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MORTGAGES By Mehboob Sheriff, B.Comm., LL.B. The Spectrums in Mortgage Lending Even though I have been in the Real Estate and Mortgage fields for over 40+ years- all I can muster as an answer to what is the Mortgage Rate? is a weak depends. Our topic for this article is Spectrums in Mortgage Lending. Basically, a spectrum is a range just like the rainbow has a spectrum of colours similarly in mortgage lending we have a range of borrowers, lenders, terms and properties. Each has its own spectrum which in turn determines the rate. The Borrower Spectrum: There are many types of borrowers but for underwriting purposes they are evaluated by the 5 Cs of Credit which serve to form both a quantitative and a qualitative measure for lending. The five-Cs-of-credit are summarized as: Character: This is mostly obtained from the Credit Report. The two credit reporting agencies in Canada are Equifax and TransUnion. The reports detail the loans you have and how good/bad are you in keeping to your commitments. These are then calculated into a score (referred to Beacon or FICO rating), which range from 300 to 900. Normally a score of 650 or above should qualify you for a standard loan. Capacity: This measures the borrowers ability to meet his commitments. This is done by comparing the income against his debt or other recurring expenses called the DTI (debt to income ratio). As an aside, recently studies find that both Vancouver and Toronto are facing high DTIs. Usually, a lender would like to see DTI below 35% but may consider as high as 43%. We will discuss this more when we study the Spectrum of Lenders. Capital: How much money does the borrower have and how much is he willing to put as a down payment on the property? The larger the down payment more security for the lender. The down payment also determines if a conventional or insured mortgage is obtained. Collateral: What is the loan against? In other words what is the property value and what is the loan that a borrower is seeking. For this purpose, a lender would require an appraisal to determine the value of the property and the subsequent loan to value ratio (LTV). An LTV of 80% or less would be a conventional mortgage. Conditions: What is the purpose of the loan, what is the term of the loan, are there options to prepay, interest only or blended payments, etc., all come under conditions. These terms and conditions help a lender match and determine the interest rate charged. The Lender Spectrum: The lenders can basically be categorized as follows: A Lenders: If you meet the lenders requirement of Character Capacity they would be your best bet for a low interest rate. They like a good credit rating (650, preferably higher) and good income ratio. Capital is not as important for if you do not have the down payment they would simply offer you an insured mortgage. Remember you pay the premium and their loan is insured! B Lenders: They might be your second-best alternative to get a reasonable interest rate perhaps .50 to 1% above the A Lenders. You may have to approach them if you are a bit weak in your credit report or income. Alternate Lenders: These are a very important section of lenders for those borrowers who for whatever reason cannot meet the criteria of the A B lenders. This could be because of the type of property, documentations, income verifications, Stress Tests, etc. They are more expensive than the first two and could be anywhere from 1% to 3% above the A lenders plus likely that they would charge a Lenders fee. Private Lenders: The have always been a part of the Lenders Spectrum but they seem to be playing more and more role recently because of the stress test and types of properties like raw land, development land, gas stations, 2nd or 3rd mortgages on hotels, restaurants, etc. Their term is usually shorter say up to 1 year, and the rates can vary greatly. Lender fess of 1 to 2% are very common. To keep this article short, we will not discuss the Spectrum of properties in this article. In my opinion the mort important element in borrowing is the interview itself. A good, experienced mortgage broker will help you see where you are in the mortgage spectrum and which lender would be the best match for you. Also, if there are any shortfalls in your application this can be identified and explained in a manner that helps your case. No sense going from lender to lender for the lenders can see your history. Do it once, properly!
National house price index rises again in August
The national HPI has grown at a below-inflation rate of 0.6% over the last 12 months. However, the weakness is not regionally broad-based. The national HPI has been depressed by 12 consecutive months without a rise in Vancouvers index, which dropped a cumulative 6.6%. Other Western metropolitan areas (Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg) also contributed to slow the national HPI. At the opposite, annual growth has been decent in most of the regions located in the central and eastern part of the country. That being said, home sales in August were up 55% from March in Vancouver, where market conditions went from favorable to buyers to balanced. Over that period, home sales rose 19% in Calgary and 12% in Edmonton. These improvements, if sustained, will sooner or later help limit home-price deflation in this region. The TeranetNational Bank Composite National House Price IndexTM increased 0.4% in August, a fourth gain in a row after an eight-month string without a rise. On a monthly basis, the index rose in 8 of the 11 markets covered: Victoria (+0.2%), Calgary (+0.6%), Hamilton (0.7%), Winnipeg (0.7%), Toronto (+0.8%), Montreal (1.1%), Ottawa-Gatineau (1.7%) and Halifax (1.8%). The index was down in Vancouver (-0.8%), Quebec City (-0.4%) and Edmonton (-0.1%). From August 2018 to August 2019, the Composite index rose 0.6%. Over the period, the HPI declined in Vancouver (-6.6%), Edmonton (-3.1%), Calgary (-2.3%). It was marginally up in Quebec City (0.1%), Victoria (0.7%) and Winnipeg (1.1%). It grew more convincingly in Toronto (+3.8%), Hamilton (+4.4%), Halifax (5.5%), Montreal (+5.7%) and Ottawa-Gatineau (+6.4%). Source: National Bank, Marc Pinsonneault
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 for the rest of 2019 and looking ahead to 2020. Economic fundamentals underpinning housing activity remain strong outside of the Prairies and Newfoundland and Labrador. Population and employment growth have both remained supportive and the unemployment rate remains low. At the same time, expectations have become widespread that the Bank of Canada is unlikely to raise interest rates over the rest of the year and into next. More importantly for home buyers and housing markets, longer-term mortgage rates have been declining. Among those that have declined is the Bank of Canadas benchmark five-year rate used by banks to qualify mortgage applicants. Additionally, the Federal Government has recently launched its First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, a shared equity program in which the federal government finances a portion of a home purchase in exchange for an equity share of the homes value. Of these factors supporting Canadian housing activity, the decline in mortgage rates is arguably the most important development since the release in June of CREAs most recent forecast. The decline in the benchmark five-year mortgage rate has marginally relaxed the B-20 mortgage stress-test, which has dampened housing activity more than other policy changes made in recent years. Home sales have improved by more than expected in recent months and there are early signs that home price declines in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and across the Prairies may be abating. Meanwhile, home prices are re-accelerating across Ontarios Greater Golden Horseshoe region. Strong economic fundamentals, previously unexpected declines in mortgage interest rates and stronger than previously expected housing market trends in British Columbia and Ontario have resulted in CREA upwardly revising forecast home sales in 2019 and 2020. Nonetheless, the overall level of national sales activity this year and next is anticipated to remain below levels recorded prior to the implementation of the B-20 stress test. National home sales are now projected to recover to 482,000 units in 2019, representing a 5% increase from the five-year low recorded in 2018. While this is an upward revision of 19,000 transactions compared to CREAs previous forecast (85% of which is due to upgraded British Columbia and Ontario forecasts), it represents a return of activity to its 10-year annual average. It also remains well below the annual record set in 2016, when almost 540,000 homes traded hands. Notwithstanding the upward revision, the forecast for 2019 on a per capita basis remains the second weakest since 2001.