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Have an early discussion with your kids about money management
The Minister of State (Finance) Kevin Sorenson and Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) Deputy Commissioner Brigitte Goulard, kicked offTalk with Our Kids About Money Day, a financial Literacy campaign for youngsters. Talk With Our Kids About Money Dayencourages parents and teachers to be involved and actively engage in conversations with kids and young adults about money management. From their first cell phone, to their first credit card, many young Canadians are making financial decisions without proper guidance. Having an early discussion about money will help your kids build knowledge and skills for decision making in their financial future. Parents can start by modeling good spending behaviour and ensuring your child practices sound money management. Make sure to discuss money management in a variety of settings and get your childs opinions and input about money both at home and when you are out and about. There are a number of tools, guides, and support materials you can use to help you get started.Click here for more information.READ MORE
Canadians believe that buying a home is a great investment (Part 3)
There are many factors as to why Canadian homebuyers are thinking more about smart home investing and careful financial planning -As discussed on our previous blogs, Canadians believe that buying a home is a great investment Part 1 2. Based on the Canada-wide survey commissioned by Genworth Canada, homebuyers are working harder and making larger contributions towards their down payment for a new home purchase. Canadians are slowly building up more confidence in their goals towards homeownership while young professionals are saving up for their down payments, 67 percent of the older generations say their goal is to pay off their mortgage faster which has increased from 62 percent in 2013. Over the last two years, financial literacy attitudes of Canadians have stayed consistently stronger than before. While our financial well-being is strengthening, we are also becoming more fiscally responsible. For example, the proportion of First-Time Buyers/Intenders who say they dont know what their credit rating is has declined from 32 percent to 23 percent. According to the official release, 95 percent agree that children should be taught basic finances and budgeting in school, and 93 percent would like to see education provided before people take out their first loan or credit card. For more information on homeownership, please feel free to contact me and I can give you guidance on making your first home purchase. Source: Genworth CanadaREAD MORE
Canadians believe that buying a home is a great investment (Part 2)
In the last blog, Canadians believe that buying a home is a great investment Part 1, we discussed some of the factors as to why Canadian homebuyers are thinking more about smart home investing and careful financial planning. According to a Canada-wide survey commissioned by Genworth Canada, homebuyers are working harder and making larger contributions towards their savings in order to make a home purchase. Image sourced from Genworth Canada Canadians are slowly building up more confidence in their goals towards homeownership. According to the official release of the survey, about nine out of ten people believe that owning their own home gives them a greater sense of emotional well-being. Despite the fact that it could mean more work needed towards saving up, Canadians would rather own a home than pay rent. For more information on homeownership, please feel free to contact me and I can give you guidance on making your first home purchase. Source: Genworth CanadaREAD MORE
Canadians believe that buying a home is a great investment (Part 1)
According to a Canada-wide survey commissioned by Genworth Canada, homebuyers are working harder and for a longer period to save for a down payment; though many remain confident in buying a home as a long-term investment, according to the national poll surveying Canadians about their financial well-being and preparedness. Image sourced from Genworth Canada Despite tighter mortgage qualification criteria over recent years, survey results point towards positive trends in homebuyer behaviour, Stuart Levings, Chief Operating Officer of Genworth Canada noted in the official release. With a stable economy and real estate market, Canadians appear to have more confidence in the value of homeownership and see their goals of homeownership and financial well-being as more achievable. Canadian homebuyers are definitely thinking more about smart home investing, and by doing so, the first step in making the down payment is by saving up and through careful financial planning. The official release states that about 50 percent of potential home buyers will save up for 1-2 years; whereas, 29 percent estimates that it could take them up to 3-4 years to save up. Additionally, about 17 percent say now would be a good time to make a home purchase, with 19 percent being a higher proportion of those individuals whom are optimistic first-time buyers. Regardless of the increased prices of the housing market since 2013 and many Canadians believing that it will increase in the next 12 months,according to the official release,home ownership is still considered more favourable in comparison to renting. The study also found that 53 percent of the respondents are worried about missing the big opportunity this year of buying a house, as most are financially stretched. Source: Genworth Canada For more information on homeownership, please feel free to contact me for guidance on making your first home purchase.READ MORE
Take the hard work out of spring cleaning
(NC) Look on the bright side. Annual spring cleaning doesnt have to be a chore, but rather a chance to revitalize your home. The tasks come in all shapes and sizes, and more often than not, some items are bound to be overlooked. Real top-to-bottom housecleaning can take hours, but not always. Many of the high-tech home appliances do extra work now, giving us valuable time back every day. So here are a few pointers to put the shine back quickly, and get you out of the house: Nitty-gritty The best way to get a thorough clean is to tackle the hard-to-reach places. Behind the couch, under the carpet, and in the corners of the basement office, dust and cobwebs reside just waiting to be caught. To get the best results, dont forget to reach high and low. When the chores are done you will appreciate the extra effort. Keep clean year round Innovative technology in your appliances is an easy way to ensure time-saving cleaning practices are in place, every day. For example, LGs new Fully-Integrated Dishwasher with TrueSteam technology has a third rack to give you the room and flexibility you need and also eliminates the time spent pre-washing. Additional information at: LG.com Think outside the box Spring cleaning doesnt have to be lacklustre. Think of those unconventional spaces that are due for a refresh. Dust and grime often reside on doorknobs, light fixtures and ceiling fans, so get creative and switch up your cleaning routine. Let appliances do the work for you Many appliances have self-clean settings, which saves you the time and effort of scrubbing till they sparkle. www.newscanada.comREAD MORE
Is it better to buy a new or resale home?
(NC) The decision to buy a home is usually both exciting and daunting. While you may know the size or style of home you want, such as condominium or townhouse, the choice between a new or resale home is another important consideration. Both new and resale homes have their advantages and drawbacks, which may range from having a home with character and history to customizing a brand new space for a turnkey experience. What some people may not know is that there are different legal considerations when purchasing a new versus resale home, says Ray Leclair, vice president of public affairs at LAWPRO. Purchasing a home is a significant investment, so be sure to protect it by addressing uncertainties with a real estate lawyer. To help in your decision-making between a new or resale home, Leclair advises considering the following factors: New home Advantages: The work is compliant with the latest construction and safety code requirements; Warranties for construction/appliance/system defects provide peace of mind; A building-location survey is generally available. Drawbacks: Construction may not be completed in time for the proposed move-in; The buying decision may be based on plans, rather than actually viewing the property or seeing a similar model; There may be ongoing construction around the home or in the neighbourhood and landscaping and upgrades are discouraged while work proceeds or within warranty periods. Resale home Advantages: Buyers can see what they are buying and have the opportunity to inspect the home; Generally the home will be in an established neighbourhood without ongoing construction; The neighbourhood landscape and infrastructure is known and ready to enjoy think parks, schools and shopping. Drawbacks: There will likely be no warranties or recourse if a defect is discovered; It may be difficult to see any hidden problems and there is no guarantee that plumbing, electrical or the construction are up-to-code; If there is a building-location survey, it is likely dated. While these lists arent comprehensive, they can help buyers determine whats most important when shopping for a new home. Ultimately, the key is to make an informed decision and find something that suits budget, neighbourhood preferences and personal style. Source: www.newscanada.com Mortgage brokers are an important part of buying owning a home.For more information on purchasing a new home, please feel free to contact me.READ MORE
Canadian Housing Market: Housing starts to remain stable in 2014 and 2015
Date Released: First Quarter 2014 Overview Housing starts to remain stable in 2014 and 2015 2014 187,300 2015 184,900 MLS sales to rebound in 2014 and increase slightly in 2015 2014 466,500 2015 474,700 *Theoutlookissubjecttouncertainty.Althoughpointforecastsarepresentedinthispublication,CMHCalsopresentsforecastrangesandriskswhereappropriate. The forecasts included in this document reflectinformation available as of January 22, 2014. *Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a registered trademark owned by the Canadian Real Estate Association. While housing demand will be supported by an improvement in fundamentals, total housing starts will remain more or less stable over the forecast horizon. With a relatively high number of units under construction in some local markets, builders are expected to adjust the pace of new activity in order to manage their inventory levels. Overall, total housing starts are expected to remain mostly unchanged in 2014, reaching 187,300 units, before moderating to 184,900 units in 2015. Existing home sales are expected to rise moderately along with economic conditions in 2014 and 2015. On an annual basis, sales through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) are expected to reach 466,500 units in2014 and 474,700 units in 2015. *Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a registered trademark owned by the Canadian Real Estate Association In line with expectations that most local housing markets will remain in or near balanced market conditions, the average MLS price average for Canada is expected to grow at a rate near inflation over the forecast horizon. The average MLS price is expected to reach $390,400 in 2014 and $397,100 in 2015, representing increases of 2.1 per cent and 1.7 per cent, respectively. Economic Forecasts CMHC uses publicly available information and the consensus among major Canadian forecasters as a basis for its economic forecasts. GDP growth is estimated at 1.8 per cent in 2013. In accordance with the consensus among prominent Canadian economic forecasters, growth in gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast at 2.2 per cent in 2014, rising to 2.5 per cent in 2015. Over the forecast horizon, the sources of economic growth are expected tobe more diverse. While consumption will continue to provide support, the contribution of business investment and exports to economic growth will expand as they progressively strengthen in 2014 and 2015. Employment increased by 1.3 percent in 2013. CMHC expects that employment will grow by 1.5 per cent in 2014 and 1.8 per cent in 2015.The anticipated employment growth is expected to sustain moderate income growth and household formation over the forecast horizon. This will, in turn, support demand on the housing market. Consistent with a somewhat higher economic growth prospect, interest rates are forecast to register gradual and modest increases by the end ofthe forecast horizon, ultimately leading to a slight increase in mortgage rates. Nevertheless, this interest rate outlook will continue to support housing market activity over the forecast horizon, as mortgage rates will remain low by historical standards. According to CMHCs base case scenario for 2014, the average for the one-year posted mortgage rate is forecast to be within 3.0 per cent to 3.50 per cent, while the average forthe five-year posted mortgage rate is anticipated to be within 5.25 per cent to 5.75 per cent. For 2015, the average for the one-year posted mortgage rate is expected to rise and be in the 3.75 per cent to 4.25 per cent range, while the average for the five-year posted mortgage rate is forecast to be within 5.50 per cent to 6.25 per cent. Housing Forecasts Over the forecast horizon, the sources of economic growth in Canada are expected to continue to improve and broaden, as exports and business investment progressively strengthen. As the shift occurs, economic fundamentals, including employment and disposable income growth, are expected toincrease modestly. These factors will help to sustain demand for new home construction in 2014 and 2015. While the above cited fundamentals will help to sustain the demand for new homes in 2014 and 2015, the influence of other factors will cause housing starts to moderate over the latter part of the forecast horizon. With a relatively high number of units currently under construction in some local markets, builders are expected to gradually adjust their pace of activity in order to manage their inventory levels. Also, the expectation of modest and gradual increases in mortgage rates toward the end of the forecast horizon will also contribute to tempering demand. This, combined with a slow down in the growth of the pool of first-time buyers in late 2014 and into2015, will lead to further moderation of housing starts next year. Nevertheless, housing starts are projected to remain somewhat stable, at 187,300 units in 2014. In 2015, housing starts are expected to moderate to184,900 units. Multiple housing starts expected to stabilize in 2014 and decline in 2015 High level of activity in the years prior to 2013 left a reltively high number of multiple housing units* currently under construction in some local markets, when compared to historical averages.The strengthening of economic fundamentals over the forecast horizon, will provide support to multiple housing demand and contribute to offset the effect of a gradual and modest increase in mortgage rates and slower growth in the pool of first-time home buyers. However, in the face of relatively high numbers of units under construction, builders are expected to adjust the level of starts, so as to channel demand toward the absorption of inventories. Overall, these effects will result in multiple housing starts remainingrelatively unchanged, at 110,600 units, in 2014 and 108,700 units in 2015. *Multiple housing startsconsist of row, semi-detached and apartment units MLS sales expected to reboundin 2014 and increase slightly in 2015 In 2014 and 2015, MLS sales are expected to continue to rise along with improving economic conditions. Specifically, sales through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) are expected to reach 466,500 units in 2014, before seeing an increase to 474,700 in 2015. Balanced market conditions expected to prevail over forecast horizon Balanced market conditions are expected to persist in most regions across Canada throughout the forecast horizon, and the average MLS price is expected to remain relatively stable at a rate slightly above inflation.The average MLS price is expected to increase by 2.1 per cent to reach $390,400 in 2014. In 2015, the average MLS price should move up modestly, to $397,100, for an increase of 1.7 percent. For more information on the Housing Market Outlook, and the statistical details on the housing forecast, please go toCMHC - Housing Market Outlook - Canada Highlights - First Quarter 2014. CMHCHome to Canadians Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canadas national housing agency for more than 65 years. Together with other housing stakeholders, we help ensure that the Canadian housing system remains one of the best in theworld. We are committed to helping Canadians access a wide choice of quality, environmentally sustainable and affordablehousing solutions that will continue to create vibrant and healthy communities and cities across the country. For more information, visit our website at www.cmhc.ca The information, analyses and opinions contained in this publication are based on various sources believed to be reliable,but their accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The information, analyses and opinions shall not be taken as representations forwhich Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation or any of its employees shall incur responsibility. SOURCE: CMHCREAD MORE
Four steps to buying your first home
(NC) If this is the year in which you resolved to buy your first house, youre about to enter a period in your life that is both exciting and nerve-wracking. With so many factors to consider before you sign the dotted line, the financial experts from Desjardins Group have some tips and suggestions to help get you started. First, can you even afford a house? Although interest rates are low now, its important to remember that they may increase in the future. Typically, mortgages are amortized over 25 years and are offered in six-month, five- or even ten-year terms. Be honest with yourself about what you can afford because your life and financial priorities will change. Second, secure your down payment Experts advise that prospective home owners should down a down payment of up to 20 percent of the houses value. One option is to borrow against your RRSP. Each person is eligible to withdraw $25,000 or $50,000 per couple. If you havent enough in your account, its possible to take a top-up RRSP loan to reach the right amount. Once you have bought your home, youll have 15 years to repay the amount to your RRSP. Another option is to put down 10 percent and to accept a higher mortgage loan insurance amount. Third, fixed or variable rate? A fixed interest rate offers stability and predictability, but you lose out on lower interest rates should they become available. The payments with variable interest rates also remain constant but there is the risk that interest rates may go up. This means more goes to your interest payment and less to your principal. If you cant choose between the two options, a split mortgage offers you the best of both worlds. Another idea for first time home buyers is to consider qualifying for a pre-authorized mortgage. This process evaluates your financial situation to determine the maximum financing amount for which you are eligible. That way when you start looking at houses you will know which ones fit your budget. Fourth, have enough to close Avoid closing sticker shock by knowing ahead of time what other fees and taxes youll need to pay, such as: Inspection fees: If you decide to purchase an existing home, this detailed report will focus attention on any hidden defects that will require repair in the short- and long-term. Appraisal fees: Your financial institution will request that an appraiser evaluate and determine the true value of the property you wish to acquire. Legal fees: You will be responsible for hiring a lawyer who will prepare, sign and register the various legal documents related to the purchase of the property. Additional taxes and fees: Transfer tax, property tax, school taxes, electricity and natural gas bills are due at sale closing. Mortgage brokers are an important part of buying owning a home. I am a knowledgeable advisor that can help you ensure you have the right mortgage at the best interest rate available. For more information about mortgages, feel free to contact me. Source:www.newscanada.comREAD MORE
Valuable Fraud Prevention Tips for Homebuyers and Homeowners: Part 2
March is Fraud Prevention Month. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has consistently been a leader in the fight against mortgage fraud and offers the following tips to protect yourself against becoming a victim of mortgage fraud. What Can You do to Protect Yourself? Be an informed consumer! Be wary of anyone who approaches you with an offer to make easy money in real estate. Remember: if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Protect yourself and your family from becoming victims of or accomplices to mortgage fraud. This means: Never deliberately misrepresent information when applying for a mortgage. Never accept money, guarantee a loan or add your name to a mortgage unless you fully intend to purchase the property. If you allow your personal information to be used for a mortgage you could be held responsible for the entire debt if the mortgage defaults. Always know who you are doing business with and never sign anything without understanding exactly what you are signing. Use licensed or accredited mortgage and real estate professionals. Get independent legal advice from your own lawyer/notary and talk to them about title insurance and other methods of protection. Contact the local provincial land titles office to obtain the sales history of any property you are thinking about buying and consider having it inspected and appraised. An accredited appraiser will provide the property sales and MLS history. Find out from your lawyer if anyone other than the seller has a financial interest in the home or if there are any outstanding liens or tax arrears. If a deposit is required, make sure the funds are payable to and held in trust by the vendors realty company or by a lawyer/notary. You can also help to protect yourself by inspecting your credit report at least annually by contacting Canadas two credit-reporting agencies:Equifax Canadaatwww.equifax.caandTransUnion Canadaatwww.transunion.ca. Reporting Fraud If you suspect that you or someone you know has been the victim of mortgage fraud, please contact your local police department or The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. On-line:www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca Toll Free: 1-888-495-8501 Toll Free Fax: 1-888-654-9426 Email:email@example.com To find out more about mortgage fraud, visit the fraud prevention section of the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP) website athttp://mortgageconsumer.org/protect-yourself-from-real-estate-fraud. For over 65 years, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canadas national housing agency, and a source of objective, reliable housing information. Source:CMHCREAD MORE
Valuable Fraud Prevention Tips for Homebuyers and Homeowners: Part 1
March is Fraud Prevention Month. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has consistently been a leader in the fight against mortgage fraud and offers the following tips to protect yourself against becoming a victim of mortgage fraud. Misrepresentation of Information Mortgage fraudoccurs when someone deliberately misrepresents information in order to obtain mortgage financing that would not have been granted if the truth had been known. This can include: Misstating ones position or inflating ones income or length of service at their job; Misstating employment status (ie. salaried/full time versus contract, part time, hourly or commission-based or self-employed); Misrepresenting the amount and/or source of the down payment; Purchasing a rental property and misrepresenting it as owner-occupied; Not disclosing existing mortgage and/or debt obligations; Misrepresenting property details or omitting information in order to Inflate the property value; Adding co-borrowers who will not be residing in the home and do not intend to take responsibility for the mortgage. Another common form of fraud is when a con artist convinces someone with good credit to act as astraw buyer.A straw buyer is someone who agrees to put his or her name on a mortgage application on behalf of another person. In return for their participation, straw buyers may be offered cash or promised high returns when the property is sold. Often, straw buyers are deceived into believing that they will not be responsible for the mortgage payments. Consequences of Misrepresentation Borrowers who misrepresent information and straw buyers who allow a property to be purchased in their name are committing mortgage fraud and will be responsible for any financial shortfall in the event of default. They may also be held criminally responsible for their misrepresentation. Reporting Fraud If you suspect that you or someone you know has been the victim of mortgage fraud, please contact your local police department or The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. On-line:www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca Toll Free: 1-888-495-8501 Toll Free Fax: 1-888-654-9426 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org To find out more about mortgage fraud, visit the fraud prevention section of the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP) website athttp://mortgageconsumer.org/protect-yourself-from-real-estate-fraud. For over 65 years, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canadas national housing agency, and a source of objective, reliable housing information. Source: CMHCREAD MORE
Top five home renovations that increase property value
Looking to increase your homes property value? Here are five of the best renovations you can do to your home to increase property value. These five renovations can sometimes have a return on investment 5-6x what they cost. #5 Flooring Flooring is one of the most important aspects of your house. You will see an immediate rise in property valuation with the installation of hardwood floors. Existing hardwood floors that you can refinish are ideal as they are less costly to restore and in higher demand than new flooring materials. For the bathroom, tile will always be in demand and retain value exceptionally well. #4 Fixtures Kitchens often look tired and dated, in large part due to old fixtures. Replacing or updating cabinet hardware, light fixtures, countertops and faucets will result in an immediate increase in your homes value. This small, but effective upgrade will also revitalize the entire home. Pot lights are in high demand in open concept style homes. #3 Bathroom Thebathroomis the second most important room in the home in terms of valuation. If you can add a three-piece bathroom to a home with only one full bathroom, you will see a dramatic rise in the market value of your home. While you should never compromise bedroom space for a bathroom, try sneaking one in dead space in the home. Scott managed to fit in a 3-piece bathroom under a staircase the width of the room measured just 44 inches. As an added tip, use glass for the shower to make the bathroom feel more spacious. #2 Kitchen Kitchens are the single most important room in the home relating to valuation. The kitchen can make a significant difference in the value of your home. As such, it is crucial that you invest in having a modern, fresh anddesirable kitchen. Modern cabinetry, under cabinet lighting and new appliances will all significantly increase the value of your home on the market. To save on cost without compromising construction and desirability, look at options like Ikea cabinets as opposed to custom cabinetry. #1 An Income Suite No surprise, but the single biggest way to increase the value of your home is to build an income suite within the property. Whether this is converting yourbasement into a rental, or another floor in the home, an income property will increase your homes worth. The main reason for this is that it covers a portion, or sometimes all of your mortgage payments, and results in your home being cash flow positive which creates real wealth that can supplement your income. sources:www.homeownership.ca; www.genworth.caREAD MORE
New thinking on BoC rate hike
Source : by MBN (mortgagebrokernews.ca)| 03 Jan 2014Brokers are anticipating a particularly busy 2014 as clients look to move before the Bank of Canada does, although there’s new thinking on the timing of its long-awaited hike in the overnight rate."The Federal Reserve calmed potential homeowners and investors by signalling it won’t raise the rate until the economy improves further, which by its own estimates, probably won’t be until 2015," Bob Aggarwal, president of Canadalend.com said in a statement. "And because the Canadian economy is so dependent upon the U.S.economy, the chance that the Bank of Canada will raise its overnight rate, which is what the prime mortgage rate is tied to, ahead of the U.S. is remote."And with the central bank refusing to raise its rate until late 2015, the next two years may still provide ultra-low interest rates to entice buyers to jump into the market."By keeping its policy rate at one per cent, the Bank of Canada has created one of the most stable and favourable borrowing environments for potential homeowners in decades,” Aggarwal said. “It looks like it will continue to be agreat time for home buyers for at least a couple more years."However, that opportunity won’t last forever as, sooner or later, the Bank of Canada will have to raise its rate."The near-record low interest rate environment cannot last against the backdrop of an improving economy," Aggarwal said. "The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development believes that with the Canadian and global economies returning to more stable ground, the Bank of Canada will need to raise interest rates in 2014 and more than double the current interest rate by the end of 2015."The Bank of Canada has held its overnight rate at one per cent since September 2010 and many believe it will continue to do so until after the U.S. Federal reserve raises its own benchmark rate.READ MORE