It PAYS to shop around.
Many Canadian homeowners pay too much for their homes because they are not getting the best mortgage financing available in the market.
The mortgage process can be intimidating for homeowners, and some financial institutions don't make the process any easier.
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Keep it Simple
Keep it simple when buying a houseSpring is here, which means increased activity in the real estate market. If you are thinking of buying a house, keep these simple tips in mind.Decide whether the time is right for you to buy – “If you currently own a house, you should buy and sell at the same time, which will help ensure you don’t sell low and buy high,” explains Chartered Professional Accountant Eli Palachi, a partner with Crowe Soberman LLP in Toronto. “If you are a first-time purchaser, try to buy when you can secure low mortgage rates so that your monthly cash outflow is lower.”Determine what you can afford – “Establish a budget that includes the cost of the new house and then try living with that budget for a while to make sure you won’t become financially strapped and end up house rich and cash poor,” advises Chartered Professional Accountant Albert Yu, a sales representative with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd. in Toronto. “Mortgage rates are at historically low levels these days. But keep in mind that every one-per-cent increase in interest rates means you can buy 10-per-cent less house.” Yu says your budget should also include other costs, including a rainy day fund that covers three to six months’ worth of expenses, retirement savings and a children’s education fund. Your Chartered Accountant can help you set up a realistic budget and help with decisions on how to finance a house purchase.Don’t forget to factor in the hidden costs – “In addition to the price of the house itself, your other costs include legal fees associated with closing the sale, adjustments for property tax and utilities, the land transfer tax, mortgage fees, house appraisal fees and moving,” says Palachi. “If you are buying a bigger house, you may also have higher insurance costs.”Shop around for the best mortgage rate – “Speak to several banks to see what their rates are,” says Palachi. “It doesn’t hurt to get an idea of what competitive rates are, and banks don’t charge a fee or commission for securing financing. Your CA can also introduce you to mortgage officials at the bank.” If you are going to shop around for rates, Yu cautions against signing several applications that would result in a credit check. “Your credit score will decrease if too many checks are done at once,” he explains.Make the biggest down payment you can afford – “You must pay at least 20 per cent of the purchase price down to avoid a high-ratio mortgage and paying one-time Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation premiums,” explains Yu. A larger down payment will also lower your monthly payments.
CREA Updates Resale Housing Market Forecast
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations in 2018 and 2019. Housing market fundamentals remain strong in many parts of the country. Nonetheless, many housing markets continue to struggle in the face of policy headwinds.
The new mortgage stress test announced last October had been expected to cause homebuyers to rush purchases in advance of the new rules coming into effect in January and for the pull-forward of sales activity to result in fewer transactions in the first half of 2018.
Evidence suggests the policy response was stronger than expected, with seasonally adjusted national home sales last December having surged to the highest level ever recorded before dropping sharply in early 2018.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) national sales figures for March, April and May are typically among the most active months in any given year. Combined sales fell to a nine-year low for the three-month period. The seasonally adjusted trend suggests sales momentum has not yet begun to rally.
Interest rates are widely expected to rise further this year and next. Home sales activity is nonetheless still expected to strengthen modestly in the second half of 2018 as housing market uncertainty diminishes.
Taking these factors into account, the national sales forecast has been revised downward and is now projected to decline by 11% to 459,900 units this year. The decrease almost entirely reflects weaker sales in B.C. and Ontario amid heightened housing market uncertainty, provincial policy measures, high home prices, ongoing supply shortages and this years new mortgage stress test.
Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1¼ per cent
The Bank of Canada today maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 1 per cent and the deposit rate is 1 per cent.
Global economic activity remains broadly on track with the Banks April Monetary Policy Report (MPR) forecast. Recent data point to some upside to the outlook for the US economy. At the same time, ongoing uncertainty about trade policies is dampening global business investment and stresses are developing in some emerging market economies. Global oil prices have been higher than assumed in April, in part reflecting geopolitical developments.
Inflation in Canada has been close to the 2 per cent target and will likely be a bit higher in the near term than forecast in April, largely because of recent increases in gasoline prices. Core measures of inflation remain near 2 per cent, consistent with an economy operating close to potential. As usual, the Bank will look through the transitory impact of fluctuations in gasoline prices.
In Canada, economic data since the April MPR have, on balance, supported the Banks outlook for growth around 2 per cent in the first half of 2018. Activity in the first quarter appears to have been a little stronger than projected. Exports of goods were more robust than forecast, and data on imports of machinery and equipment suggest continued recovery in investment. Housing resale activity has remained soft into the second quarter, as the housing market continues to adjust to new mortgage guidelines and higher borrowing rates. Going forward, solid labour income growth supports the expectation that housing activity will pick up and consumption will continue to contribute importantly to growth in 2018.