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Stressed About the Mortgage Stress Test?
*New Mortgage Qualification Guidelines* First of all, you might be asking yourself, What is a mortgage Stress Test and how does it affect me? A mortgage stress test was a measure put in place last October by the Federal Government, that would test a borrowers ability to make their mortgage payment at a higher interest rate - a five year fixe rate set by the Bank of Canada, which is referred to as the Canadian Benchmark Rate. the last several years, Canadians have experienced and become accustomed to record low interest rates. However, in anticipation that these low interest rates could not continue long term, the Government implemented a Mortgage Stress Test in order to protect a borrower from a future hike in interest rates. This was to prove that if interest rates were to increase, a borrower could still afford and maintain their household mortgage payment. Although this is no longer new news, the Stress Test is a topic that should be explored by anyone with a mortgage or planning to apply for one. One of the overall outcomes of last years implementation of the Stress Test was a decrease in the qualified borrowing limits for every consumer contributing less than 20% toward their down payment. This change affected all applications requiring mortgage insurance and reduced a buyers purchasing power by about 20%. For example, a buyer that was pre-approved and out shopping for a $450,000 home, now found that home was suddenly out of reach and a $360,000 purchase price maximum was their new reality. Over the course of this past year, we have seen some increase in interest rates but more importantly, stricter qualifying rules and less competition in the mortgage marketplace for many types of loans. With almost a year since the implementation of this initial Stress Test, the Canadian federal government being pleased with the result of this policy change, is now investigating the need for Stress Testing uninsured mortgage loans as well. Uninsured Mortgage Loans are mortgages with down payments greater than 20% of the purchase price. This expected announcement now means that even if you have 20%, 40% or more for a down payment, every mortgage will then have to qualify at the Benchmark Rate. This will change how mortgages will be qualified and approved and will again mean a reduction in purchasing power of approximately 20% for all the buying public, not just first-time home buyers. The Stress Test is used in qualifying for your mortgage before you buy, but what happens when your current mortgage comes to term.what options do you have? Do you have to renew with your current lender or are you able to move to a lower rate with another lender? Mortgage rates are currently climbing from our record lows in 2016, with Prime Rate already having increased by 0.75% this year; and an increase to fixed interest rates close to 1.00% over the last 60 days. Early planning for a new home purchase or a mortgage renewal could save you thousands of dollars in the future! It has never been a better time to work with an Accredited Mortgage Professional, our ability to provide choice, guidance, and support will help you make informed borrowing decisions.
Easy ways to keep more money in your pocket
It goes without saying that most of us would appreciate a little more money in our pockets. Believe it or not, its actually an achievable goal. In fact, a few simple tips can help you uncover meaningful savings each and every month. Need some ideas? Heres a little inspiration to get you started: 1. Pack food from home for lunches and snacks. Skip sandwich bags and opt for reusable containers, cutlery and drink bottle. 2. Switch light bulbs to CFLs. On average, it costs $250 a year in energy costs to light your home with incandescents. Save $150 by going with CFLs. Theyre more expensive initially, but will last 10 times longer. 3. Review and negotiate your service plansphone, internet, cable and television content. 4. Invest in topping up your insulation. Attic insulation can settle and compact over time, diminishing its original R-value and increasing heating/cooling costs. Topping it up with a quality batt insulation, like Roxul Comfortbatt, will immediately help improve the comfort of your home and reduce your monthly energy bills. 5. Pay off credit card debt and swap cards for lower interest rate options. 6. Install low-flow water fixtures to cut down on excess water consumption. 7. Lower your thermostat by two degrees in cold weather and increase it by two degrees in warmer weather. 8. Launder your clothes in cold water and at off-peak times. 9. Avoid impulse shopping. Stick to your list and avoid window shopping, which tends to draw buyers in. 10. Save money on entertainment by looking for free activities. For options in your area, try a simple internet search. You might be pleasantly surprised at the wide variety of activities and entertainment available for no or low cost. Collectively employing the tips above could potentially add up to thousands in annual savings, proving that sometimes change can be a good thing. www.newscanada.com