Friday, September 26, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
A report issued Wednesday by Merrill Lynch Canada economists says many Canadian households are more financially overextended than their counterparts in the United States or Britain.
They say it’s only a matter of time before the “tipping point” is reached and the housing and credit markets crack in Canada.
The Merrill Lynch Canada report by economists David Wolf and Carolyn Kwan acknowledges that the analysis is more pessimistic than the prevailing view.Many economists have been saying that Canada’s housing and banking sectors are much more stable than their American counterparts and will likely slow down but not crash.
But Merrill Lynch — whose U.S. parent is one of the biggest victims of a crisis in financial markets that is rooted in the American housing and mortgage meltdown — says Canadians should be wary.
Household net borrowing in Canada amounted to 6.3 per cent of disposable income in 2007 — meaning they’re carrying more debt than households in the United Kingdom and not far off the peak U.S. shortfall in 2005 — just before the subprime mortgage crisis erupted.
“These data imply that the Canadian household sector is now overextending itself as much as the U.S. or U.K. ever did, challenging the consensus view that Canadian lenders and borrowers have been far more conservative through the cycle,” the Merrill report says.
It also says housing prices are now falling and inventories of unsold homes are rising sharply in Canada suggesting that this market turnaround will not be a transitory phenomenon.
However, the prevailing view is that Canada’s lenders have issued few of the type of subprime mortgages that sparked the U.S. crisis, which is continuing to ripple through the financial system.In addition, many observers argue that Canadian residential properties are, by and large, not overvalued — considering the strength of regional economies in resource-rich provinces.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Imminent changes to residential mortgage rules in Canada will affect the majority of homebuyers, including those entering the market for the very first time, new Canadians and seasoned investors.
The federal government announced the changes at the beginning of August, with the new regulations going into effect October 15. The three most significant are: the end of the 40-year amortization; the requirement for borrowers to have a minimum credit score of 620; and the end of zero-down mortgages. “I think there are two reasons why we’re seeing these changes,” says Jim Murphy, president and CEO of the Canadian mortgage Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP). “First, the federal government was looking at its exposure [to risk] and that of the Canadian taxpayer. Second, I think they were looking at what’s going on in the United States.”
When a homeowner defaults on a mortgage and the mortgage insurer is not able to cover the costs, the Government of Canada is left holding the bag. Says Murphy, “You have a lender – a bank or credit union. If you put less than 20% down, that lender has to have mortgage insurance. The government then provides a guarantee to the mortgage insurer.”
With these new regulations, the government is telling mortgage insurers that only mortgages meeting the above-mentioned new criteria will be backed.
Although the 40-year amortization option is gone, 30- and 35-year amortizations are still available and growing in popularity. “These will probably become the norm,” Murphy says. “Between the fall of 2006 and the fall of 2007, 37% of all mortgages taken out had an amortization of more than 25 years. [This year] that number will be much higher.”
Murphy believes there are a variety of reasons for this. For first-time buyers, the issue is affordability. They are willing to pay more in interest over the term of the mortgage as long as it gets them into a bigger or better home than they could afford under more traditional 25-year amortizations. Paying back a mortgage over 35 years means paying less per month. This also allows first-timers the opportunity to get into the housing market sooner.
But just because you start with a 35-year mortgage, doesn’t mean you can’t make changes later on. “Most people will never be in that mortgage for the full 30 or 35 years,” Murphy says. “They may get a promotion or an inheritance and pay [it] down.”
Longer amortization periods are not just for first-time buyers. “We have people who have equity in their homes and for whatever reasons want a longer amortization,” Murphy says, “They may want to put money into investments or want to do other things with it.” If you have a down payment of 20% or more, no mortgage insurance is needed. Nonetheless, finding a lender who will offer a 40-year package won’t be easy now. “There’s nothing that prevents a lender from offering a 40-year amortization, but it will be likely difficult to find,” Murphy says.
Zero down - Taux Hypothécaire
The nothing-down mortgage (available for the past couple of years) is also gone. The new standard is the old standard – 5% down, minimum. “This change will have a bigger impact on the market, we believe," Murphy says, "particularly for first-time buyers and particularly in a place like the GTA, where housing costs are higher.” The good news is that the government will allow buyers to borrow that 5% from any lender or bank.
Although a buyer’s credit score was always of concern to the lender, the government never got involved at this end of the transaction. That will change on October 15, when the government will require the buyer (or one of the buyers, if it’s a joint purchase) to have a minimum credit score of 620.
This new guideline may prove to be a problem for immigrants. “We have expressed some concern about this, especially when it comes to new Canadians, who may have a zero credit rating because they have no credit history,” Murphy says. “So how are they supposed to qualify?” Murphy says his association is currently discussing the minimum credit score issue with the government and hopes to see a change or amendment made to this rule.
If you’ve recently purchase a home and are still awaiting closing, you might be wondering how the new rules will apply to loan commitments issued before October 15 and closing on or after that date. According to a memo issued by the government, “The existing rules will apply to loan commitments for which a mortgage insurance application has been received by the mortgage insurer on or before October 14, regardless of the closing date of the mortgage loan. This includes new construction in which the closing may not occur for more than a year after the initial loan commitment was issued.”
With the October 15 deadline looming, Murphy warns prospective buyers not to expect lenders to be eager to offer a mortgage under the old rules. “The government does not want lenders to be providing these products until midnight October 14,” he says. “Lenders have already announced that they are not offering these products anymore, and as we get closer to the deadline, they will be increasingly difficult to find.”
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Living A Comfortable Life At Last
Getting up early when you wanted to go on sleeping, taking the kids to school, going off to work, paying the bills, taking out the trash and Goodness knows what trouble you find during the day, deserve a prize. At the end of the day, you are welcomed by your dream house, soft music, the kids playing in their own room and your sweetie cooking something with a marvelous aroma.
Hey, It Is Not All Dreaming, Eh?
Nope, it is not ONLY about dreaming. Want to make it real? All you need is to take the decision to get it done. Well, start finding out about home improvement loans. There is one just right for you. When something has a determined name, it means that it is a specific product for a specific use. That is what makes it ideal for the purpose.
Is There More Than One Option?
Certainly. Depending on the amount needed for the improvement you want to make, you can take a home improvement loan or a mortgage loan. The mortgage Montreal loan will be great, because the amounts considered are greater, and will give you more than enough to get the job done.
The Downside Of The Mortgage Loan
That is the point… more than enough may be a little too much and what is more, the financing period, too long. Therefore, reducing the stakes a bit, we have a home improvement loan. You are not buying a new one, just improving your old one. Besides, what could be lighter on the family, than staying in the same neighborhood, with the same friends and knowing every single corner?
And Now, It Is The Lender’s Turn
Sift through the options on the Internet, and surely you will make a good deal. The thing here is to get an even better deal out of the lender you have chosen. Build up a folder with graphics in full detail. For this, you can get an architect, or do it yourself with a CAD program.
Next, make a list of the work that will be done, the materials you need and the final sum. Again, a reliable architect will be useful, but there are also little computer programs that do the numbers for you, if you are not willing to pay the fees. Then go to the lender and give them the impression of an organized guy, someone who gets what he wants.
A Good Deal Is More Than Just Being Able To Repay
You can also get insurance for your home, something that many people overlook. So there you have another negotiating factor. The broker you have chosen will surely be able to get you a favorable insurance policy, for your benefit and theirs. (They always have a share of whatever business they participate in)
Yes, you have to get started, put some action into all the thinking and dreaming and preparation. You have already done something by reading this article. Now it is time to start moving the pieces on the board. The best moment is now. You will be surprised with what you will get.