Soapboxes, Popcorn and Credit Cards. Oh My!
By my count, on a random Thursday night, as I have a glass of wine and some microwave popcorn for supper, there have been about 9 sweeping regulatory changes in the Canadian mortgage market since 2007.
Lets go back to 2007.
At that time, I was in love forever, I wore a size 26 pair of jeans and my Canadian Blue Chips were pulling in a lazy 15% return, all while I was trying to figure out what was going on in Lost. (What exactly was the black smoke monster? Did they ever really ever circle back to that?) Speaking of smoke, all of this went up in it.
That same year, I left my cush bank gig for the rock n roll lifestyle of a mortgage broker because I was promised endless sandwiches and the ability to cuss whenever I wanted. And here I am. Exactly 10 years later. Truly, the sandwiches and profanity are the only constants in this market. Everything else is flipped and reversed.
There are probably a couple of changes in how your mortgage is qualified that we should address. So, let me just lay this out for you:
Firstly....you kind of need a paper trail and reasonable track record of the income that you earn over a legit period of time that would lead someone to the logical conclusion that you can afford a payment on a big thing like a whole entire house.
I knowbanks are assholes. But lets just devils advocate this one.
If you have a salary or guaranteed base hours and that can be confirmed by your employer, we can use that to determine how much of a mortgage payment you can afford by the banks guidelines. If you have any fluctuating income, are self-employed or working on a contract basis, youre going to need to show a two-year track record of how thats been playing out. Or, youre going to need to pony up a more sizable down payment to mitigate the possibility of a dip in your earnings.
Does that really seem so unreasonable? Youre buying a WHOLE ENTIRE HOUSE!
Second...ifyou have credit card debt, or lines of credit which are readvancible*, we are going to assign, on your mortgage application, a completely fictitious, super-high payment that you dont contractually, morally or reasonably ever have to pay and will effect the price of the home the banks determine that you can afford by their guidelines. (And when I say super-high, I mean James Franco super-high.) Oh and by the way, youre completely screwing your credit!
*Readvancible means that its not a loan that you would make set payments on over a predetermined amount of time until its paid. Rather, its a credit limit, like a credit card or line of credit.
And I have a serious beef on this point.
When it comes to your credit card debt and how its required to be appropriated on your mortgage application, the banks blame the feds who regulate the banks. The feds wag their fingers at the consumers who misuse the credit limits. The credit limits are glad-handed by the banks to anyone with a pulse. The banks blame the feds and the feds blame us and the banks blame
You get where this is going, right? To Bullshitsville! Thats where.
Take control. If you are holding credit card debt or balances on lines of credit, you are putting undue pressure on your capacity to carry a mortgage. You may have some interest-only, easy-street, payment arrangement written in blood on your 20% annual interest contract. However, the banks are assigning a very large, made up payment for the purpose of qualifying a mortgage. (The same bank that said Hey! Here! Have this interest-only, easy-street credit card! Youve made it, Cuz! Drinks for everyone!) And then you cant qualify for your mortgage.
This is a thing. Its happening.
And not to kick you while youre down but if you are holding more than 50% balance on your credit card, in relation to the overall credit limit, your credit score is abysmal. This is true. Call your handy dandy mortgage broker. We see credit reports by the dozen, on the daily. And we can help. We have access to the whole puppetshow. We know where all the strings are. And when I say we, I actually mean more specifically me. I can help. Its pretty much my lifes work.
On a side note, its been 10 years for me as a mortgage broker this month. This is a tough industry. So, I think that makes me officially biker-gang badass. And Im celebrating with wine and microwave popcorn.
Like a black smoke baller.
Ontario just introduced a 16-point plan to control real estate, including a Foreign Home Buyer Tax
On April 20, 2017, the Ontario government introduced the Ontarios Fair Housing Plan, a 16-point plan to control real estate, address thedemand for housing, increase supply, and protect buyers and renters.
The 16 measures in the plan include a legislation that would implement a new 15 % Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST), similar to the 15 % tax on foreign buyers already introduced in Vancouver last May.
Once legislation passes, the tax would be effective retroactively to April 21.
The measures are aimed at cooling down the hot housing market in the Greater Toronto Area, where prices were up 33 % from a year ago while condominium rents rose 8.3 % in the first quarter from a year ago.
Now that two major cities have been impacted by a Foreign Buyer Tax, only time will tell if investors will look to other Canadian cities to invest their funds.
Canadian home sales up on a month-over-month basis in March
According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales were up on a month-over-month basis in March 2017.
- National home sales rose 1.1% from February to March.
- Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in March was up 6.6% from a year earlier.
- The number of newly listed homes climbed 2.5% from February to March.
- The MLS Home Price Index (HPI) was up 18.6% year-over-year (y-o-y) in March 2017.
- The national average sale price increased by 8.2% y-o-y in March.
Home sales over Canadian MLS Systems edged up 1.1% in March 2017, surpassing the previous monthly record set in April 2016 by one-quarter of a percent.
March sales were up from the previous month in more than half of all local markets, led by the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, London St. Thomas and Montreal.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in March was up 6.6% year-over-year, with gains in close to 75% of all local markets. Sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) posted the biggest increase, which offset a decline in the number of homes changing hands in Greater Vancouver.
The number of newly listed homes rose 2.5% in March 2017, led by gains in the GTA, Calgary, Edmonton and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.
With new listings having climbed by more than sales, the national sales-to-new listings ratio eased to 67.4% in March compared to 68.3% in February.
A sales-to-new listings ratio between 40 and 60 is generally consistent with balanced housing market conditions, with readings below and above this range indicating buyers and sellers markets respectively.
The ratio was above the sellers market threshold in about 60% of all local housing markets in March, the majority of which are located in British Columbia, in and around the GTA and across southwestern Ontario.
There were 4.1 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of March 2017, down from 4.2 months in February and the lowest level for this measure in almost a decade. The number of months of inventory in March 2017 stood at or below one month in the GTA, Hamilton-Burlington, Oakville-Milton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Brantford, Guelph, Barrie District, parts of the Niagara Region and parts of cottage country.
The Aggregate Composite MLS HPI rose by 18.6% y-o-y in March 2017. Price gains accelerated for all benchmark housing categories tracked by the index.
Prices for two-storey single family homes posted the strongest year-over-year gains (+21%), followed closely by townhouse/row units (+17.9%), one-storey single family homes (16.6%) and apartment units (16.3%).
While benchmark home prices were up from year-ago levels in 11 of 13 housing markets tracked by the MLS HPI, price trends continued to vary widely by location.
In the Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver, prices have been recovering in recent months after having dipped in the second half of last year. On a year-over-year basis, home prices in the Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver remain well above year-ago levels (+19.4% y-o-y and +12.7% y-o-y respectively).
Meanwhile, y-o-y benchmark price increases were in the 20% range in Victoria and elsewhere on Vancouver Island. Guelph recorded a similar price gain, while Greater Toronto and Oakville-Milton saw prices rise in the 30% range in March.
By comparison, home prices eased by 1.2% y-o-y in Calgary and by 1.5% y-o-y in Saskatoon. Prices in these two markets now stand 5.4% and 5.1% below their respective peaks reached in 2015.
Home prices were up modestly from year-ago levels in Regina (+1.7%), Ottawa (+4%), Greater Montreal (+3.3% y-o-y) and Greater Moncton (+4.7%).
Year-over-year price gains were led by different benchmark housing categories in each of these markets. In Regina, apartments posted the biggest price increase, which snapped a long series of price declines for apartments that began in early 2015. In Ottawa, prices rose most for one-storey single family homes. In Montreal, two-storey single family home prices posted the biggest gain; meanwhile in Moncton, it was townhouse/row unit prices that climbed the most.
HPI) provides the best way of gauging price trends because average price trends are prone to Home Price Index (MLSThe MLSbeing strongly distorted by changes in the mix of sales activity from one month to the next.
The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in March 2017 was $548,517, up 8.2% from where it stood one year earlier.
The national average price continues to be pulled upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which remain two of Canadas tightest, most active and expensive housing markets.