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History of Mortgage Changes

The mortgage industry is a fluid and ever-changing industry. What was applicable one day seems to no longer apply to the next, and at times, it can be confusing to navigate through what all of these changes mean–and how they impact you directly. As Mortgage Brokers, we firmly believe that although the industry has gone through many changes over the years, each time our clients are able to overcome them by practicing the same sound advice–which we will reveal at the end! But first, a walkthrough of the mortgage changes over the past few years and how the industry has changed:

LOOKING BACK

Before 2008

During this time, lending and mortgages policies were much more lenient! There was 100% financing available, 40-year amortizations, cash back mortgages, 95% refinancing, 5% down payment required for rental properties, and qualifications for FIXED terms under 5 years and VARIABLE mortgages at the discounted contract rate. There was also NO LIMIT for your GROSS DEBT SERVICING (GDS) if your credit was strong enough. Relaxed lending guidelines when debt servicing secured and unsecured lines of credits and heating costs for non-subject and subject properties.

July 2008

We saw the elimination of 100% financing, the decrease of amortizations from 40-35 years and the introduction of minimum required credit scores, which all took place during this time period. It was also the time in which the Total Debt Servicing (TDS) could only be maxed to 45%.

April 2010
This time period saw Variable Rate Mortgages having to be qualified at the 5-year Bank of Canada’s posted rate along with 1-4 year Fixed Term Mortgages qualified at the same. There was also the introduction of a minimum of 20% down vs. 5% on investment properties and an introduction of new guidelines on looking at rental income, property taxes and heat.

March 2011

The 35-year Amortization dropped to 30 years for conventional mortgages, refinancing dropped to 85% from 90% and the elimination of mortgage insurance on secured lines of credit.

July 2012

30-year amortizations dropped again to 25 years for High Ratio Mortgages (less than 20% down). Refinancing also dropped down this time to 80% from 85%. Tougher guidelines within stated income mortgage products making financing for the Business for Self more challenging and the disappearance of true equity lending. Perhaps the three biggest changes of this time were:

  • Ban mortgage insurance on any million dollar homes
  • 20% min requirement for down payment
  • Elimination of cash back mortgages
  • Federal guidelines Min; requirement of 5% down
  • Introduction to FLEX DOWN mortgage products

February 2014

Increase in default insurance premiums.

February 2016

Minimum down payment rules changed to:

  • Up to $500,000 – 5%
  • Up to $1 million – 5% for the first $500,000 and 10% up to $1 million
  • $1 million and greater requires 20% down (no mortgage insurance available)

Exemption for BC Property Transfer Tax on NEW BUILDS regardless if one was a 1st time home buyer with a purchase price of $750,000 or less.

July 2016

Still fresh in our minds, the introduction of the foreign tax stating that an ADDITIONAL 15% Property Transfer Tax is applied for all non residents or corporations that are not incorporated in Canada purchasing property in British Columbia.

October 17, 2016: Stress testing

INSURED mortgages with less than 20% down Have to qualify at Bank of Canada 5 year posted rate.

November 30, 2016: Monoline Lenders

Portfolio Insured mortgages (monoline lenders) greater than 20% have new conditions with regulations requiring qualification at the Bank of Canada 5 year posted rate, maximum amortization of 25 years, max purchase price of $1 million and must be owner-occupied.

AND HERE WE ARE NOW…

January 2018: OSFI ANNOUNCES STRESS TESTING FOR ALL MORTGAGES + NO MORE BUNDLING AND MORE RESTRICTIONS

  • If your mortgage is uninsured (greater than 20% down payment) you will now need to qualify at the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the contractual mortgage rate +2%
  • Lenders will be required to enhance their LTV (loan to value) limits so that they will be responsive to risk. This means LTV’s will need to change as the housing market and economic environment change.
  • Restrictions will be placed on lending arrangements that are designed to circumvent LTV limits. This means bundled mortgages will no longer be permitted.

*A bundled mortgage is when you have a primary mortgage and pair it with a second loan from an alternative lender. It is typically done when the borrower is unable to have the required down payment to meet a specific LTV.

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

As you can see, the industry has always been one that has changed, shifted and altered based on the economy and what is currently going on in Canada. However, with the new changes that have come into effect this year, we recognize that many are concerned about the financial implications the 2018 changes may have.

The one piece of advice that we promised you at the start of this blog, and one that has helped all our clients get through these changes is this: work with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker!

We cannot emphasize the importance of this enough. We have up to date, industry knowledge, access to all of the top lenders and we are free to use! We guarantee to not only get you the sharpest rate, but also the right product for your mortgage.

Geoff Lee

GEOFF LEE

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Geoff is part of DLC GLM Mortgage Group based in Vancouver, BC

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What Is a “Monoline” Lender?

What usually follows once someone hears the term “Monoline Lender” for the first time is a feeling of suspicion and lack of trust. It’s understandable, I mean why is this “bank” you’ve never heard of willing to loan you money when you’ve never banked with them before?

In an effort to help you see the benefits of working with a Monoline Lender, here is some basic information that will help you understand why you’ve never heard of them, why you want to, and the reason they are referred to as lenders, not banks.

Monoline Lenders only operate in the mortgage space. They do not offer chequing or savings accounts, nor do they offer investments through RRSPs, GICs, or Tax-Free Savings Accounts. They are called Monoline because they have one line of business- mortgages.

This also plays into the reasons you never see their name or locations anywhere. There is no need for them to market on bus stop benches or billboards as they are only accessible through mortgage brokers, making their need to market to you unnecessary. The branch locations are also unnecessary because you do not have day-to-day banking, savings accounts, investment accounts, or credit cards through them. All your banking stays the exact same, with the only difference of a pre-authorized payments coming from your account for the monthly mortgage payment. Any questions or concerns, they have a phone number and communicate documents through e-mail.

Would it help Monoline Lenders to advertise and create brand awareness with the public? Absolutely. Is it necessary for them to remain in business? No.

Monoline Lenders also have some of the lowest interest rates on the market, the most attractive pre-payment privileges, and the lowest pre-payment penalties, especially when compared to a bigger bank like CIBC or RBC. If you don’t think these points are important, ask someone whose had a mortgage with one of these bigger banks and sold their property before their term was up and paid upwards of $12,000 in penalty fees. An equivalent amount with a Monoline Lender would be anywhere from $2,000-$4,000 in fees.

Monoline Lenders are not to be feared, they should be welcomed, as they are some of the most accommodating and client service-oriented lenders around! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

Ryan Oake

Ryan Oake

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Ryan is part of DLC Producers West Financial based in Langley, BC.

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Is it Time For a Mortgage Renewal?

Is your mortgage coming up for renewal this year?

There is a good chance that you or someone know has a mortgage coming due. Some 47% of Canadians, almost one out of every two households, that currently have financing in place will mature within the next 12 months with a major lender in Canada.

Here are a couple simple rules to follow if you, a friend, a family member or colleague are renewing your mortgage this year.

  • DO NOT just simply sign the renewal letter that comes in the mail.
  • INVESTIGATE your options.

70% of all mortgagors simply sign the renewal letter that comes in the mail. You would think that because you have been with the current lender for so long that you would receive the BEST rate out there. NEWS FLASH, that is 100% false. Remember, lenders are in business of making money for their shareholders. Your current lender has done their homework, you should do yours. They know that most of the borrowers will sign and send back the form for ease and convenience. We are lazy by nature and we possess too much trust. As finance consumers, there are scenarios I’ve seen where we are leaving 20-40 (0.20% – 0.40%) basis points on the table.

I recently read an article online that indicated the average mortgage amount in the Metro Vancouver area was $438,716 for 2016. Let’s round that amount to $450,000 for ease of calculation. For every 0.25% difference the mortgage payment increases (or decreases) $13 per every $100,000 extended. If your current lender offered you a rate 0.25% higher than another lender then this scenario would yield an annual increase of $936. Are you able to invest 4-5 hours of your time to save that kind of money? Heck ya you can! That is $187.20 – $234 per hour.

Renewing with your existing lender may or may not be your only option. When 47% of you out there receive the renewal letter in the mail this year, I have 936 reasons why I would strongly advise you to reach out to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist to discuss ALL your options – switching lenders to save money and/or leveraging equity for financial planning purposes.
Here is an example of how I just re-financed my home to access my equity. We were able to obtain a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) mortgage product from a major Canadian charter bank.

  • Current residence appraised at $1.15MM.
  • Current mortgage balance, $445,000.
  • Maximum loan limit, $920,000 (80% of market value: 1,150,000 x 80%).
  • Opted to secure the current balance into a variable rate mortgage
  • The equity of $475,000 was set-up access from a line of credit
  • These clients now have access to funds for any future needs: renos, emergency, investment opportunities, post-secondary education for their children.

But while a HELOC allows for product diversification and long-term planning, it is not for everyone. It can be a bad idea if it’s just used as access to easy cash. One needs to possess high self-discipline, as the funds are extremely accessible. A HELOC is also not available to all homeowners as there must be greater than 20% equity in the home before a lender will consider it.

With 13 modifications to the lending policies since 2006 the time to plan is now. If I were to attempt the same re-financing maneuver today to leverage equity I would qualify for 20% less ($95,000) or $380,000. This would be one less rental property added to the portfolio. Before anymore changes happen, you should consider accessing your money today.

Michael Hallett

Michael Hallett

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Michael is part of DLC Producers West Financial based in Coquitlam, BC.

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What are Accelerated Payments?

An accelerated payment is a mortgage payment that is increased slightly so that you can pay off your mortgage faster. There are two common types of accelerated payments: bi-weekly and weekly. Of the two, bi-weekly is the much more common choice because it matches with pay dates more often.

An accelerated payment works by increasing your weekly or bi-weekly payment by an amount that would have you pay one full month’s payment extra per year.

Accelerated payments are a great way to start paying off your mortgage, but they actually do not have much of an impact on the interest you will pay. Banks and mortgage professionals use this term to make borrowers think they are paying off their mortgage faster, but the amount of interest saved over the course of your term is minescule.

There’s nothing wrong with accelerated payments, but they are only part of the puzzle. Please contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to learn more.

Illustration:
If your payment is $1,000 per month, you pay 12 months per year, which will equal $12,000 of payments that year.

Now, if you pay semi-monthly, or every half month, you pay $500 per payment, for a total of $12,000 per year at 24 payments.

Bi-weekly payments are 26 payments per year with $461.50 per payment.

However, accelerated bi-weekly payments use the semi-monthly payments of $500, 26 times. This means that you end up paying $13,000 over the course of the year, or one extra monthly payment.

The Bare Bones

If all you do is an accelerated payment, your mortgage payoff is stunted compared to what is available. Across Canada, due to the fact that mortgage sizes are now very high, paying off a mortgage should be more of a priority.

Eitan Pinsky

Eitan Pinsky

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Eitan is part of DLC Origin Mortgages based in Vancouver, BC.

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Tips for your variable rate mortgage that could save you thousands

With changes to mortgage rules and interest rates on the rise here are some tips for your variable rate mortgage that could save you thousands.

Since 2009 the prime lending rate has shifted from a high of 6% down to 2% range remaining fairly level for the past few years before rising to a present day level of 3.45%. During that time, lenders have offered consumers high discount variable mortgage as low as 1.2% when rates were at their lowest, to current rates of 2.45 (depending on the lender and if the mortgage is insured or not).

Historically the choice of a variable rate mortgage over a fixed term has allowed borrowers to save in interest costs.

I always recommend if my clients can qualify and it makes sense for their specific situation to choose variable only if they will take full advantage of the lower rate. By setting their payment to the equivalent of the 5 year fixed rate at the time, the difference in payment goes directly to principal pay down.

Every 10% increase in payment shaves three years off the amortization of a five-year term so every bit extra matters and can make a difference.

If your mortgage is maturing in the next 90-180 days, it is time to talk to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional for tips for your variable rate mortgage that could save you thousands.

You may feel the pressure to lock in to a fixed rate after the recent increases in the prime lending rate. For some this may be an option. However, I have the same advice every time someone asks me this question: It depends on your situation and we need to do a review. Take the extra time to review the current rate, remaining term of the mortgage, the new offer, how that will impact payments and your plans for staying in your home, moving and/or if this is an investment property.

For example Amy and Jake have a current balance of $300,000 on their mortgage with a variable rate at Prime minus .80% (2.65%). Current payments set at $703 bi-weekly. The mortgage matures in 24 months but they are considering to lock in for a new five-year term offered at 3.34%. New payments would be $739. They love their condo but not sure if they will stay or move in two years or not.

After a review of their mortgage we offer a second option. Keep the remaining variable rate mortgage in place for the remaining two years. Set payments at 3.34% or $739 bi-weekly.

They decide on this second option because:

  • In 24 months the savings on interest is $4,000 and their outstanding balance is $4,000 less than by staying in the fixed rate
  • They won’t be locked into a mortgage for another five years
  • If they choose to sell before the maturity date, the penalty on a variable mortgage is only three months interest
  • In two years they can either choose to stay with the same lender or move to another lender without penalty

With this strategy they don’t have to feel pressured into locking in today and they can continue to take advantage of the lower variable rate.

So if you are in a variable rate mortgage and not sure what to do. Remember my tips for your variable rate mortgage that could save you thousands.

Pauline Tonkin

Pauline Tonkin

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Pauline is part of DLC Innovative Mortgage Solutions based in Coquitlam, BC.

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4 Signs You’re Ready For Home Ownership

While most people know the main things they need to buy a home, such as stable employment and enough money for a down payment, there are a few other factors that may help you realize you’re ready, perhaps even earlier than you thought!

As a mortgage broker, it is my job to ensure that each one of my clients is getting the best service I can provide. Part of this means educating as much as possible when it comes to buying a home, which is why I’ve put together a list of 4 signs that may tell you that you are ready to become a homeowner.

You should have more funds available than the minimum of a down payment
This one may seem obvious, but it’s something that people may not realize until they actually think about it. It’s very difficult to afford a home if you only have enough money for a down payment and then find yourself scrambling for day-to-day living after that.

If you have enough money saved up (more than the minimum needed for a down payment), you may be ready to start house-hunting.

Your credit score is good
This might seem obvious at first glance, however, if you don’t have a good credit score, chances increase that you could be declined altogether or stuck with a higher interest rate and thus end up paying higher mortgage payments. If you have a less-than-optimal credit score, working with a mortgage professional can help you get on the right track in the shortest time possible. Sometimes a few subtle changes can bump a credit score from “meh” to “yahoo” in a few short months.

Breaking the bank isn’t in your future plans
Do you plan on buying two new vehicles in the next two years? Are you thinking of starting a family? Are you considering going back to school?

Although you may think you can afford to purchase a home right now, it’s extremely important to think about one, two, and five years down the road. If you know that you aren’t planning on incurring big expenses that you need to factor into your budget anytime soon, then that’s something that may help you decide to buy a home.

You are disciplined
It’s easy to say, “it’s a home, I’m going to have it for a long time so I may as well go all-in!”. While that would be nice, that’s rarely the case!

You must have a limit that you’re willing to spend. Sitting down with a mortgage broker or real estate agent and analyzing your finances is crucial. It’s important that you know costs associated with buying a home and what the maximum amount is that you can afford without experiencing financial struggles. IMPORTANT: This is not the amount that you are told is your max!

This is the amount that you calculate as your max based on your current monthly budget and savings plan. It’s quite frequent where I have clients tell me that their max budget is, say, $1200 and then when I run the numbers they could actually be approved for much more. Low and behold suddenly these guys are looking at homes that are hundreds of dollars a month higher than their initial perceived budget. It is up to you (with my help or pleading, when necessary) to reel things back in and make sure that you aren’t getting into something that affects the long-term livelihood of a well thought out budget or savings plan.

Conclusion

These are just four signs that you may be ready to purchase a home. If you’re seriously considering buying or selling, talking with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker, such as myself, can help put you on the right path to a successful real estate transaction.

SHAUN SERAFINI

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Shaun is part of DLC Canadian Mortgage Excellence based in Lethbridge, AB.