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Housing Market Overview
Toronto and Ontario Housing Market Forecast Canadian Real Estate Market Report Greater Toronto Area Real Estate Market Ontario Real Estate MArket Update Canada’s housing market displayed signs of cooling during the first quarter of 2013, as total sales declined 15.3% year-over-year. Prices remain higher year-over-year as the overall market remains in balanced territory with stable supply/demand dynamics. While comparing year-over-year metrics can be useful, we believe it can be misleading given we are coming off record volume years. The CMHC expects total sales for 2013 to reach 451,100, unchanged vs 2012 and 3.4% below the long term average of 467,100. Industry experts fully expect that headlines will continue to focus on how sales remain down from last year, but are quick to point out that those same numbers have held steady since the last round of mortgage regulations took effect in July 2012. Although transactions remained down from year ago levels in more than 90% of all local markets, the gap diminished in a number of large urban markets including Greater Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal. Edmonton was the only large urban market which had sales that surpassed those of a year ago. The national market remains firmly in balanced territory as inventory declined to 6.6 months at the end of April from 6.7 months in December. The decline was a result of an increase in sales combined with a decline in the overall supply of homes for sale. The national average price for homes sold in April was $380,588, which represents a 1.3% increase from the same month last year and a 4.6% increase from the average sale price in 2012. Greater Toronto Area Real Estate Market In the GTA, resale activity slowed during the first four months of the year with a 11% decline in total sales compared with the first four months of 2012. Shortage of listings in some market segments, stricter lending guidelines and the additional land transfer tax is likely to have played a role in the decline. The largest year-over-year decline amongst any segment was the resale condo market which was down 13.9% from the first four months of 2012. This decline was spread evenly between the “416” and “905” regions in the GTA. Prices continue to be supported by overall supply/demand dynamics as the average selling price during the first four months was $513,895 which represented a 2.8% increase from the same period one year ago. The average selling price in April was led by townhomes and highrise condo apartments which both saw a 3.1% year-over-year price increase followed by semi-detached homes where there was a 2.7% increase. The average selling price has rebounded to start the year after experiencing two consecutive down months to close 2012. GTA Year-Over-Year Summary For April Source: TREB Taking a closer look at the condo market in the GTA, there was a total of 4,133 sales reported through the MLS System in the first 3 months which was down 17% from the first quarter of 2012. New listings were also down 5.3% year-over-year. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, condo buyers benefited from a substantial amount of choice in the market especially in comparison to low-rise home types. But given that new listings were down in the first quarter, this suggests that the market may become tighter moving forward. Inventory numbers continue to remain low amongst low-rise homes as the number of newly listed homes continue to decrease. At the end of April, there was just 1.8 months of inventory in this segment compared to over 3 months at the end of 2012. Condo inventories also felt the effects of fewer listings, as inventory fell to under 3.5 months for the first time since May 2012. The national inventory number is 6.6 months. Historical Home Sales and Average Price in the GTA Source: TREB Months of Inventory Between Highrise Lowrise Housing in GTA Source: TREB Ontario Real Estate Market Update Existing home sales in Ontario stabilized during the first quarter of 2013 after trending lower in each of the prior four quarters. A total of 39,330 homes were sold during the first three months which represented a 4.9% increase from the fourth quarter of 2012 and a 13.6% decline from the same period one year earlier. Modest job growth across the province coupled with more out-migration over the past year contributed to sluggish resale demand. New home listings dropped province wide for a third consecutive quarter as weather conditions and less upward pressure on prices discouraged homeowners from putting homes on the market. Row and apartment housing remained well supplied while single and semi-detached housing experienced less obliging supply conditions. The hottest market was Thunder Bay due in large part to lack of supply options. Hamilton, Barrie and Oshawa are markets which have tightened due to incoming demand from households bypassing the more expensive GTA market. Despite the presence of balanced market conditions, Ontario home prices still managed to grow above the general rate of inflation during the early part of 2013. The average selling price during the first three months was $393,170 which was a 2.4% increase over the first quarter of 2012. The price gain was supported by the fact that mid to higher end homes continue to dominate a large part of the entire market. This phenomenon is consistent with the tighter market conditions for singles and semi-detached housing in some of the major markets across the province. Ontario’s tightest resale markets posted the strongest price gains so far this year with Thunder Bay leading the way. Comparison of Select Markets in Ontario Source: CMHC Ontario saw a decline in the number of newly constructed residential homes during the quarter with most of the weakness concentrated in the multi-family home sector, with singles posting modest declines. Momentum in the residential construction sector has been less intense since last spring due to better supplied resale markets and high level of units under construction. Residential construction has declined most in Kitchener, Kingston and Windsor while holding up better in Barrie, Thunder Bay and St. Catharines-Niagara. Average Annual Home Prices in Ontario Source: CMHC
To help make homeownership more affordable for first-time home buyers, Budget 2019 introduces theFirst-Time Home Buyer Incentive.
The Incentive would allow eligible first-time home buyers who have the minimum down payment for an insured mortgage to apply to finance a portion of their home purchase through a shared equity mortgage with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
It is expected that approximately 100,000 first-time home buyers would be able to benefit from the Incentive over the next three years.
Since no ongoing payments would be required with the Incentive, Canadian families would have lower monthly mortgage payments. For example, if a borrower purchases a new $400,000 home with a 5 per cent down payment and a 10 per cent CMHC shared equity mortgage ($40,000), the borrowers total mortgage size would be reduced from $380,000 to $340,000, reducing the borrowers monthly mortgage costs by as much as $228 per month. Terms and conditions for the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive would be released by CMHC.
CMHC would offer qualified first-time home buyers a 10 per cent shared equity mortgage for a newly constructed home or a 5 per cent shared equity mortgage for an existing home. This larger shared equity mortgage for newly constructed homes could help encourage the home construction needed to address some of the housing supply shortages in Canada, particularly in our largest cities.
The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive would include eligibility criteria to ensure that the program helps those with legitimate needs while ensuring that participants are able to afford the homes they purchase. The Incentive would be available to first-time home buyers with household incomes under $120,000 per year. At the same time, participants insured mortgage and the Incentive amount cannot be greater than four times the participants annual household incomes.
Budget 2019 also proposes to increase the Home Buyers Plan withdrawal limit from $25,000 to $35,000, providing first-time home buyers with greater access to their Registered Retirement Savings Plan savings to buy a home.
Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1 ¾ per cent
The Bank of Canada today maintained its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 2 per cent and the deposit rate is 1 per cent.
Recent data suggest that the slowdown in the global economy has been more pronounced and widespread than the Bank had forecast in its January Monetary Policy Report (MPR). While the sources of moderation appear to be multiple, trade tensions and uncertainty are weighing heavily on confidence and economic activity. It is difficult to disentangle these confidence effects from other adverse factors, but it is clear that global economic prospects would be buoyed by the resolution of trade conflicts.
Many central banks have acknowledged the building headwinds to growth, and financial conditions have eased as a result. Meanwhile, progress in US-China trade talks and policy stimulus in China have improved market sentiment and contributed to firmer commodity prices.
For Canada, the Bank was projecting a temporary slowdown in late 2018 and early 2019, mainly because of last years drop in oil prices. The Bank had forecast weak exports and investment in the energy sector and a decline in household spending in oil-producing provinces. However, the slowdown in the fourth quarter was sharper and more broadly based. Consumer spending and the housing market were soft, despite strong growth in employment and labour income. Both exports and business investment also fell short of expectations. After growing at a pace of 1.8 per cent in 2018, it now appears that the economy will be weaker in the first half of 2019 than the Bank projected in January.
Core inflation measures remain close to 2 per cent. CPI inflation eased to 1.4 per cent in January, largely because of lower gasoline prices. The Bank expects CPI inflation to be slightly below the 2 per cent target through most of 2019, reflecting the impact of temporary factors, including the drag from lower energy prices and a wider output gap.
Governing Council judges that the outlook continues to warrant a policy interest rate that is below its neutral range. Given the mixed picture that the data present, it will take time to gauge the persistence of below-potential growth and the implications for the inflation outlook. With increased uncertainty about the timing of future rate increases, Governing Council will be watching closely developments in household spending, oil markets, and global trade policy.
The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is April 24, 2019. The next full update of the Banks outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published in the MPR at the same time.