in these specific years.  The data shows that interest rates have been decreasing over the last 25 years.
Finally, when someone makes a statement, always ask for data to back up their claim. It's easy to make generic statements.
To discuss your mortgage situation and to make decisions based on data and facts, 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 To Save on Your Land Transfer Tax

 

As mortgage lending rules have become more strict and real estate prices have appreciated over the last few years, it's becoming more challenging for some first time home buyers to qualify for a mortgage without a co-signer.

I was approached by a first time home buyer who was interested in buying her first home, a condo in downtown Toronto, and she needed her mother to co-apply in order to qualify for the mortgage.  As a first time home buyer in Ontario, she would qualify for up to $2,000 land transfer tax rebate and up to $3,725 from the City of Toronto depending on her purchase price.  Since her mother, who is a homeowner, is on title, the first time home buyer would have lost 50% of the rebates (since she's 50% owner in the property).

In order to save the buyer a few thousand dollars, with the lender's approval, the buyer was registered with 99% interest in the property and her mother with 1% interest.  This setup allowed the first time home buyer to maximize the land transfer rebates available from the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto.

It's important to work with a professional who is experienced and understands how to reduce their clients homeownership costs.

To discuss your personal mortgage needs, 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.

How You Can Buy A Home With $24.95?

A client approached me a few weeks back with interest of getting pre-qualified for a mortgage to buy their first home. During our initial meeting, we discussed their goals, where they see themselves in 5 years and cash flow projections based on mortgage interest rates over the next 5 years.  One of the questions I ask, is how the person's credit score is. The client stated they had no outstanding debt with very little credit card balance that is paid off every month.  Once all the necessary information was gathered, a credit check was completed and I was shocked to what I saw in their report.There was an outstanding student loan which showed delinquency for over 21 months which literally had destroyed the client's credit score and history.  I contacted the client to notify them of the issue and they were surprised to hear there was a balance since they stopped receiving a bill after they moved to their new address. They had thought the loan was paid off. Unfortunately, the outstanding balance was minimal but had accumulated lots of interest over the 21 months.

In this case, the client will have to re-establish their credit and show 2 years of good credit history to qualify for a mortgage at a decent mortgage interest rate. There are other alternatives, but are more costly.

By checking your own credit score annually from Equifax (http://goo.gl/5xqCP) these type of issues would be resolved. Similar to a medical annual check up, an annual credit check is important to verify there aren't any errors or items that need to be addressed immediately.  The cost of checking your credit score is $24.95.

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