BANK OF CANADA HOLDS OVERNIGHT RATE AS EXPECTED, BUT APPEARS TO BE LESS CONFIDENT IN THE STRENGTH OF THE ECONOMIC OUTLOOK.

General George Macris 22 Jan

Bank of Canada Holds Steady Despite Economic Slowdown

In a more dovish statement, the Bank of Canada maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1.75% for the tenth consecutive time. Today’s decision was widely expected as members of the Governing Council have signalled that the Bank still believes that the Canadian economy is resilient, despite the marked slowdown in growth in the fourth quarter of last year that has spilled into the early part of this year. The economy has underperformed the forecast in the October Monetary Policy Report (MPR).

In today’s MPR, the Bank estimates growth of only 0.3% in Q4 of 2019 and 1.3%in the first quarter of 2020. Exports fell late last year, and business investment appears to have weakened after a strong Q3, reflecting a decline in business confidence. Job creation has slowed, and indicators of consumer confidence and spending have been much softer than expected. The one bright light has been residential investment, which was robust through most of 2019, moderating to a still-solid pace in the fourth quarter only because of a dearth of newly listed properties for sale. 

The central bank’s press release stated that “Some of the slowdown in growth in late 2019 was related to temporary factors that include strikes, poor weather, and inventory adjustments. The weaker data could also signal that global economic conditions have been affecting Canada’s economy to a greater extent than was predicted. Moreover, during the past year, Canadians have been saving a larger share of their incomes, which could signal increased consumer caution which could dampen consumer spending but help to alleviate financial vulnerabilities at the same time.”

The January MPR states that over the projection horizon (2020 and 2021), “business investment and exports are anticipated to improve as oil transportation capacity expands, and the impact of trade policy headwinds on global growth diminishes. Household spending is projected to strengthen, driven by solid growth of both the population and household disposable income.” Growth is expected to be 1.6% in 2019 and 2020 and is anticipated to strengthen to 2.0% in 2021.

Inflation has remained at roughly the Bank’s target of 2%, and is expected to continue at that pace.

Also from the MPR: “The level of housing activity remains solid across most of Canada, although recent indicators suggest that residential investment growth has slowed from its previously strong pace. Demand remains robust in Quebec, where the labour market has been strong. In Ontario and British Columbia, population growth is boosting housing demand. In contrast, Alberta’s housing market continues to adjust to challenges in the oil and gas sector. Nationally, house prices have continued to increase and should strengthen slightly in the near term, consistent with the responses to the Bank’s recent Canadian Survey of Consumer Expectations.”

Bottom Line: The Canadian dollar sold off on the release of this statement and I believe there is a downside risk to the Bank of Canada forecast. Today’s release is a more dovish statement than last month, showing less confidence in the outlook. The Governing Council did express concern that the recent weakness in growth could be more persistent than their current forecast, saying that “the Bank will be paying particular attention to developments in consumer spending, the housing market, and business investment.” They also raised estimates of slack in the economy and dropped language about the current rate being appropriate.

According to Bloomberg News, today’s Governing Council comments “are a departure from recent communications in which officials sought to accentuate the positives of an economy that had been running near capacity and was deemed resilient in the face of global uncertainty. While Wednesday’s decision still leaves the Bank of Canada with the highest policy rate among major advanced economies, markets may interpret the statement as an attempt to, at the very least, open the door for a future move.”

 

by DR. Sherry Cooper

Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres

PAYMENT FREQUENCY

General George Macris 18 Nov

One of the decisions you will need to make before your new mortgage is set up, is what kind of payment frequency you would like to have. For many, sticking to a monthly payment is the default, however, different frequencies may end up saving you less interest over time.

Monthly Payments

Monthly payments are exactly as they sound, one payment every month until the maturity date of you mortgage at the end of your term. Took a 3-year term? You will make 36 payments (12 payments a year) and then you will need to renegotiate your interest rate. 5-year term? You will make 60 payments.

$500,000 mortgage

3% interest rate

5-year term

$2,366.23 monthly payment

 

$427,372.90 remaining over 20 years

$69,346.70 paid to interest

$72,627.01 paid to principal

 

Semi Monthly

Semi-monthly is not bi-weekly. Semi monthly is your monthly payment divided by two. That means, you are making 24 payments every year, but each payment is slightly less than half of what the monthly payment would of been.

$500,000 mortgage

3% interest rate

5-year term

$1,182.38 semi monthly payment

 

$427,372.99 remaining over 20 years

$69,258.59 paid to interest

$72,627.01 paid to principal

 

Bi-Weekly

Bi-weekly, you are not making 2 payments every month. With 52 weeks in a year, you are actually making 26 payments, 2 more than semi-monthly (2 months a year you make 3 bi-weekly payments). The interest paid and balance owing are slightly less than the others, but mere cents. You will still need to make payments for another 20 years.

$500,000 mortgage

3% interest rate

5-year term

$1,091.38 bi-weekly payment

 

$427,372.36 remaining over 20 years

$69,251.76 paid to interest

$72,627.64 paid to principal

 

Accelerated Bi-Weekly

Just like regular bi-weekly, you are not making 2 payments every month. With 52 weeks in a year, you are actually making 26 payments, 2 more than semi-monthly. However because this is accelerated, the payment amount is higher.

$500,000 mortgage

3% interest rate

5-year term

$1,183.11 accelerated bi-weekly payment

 

$414,521.40 remaining over 17 years 4 months

$68,325.70 paid to interest

$85,478.60 paid to principal

 

You have increased your yearly payment amount by $2,384.98, $11,924.90 over 5-years. That extra $11,924.90 has decreased your outstanding balance at the end of your mortgage term by $12,850.96 because more of your payments went to principal and less went to interest. Also, you will now have your mortgage paid off more than 2.5 years earlier.

The same option is available for accelerated weekly payments which will shave another month off of time required to pay back the whole loan as well. If you can afford to go accelerated, your best option is to do so! Especially in the early years where a larger portion of your payments are going towards interest, not paying down your principal.

If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me George Macris Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional

at 514 651-2395 or by email at gmacris@dominionlending.ca

 

 

by Ryan Oake

PRINCIPAL & INTEREST

General George Macris 12 Nov

Principal and interest are the two components that make up a mortgage payment. Principal is the portion of your payment that goes towards paying down the outstanding balance of your mortgage. Interest is the other portion of your payment which goes directly into the pockets of your lender and does not contribute to paying down your mortgage balance.

What some people may not realize is that a compounding interest rate (what the majority of all mortgages are) is weighted differently depending on how many years you have left on your mortgage.

If a young couple were to purchase their very first home, lets say $500,000 for example, and they had a $100,000 down payment, their mortgage would be $400,000. If they had today’s interest rates, their mortgage would be around 3%, compounded semi-annually, over 25 years with their interest rate re-negotiable every 5-years if they keep the same term. Assuming they were able to get 3% for the entire 25-years, their monthly payments would be $1,892.98 a month for the life of their mortgage.

Their first payment however is not $1,892.98, with 97% of it going to paying down the $400,000 balance and 3% going towards interest. The very first payment would actually be broken down as $993.81 of interest and $899.17 going towards paying down the principal balance of $400,000.

Now, it wont stay like this forever, the very last payment before the first 5-year term is up would be broken down as $854.62 going towards interest and $1,038.36 of the $1,892.98 going towards paying down the principal. It wouldn’t be until year 10 where the interest portion dips below $500.

If you can, any pre-payments you make each month will directly pay down the principal balance outstanding. This will also in turn, allow for less interest to be charged as interest is always calculated based on the current balance outstanding. In the later years, it may not be as advantageous, but in the first 5-10 years, it can be extremely beneficial.

If you want to see the break down of principal and interest portions inside your own mortgage, feel free to reach out to me George Macris Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional at 514 651-2395 or by email at gmacris@dominionlending.ca

 

 

by Ryan Oake

6 THINGS ALL CO-SIGNORS SHOULD CONSIDER

General George Macris 22 Oct

Co-signing on a loan may seem like an easy way to help a loved one (child, family member, friend, etc. ) live out their dream of owning a home. In today’s market conditions, a co-signor can offer a solution to overcome the high market prices and stress testing measure. For example, if you have a damaged credit score, not enough income, or another reason that a lender will not approve the mortgage loan, a co-signor addition on the loan can satisfy the lenders needs and lessen the risk associated with the loan. However, as a co-signor there are considerations.

  1. If you act as a co-signor or guarantor, you are entrusting your entire credit history to the borrowers. What this mean is that late payments on the loan will not only hurt them, but it will also impact you.
  2. Understand your current situations—taxes, legal, and estate. Co-signing is a large obligation that could harm you financially if the primary borrowers cannot pay.
  3. Try to understand, upfront, how many years the co-borrower agreement will be in place and know if you can make changes to things mid-term if the borrower becomes able to assume the original mortgage on their own.
  4. Consider the implications this will have regarding your personal income taxes. You may have an obligation to pay capital gains taxes and we would highly recommend talking to an accountant prior to signing off.
  5. Co-signors should seek independent legal advice to ensure they fully understand their rights, obligations and the implications. A lawyer can lay it out clearly for you as well as help to point out any things you should take note of.
  6. Carefully think about the character and stability of the people that you are being asked to co-sign for. Do you trust them? Are you aware of their financial situation to some degree? Are you willing to put yourself at risk potentially to take on this responsibility? Another consideration is to think about your finances down the road and determine how much flexibility will be needed for yourself and your family too! If you have plans of your own that will require a loan, refinancing your home, etc. being a co-signor can have an impact.

Co-signing for a loan is a large responsibility but when it is set-up correctly and all options are considered, it can be an excellent way to help a family member, child, or friend reach their dream of homeownership. If you are considering being a co-signor or wondering if you will require a co-signor on your mortgage, reach out to me George Macris Mortgage Broker at Dominion Lending Centres. We are always happy to answer any questions and guide you through processes like this.

Cell: 514 651-2395

email: gmacris@dominionlending.ca

 

by Geoff Leee

Building a Real Estate Portfolio

General George Macris 15 Oct

More and more Canadians do not have a defined benefits pension plan. Companies are moving away from this model due to the expense of maintaining enough in the fund to pay out until the employee and survivors die. Those who are self employed also do not have pensions beside the Canadian Pension Plan.
What can you do if you fall into this category? How do you save enough to have a comfortable retirement? The answer is, build up your own investments through a real estate portfolio.

In order to purchase a revenue property you need 20% down payment . This can be a huge sum to save and you could get discouraged as you see property prices rising. There is a legal work around that is an open secret that realtors and other property investors have used for years.

Purchase a starter home with a 5% down payment. While you are living in the property, it is considered as your primary residence and any increase in value is tax free. Start from Day 1 to save for your next home. You may purchase a condo as the prices are usually less than most detached homes in Canadian cities. When you have saved 5% or if your present home has increased enough in value that you have more than 20% in equity you can remove that extra equity with a line of credit or by refinancing your home you can now purchase a larger home. Now you move to House #2 and rent out House #1.

You are now on your way to building a real estate portfolio. If you repeat this every 3 to 5 years in 20 years you’ll have a portfolio of 4 or more rental properties Is this for everyone? No, if you aren’t handy and if you don’t want the expense of hiring a property management company you cold end up spending your free time on maintenance of several homes.

contact me George Macris Dominion Lending Centre mortgage Broker at 514 651-2395 or you can email me at gmacris@dominionlending.ca with any questions

 

by David Cooke

MORTGAGES 101 – WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MORTGAGES

General George Macris 10 Oct

Mortgage [ˈmôrɡij] NOUN
With a residential mortgage, a home buyer pledges his or her house to the bank. The bank has a claim on the house should the home buyer default on paying the mortgage. In the case of a foreclosure, the bank may evict the home’s occupants and sell the house, using the income from the sale to clear the mortgage debt.

Mortgages in a Nutshell
Since homes are expensive, a mortgage is a lending system that allows you to pay a small portion of a home’s cost (called the down payment) upfront, while a bank/lender loans you the rest of the money. You arrange to pay back the money that you borrowed, plus interest, over a set period of time (known as amortization), which can be as long as 30 years.

When you get a mortgage loan, you are called the mortgagor. The lender is called the mortgagee.

How Do You Get a Mortgage?
The companies that supply you with the funds that you need to buy your home are referred to as “lenders” which can include banks, credit unions, trust companies etc.

Mortgage lenders don’t lend hundreds of thousands of dollars to just anyone, which is why it’s so important to maintain your credit score. Your credit score is a primary way that lenders evaluate you as a reliable borrower – that is, someone who’s likely to pay back the money in full WITHOUT a lot of hassle. A score of 680-720 or higher generally indicates a positive financial history; a score below 680 could be detrimental, making you a higher risk. Higher risk = higher rates!

How Mortgages Are Structured
Down payment: This is the money you must put down on a home to show a lender you have some stake in the home. Ideally you want to make a 20% down payment of the price of the home (e.g., $60,000 on a $300,000 home), because this will allow you to avoid the extra cost of Mortgage Default Insurance which is mandatory with all down payments of less than 20%.

Every mortgage has three components: the principal, the interest, and the amortization period.

Mortgages are typically paid back gradually in the form of a monthly mortgage payment, which will be a combination of your paying back your principal plus interest.

  1. Principal: This is the amount of money that you are borrowing and must pay back. This is the price of the home minus your down payment
    taking the above example, purchase price $300,000 minus $60,000 down payment to get a mortgage (principal) of $240,000.
  2. Interest rate: Lenders don’t just loan you the money because they’re nice guys. They want to make money off you, so you will be paying them back the original amount you borrowed (principal) plus interest—a percentage of the money you borrow.The interest rate you get from the lender will vary based on: property, lender, credit bureau, employment and your personal situation.
  3. Amortization means life of the mortgage, or how long the mortgage needs to be, in order to pay off the complete loan (principal) plus interest. Mortgage loans have different “amortizations,” the two most common terms are 25 & 30 years.Within the life of the mortgage (amortization) you will have a Term. The length of time that the contract with your mortgage lender including interest rate is set up (typically 5 years). After your term completes, you can renew your mortgage with the same lender or move to a new lender.

WHEN TO GET A MORTGAGE

First Step: connect with a Mortgage Broker for a mortgage before you start hunting for a home. You need to know what you can afford – especially with all the new government regulations.

Ideally you need a mortgage pre-approval, which an in-depth process where a lender will check your credit report, credit score, debt-to-income ratio, loan-to-value ratio, and other aspects of your financial profile.

This serves two purposes:

  1. It will let you know the maximum purchase price of a home you can afford.
  2. A mortgage pre-approval shows home sellers and their realtors that you are serious about buying a home, which is particularly crucial in a hot housing market.

Types of Mortgages
How do you figure out which mortgage is right for you? Here are the 2 main types of home loans to consider:

  1. Fixed-rate mortgage:This is the most popular payment setup for a mortgage. A fixed mortgage interest rate is locked-in and will not increase for the term of the mortgage.
  2. Variable rate mortgage aka Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM) A variable mortgage interest rate is based on the Bank of Canada rate and can fluctuate based on market conditions and the Canadian economy. A mortgage loan with an interest rate that is subject to change and is not fixed at the same level for the life of the term. These types of mortgages usually start off with a lower interest rate but can subject the borrower to payment uncertainty.

How to Shop for a Mortgage?
Use a mortgage broker, a professional who works with many different lenders to find a mortgage that best suits the needs of the borrower.

Brokers specialize in Mortgage Intelligence, educating people about mortgages, how they work and what lenders are looking for. Everyone’s home purchasing situation is different, so working with us will give you a better sense of what mortgage options are available based on the 4 strategic priorities that every mortgage needs to balance:

  • lowest cost
  • lowest payment
  • maximum flexibility
  • lowest risk

Most Canadians are conditioned to think that the lowest interest rate means the best mortgage product. Although sometimes that is true, a mortgage is more than just an interest rate. You can save yourself a lot of money if you pay attention to the fine print, not just the rate.

Banks tend to concentrate on the 5 year fixed mortgage rate (since that’s the best option for them)… rates are important, however as your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional I will look at the total cost of the mortgage. Brokers will advise & explain mortgage options, help you understand the implications of your choice and help you avoid the pitfalls of choosing a mortgage based on rates alone.

 

For more information contact me George Macris Mortgage Broker at 514 651-2395 or email me at gmacris@dominionlending.ca

MORTGAGE STRATEGIES: TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME!

General George Macris 23 Sep

 

While most people start off their mortgage search by going after the lowest rate, what they are really after is the mortgage with the lowest cost. Then again, the majority of borrowers in Canada end up with a mortgage that is not the lowest rate nor the lowest cost. Strike 1!

Whether borrowers realize it or not, what is often more important to them is a mortgage with the lowest risk. So they end up with 5-year fixed mortgage that has a constant payment, which is usually not the lowest risk mortgage at all. Strike 2! Time to bring in a mortgage broker like myself or your local Dominion Lending broker to be the pinch hitter and go to bat for you.

There are 4 and only 4 mortgage strategies, and everything fits within these 4 strategies: Lowest Cost, Lowest Risk, Maximum Flexibility, and Lowest Payment. Expert investors think about financial transactions in these terms, and you should think about your mortgage in these terms too. Consider them like the 4 bases of a baseball diamond, you need to touch on every one of them to complete a home run. A mortgage broker like me or your local Dominion Lending Centres broker can help you prioritize your mortgage strategy based on your current financial goals, life situation, and risk tolerance, and the potential for various scenarios that could affect you over the term of the mortgage. You can’t achieve all 4 mortgage strategies together, there are trade-offs, but through strategic mortgage planning we can help guide you through the strategic options, help you determine the best strategy for you, and find the best mortgage products that fit your strategy.

So next time you are planning your mortgage, make sure to cover all 4 bases by thinking about The 4 Mortgage Strategies: Lowest Cost, Lowest Risk, Maximum Flexibility, and Lowest Payment, and get a mortgage broker like myself or your local Dominion Lending Centres broker to help you. Now that’s a Grand Slam!

 

Call me today at 514 651-2395 or email me at gmacris@dominionlending.ca

STRESS TEST RATE & RECENT DECREASE

General George Macris 22 Aug

Currently, all borrowers in Canada need to qualify for a new mortgage at the current Bank of Canada Benchmark Qualifying Rate or at their approved mortgage interest rate plus 2.0%, whichever is higher.

For more than a year, this Bank of Canada Benchmark Qualifying Rate has been 5.34%. Now, for the first time in 3-years, the Bank of Canada has decreased that Qualifying Rate to 5.19%, a 0.15% decrease.

What does this mean?

Well, this Bank of Canada Qualifying Rate is essentially a bank’s Stress Test Rate. If a borrower has an annual gross income of $60,000, they can qualify for a $265,000 purchase price with a 10% down payment at a 5.34% qualifying rate.

Change that qualifying rate to 5.19%, that same borrower qualifies for a $269,000 purchase price at 10% down payment. This is a $3,700 increase in borrowing ability.

A borrower with $80,000 of gross annual income and a 20% down payment qualifies for a $455,000 purchase price at a 5.34% Bank of Canada Qualifying Rate. Change it to 5.19%, it increases to $462,000. A $5,600 increase in borrowing ability.

1.5%. That is the increase borrowers now have in their borrowing ability.

Ironic part of all these calculations, the stress test was implemented to protect consumers against rising interest rates. Their concern was that borrowers would not be able to cover their monthly payments when they came up for renewal.

Highest 5-year interest rate since January 2010? 3.79%.

Highest 5-year fixed interest rate in the past 5-years? 3.24%.

Last time someone had to pay an interest rate above 5%? For one month in 2009 and before that, summer of 2008.

Food for thought! If you have any other questions regarding the Bank of Canada and mortgage Stress Test rules, please reach out to me George Macris mortgage Broker at Dominion Lending Centres by phone at 514 651-2395 or by email at gmacris@dominionlending.ca

 

by Ryan Oake

WHAT IS A MORTGAGE “REFINANCE” AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT ME?

General George Macris 17 Jul

Refinancing a Home is one of those things where people understand what it is but have trouble explaining How it works. To put it simply, refinancing your Home allows you to access the equity you have built up, by changing the mortgage amount.

Let’s say you bought a $300,000 condo and you paid 20% ($60,000) as your down payment and had a mortgage of $240,000. Over the next 4 years, you continue making payments to pay down the $240,000 you owed and now that amount is only $230,000. Your mortgage is up for renewal in one year however, you want to do some renovations and you need to access the equity in your Home—this is where a refinance could come into play.

What this means is you will get an appraisal, or in simpler terms an evaluation, of your current Home and submit that information to a lender. Let’s say your $300,000 condo is now worth $350,000 and you owe $230,000. You have built up an additional $60,000 in equity ($350,000 – $230,000 owing – $60,000 initial down payment= $60,000). You have a mortgage of $230,000 on a Home worth $350,000, therefore your equity in the Home is $120,000.

To access that $120,000, you can refinance your mortgage. So let’s say you want to go back and take $50,000 from the $120,000 you have built up. Your new mortgage would go from $230,000 to $280,000, and that $50,000 will be transferred from the lender to you. You are essentially borrowing money from the lender while also adding money back on top of your mortgage.

This is why people will refinance their Home to make larger purchases. The bank will lend you the money now and get it back in the future, plus interest, because it is being added to the mortgage.

This is just one way people are able to use their Home to access cash. Other ways people can do this, especially if they are looking to complete renovations, is through home equity, lines of credit, collateral charges and purchase plus mortgages.

Knowing this information before you buy can be extremely beneficial. That is why it is important to work with a qualified mortgage Broker, Contact me George Macris Mortgage broker at Dominion Lending Centres today at 514 651-2395 or email me at gmacris@dominionlending.ca

 

by Chris Cabel

5 MORTGAGE TIPS TO HELP YOU AFFORD A HOME

General George Macris 9 Jul

Buying a home is more difficult now than ever—and this is not news to anyone! No matter where you live, the recent stress testing measures, increase in housing prices in major cities, and continued increase of the cost of living all combine to make home ownership a daunting task. But we do want to offer some help and solutions for young families looking to get into the market as we truly to believe it’s not impossible and have helped many families do just that!

1. Take a step outside of the downtown core. Typically, property right in the heart of the city is more expensive due to the location and the continued demand. Stepping out to one of the outlying suburban areas can offer more affordable options and can also lend you with an increased inventory of properties within your price point.
2. Consider finding a rent to own property. A Rent to Own (RTO) property can allow you to rent a property while subsequently saving up for a down payment.
3. Talk to a mortgage broker. Speaking with a broker and going through a pre-qualification process can help you by allowing you to see the areas in which you will need to improve to help make you more attractive to lenders. This can include things such as:
a. Increasing your credit score
b. Decreasing your overall debt or consolidating your current debt.
c. Looking at increasing your overall income options and the ways in which you can do that.
4. Consider using a co-signor(s) for your mortgage to start with. One solution we have found that works well for certain clients is having a co-signor(s) on the mortgage with a planned exit strategy to remove them once the client’s personal income increases or they are able to qualify for the mortgage on your own (ex. By paying down debts and/or improving their credit score). This solution is situation specific, so speak to your broker for more details.
5. Save, Save, and Save some more. We know this is common sense but speaking with a financial advisor can help show you ways in which you can save and make your money work for you. We can happily recommend a few as can your mortgage broker.

We know that the state of real estate can seem overwhelming and depressing at times. Keep in mind though that not all hope is lost, and you do have options available to you! Remember the “dream” of the white picket fence detached home is not for everyone…now more than ever multi-family properties such as townhouses and condos are offering more and more amenities and beautiful properties for less. The bottom line is considering all your options and work with a dedicated broker who can help you reach your goals—whatever they might be!

 

Contact me George Macris Mortgage broker today at 514 651-2395 or by email at gmacris@dominionlending.ca

by Geoff Lee