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What is your Best Rate?
Recently I had some good friends of mine ask what the going interest rates are and more importantly what is the best rate could I get them. Obviously not an uncommon question in my line of work but this is no longer a quick and easy question. Last year if I wanted to be a little cheeky (depending on who was asking) Id respond with a question of my own, like whats your credit score? 9 times out of 10 there would be an awkward pause and blank stare followed by a does it matter? Yes, yes it does. Once we got through that portion of the conversation Id then begin talking about the rates. But that was 2016, and now that it is 2017 the rate game has become a little like the did you see what Trump just tweeted conversation that is making people yearn for the days of old. Last October Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced significant changes* to our industry which included new securitization rules and qualification requirements. These changes forced lenders to adjust their pricing models to account for the increased costs of doing business and those costs have been handed down to you the borrower. Prior to that announcement I had a nice simple rate sheet that told me what every lender was offering. Now my rate sheet could easily be 5 pages long and it would still be incomplete. Credit scores were once the driving factor in your interest rate, now Mortgage Brokers should be asking you a laundry list of questions to determine what mortgage is best suited for you long before they tell you the best rates. Here are some questions you need to be prepared to answer before you can start asking about the interest rate. Is this a purchase or refinance? What is the loan to value percentage? What term and amortization would you like? What type of property are you wanting to mortgage? Can you prove your income? Can you stomach the idea of a very large penalty if you need to break the term? These are just a few of the questions your Mortgage Broker needs to ask when you to properly evaluate what the best rate for you is. Do you want to know where you fit into the new world of mortgage rates? Please give me a call or send me an email and I would be happy to help. *Industry Changes: Department of Finance and Article from the Globe and Mail Mortgage Tip: Do you know what is on your credit report? Check your report for free.
Virtual Tours and Live Streams a Hit on REALTOR.ca
While staying home to help stop the spread of COVID-19, Canadians are spending more time looking at properties on REALTOR.ca, Canadas No. 1 real estate platform*. During the week of March 9, visits to REALTOR.ca dropped by 30%; however, since April 12 traffic has crept back up by 14% and consumer inquiries to REALTORS through the site rose by 25%similar to levels during the same period last year. Despite the pandemic, REALTOR.ca has seen a 14% increase of visitors during the first quarter of 2020. As COVID-19 is limiting how buyers can visit homes that interest them, REALTOR.ca makes it possible for Canadian REALTORS to virtually showcase listings by integrating video and 3D tours from 10 of the most popular services. Since April 7, REALTORS can also schedule and promote live stream open houses using popular platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom and YouTube. If theres one thing 30-plus years in this business has taught me, its that as an industry we are early adopters of technology, said Costa Poulopoulos, Chair of the Canadian Real Estate Association. With restrictions on how we can continue to serve our clients, Im proud that weve been able to add features for REALTORS that allow them to continue to show homes to interested buyers.
Canada's Manufacturing heavily impacted in March
Manufacturing shipments fell 9.2% in March after climbing 0.4% the prior month. This result was more than double the drop expected by consensus (-4.5%). Lower sales were registered in 17 of the 21 industries surveyed, including transportation (-26.5%), petroleum and coal products (-32.2%), and plastics/rubber products (-10.9%). Alternatively, shipments increased for food manufacturing (+8.2%) and paper manufacturing (+8.4%). With the price effect removed, total factory sales decreased 8.3% m/m, while inventories grew 0.8%. As a result, the real inventory-to-sales ratio rose from 1.56 to 1.72, a bad sign for future production. Manufacturing sales came in much worse than expected in March, matching their largest one-month decline on record (December 2008). Sales retraced all the way back to their level in June 2016. It should come as no surprise that disruptions from COVID-19 were the chief cause of the decline. Indeed, 78.3% of manufacturing businesses reported being impacted by the pandemic. Transportation saw a significant decline owing to plant closures, while refineries lowered production as demand and prices waned. Not everyone experienced an adverse shock, as evidenced by marked increases for food (groceries) and paper manufacturing (toilet paper) in the month. This will likely be transitory, however, as households rushed to stock up in March. Eight of the ten provinces reported lower sales, with Ontario and Quebec posting the largest declines. All told, given that confinement measures had been in place for only two weeks in March, the April manufacturing picture can be expected to be even worse. Home sales fell 56.8% from March to April, to the lowest level recorded since the inception of seasonally adjusted data in 1988. The fall was generalized to all the 26 major markets tracked by CREA except Newfoundland and Labrador, where sales rose 13.6%. New listings also fell sharply (-55.7%) but active listings only 8.7%. Therefore, the active-listings-to-sales ratio (our preferred gauge of market conditions) skyrocketed from 4.3 months of inventory in March to 9.2 in April, the largest since the 2008-09 recession. Source: National Bank of Canada