Posts Tagged ‘First Time Home Buyers’

A Rise in First Time Homebuyers in Alberta

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

A recent national survey sent out to prospective buyers in Alberta reports that over the next two years Alberta will see a rise in first time homebuyers. If this is any indication, Albertans remain confident in the marketing heading in to 2013 and the future.

Even more surprising is that 20% of the prospective buyers that plan to buy in the near future are single. Calgarians no matter the demographic, remain confident that the market will continue its recent success and housing values will continue to rise.

Make this mistake and you’ll lose thousands when refinancing your mortgage

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

I had just borrowed about a quarter-million dollars and my question was simple: “How do I pay you back?”

The woman on the other end of the phone, however, couldn’t tell me. Ten days had passed since I signed the papers to refinance my home and, with the holidays approaching, I was worried my first payment would be late. She tried to soothe me with perhaps the most misunderstood phrase of the refinancing process: “Don’t worry. You get to skip a payment.”

Had I listened to her, it would have cost me thousands of dollars. And if you are one of the millions of homeowners who will refinance in 2013, it could cost you, too.

If your new year’s resolution is to save money or get control of the family budget, refinancing remains a really good option. But the idea that “skipping” the first payment can be pain free, financially speaking, is a myth, repeated over and over by loan officers like mine. Sometimes they are lying, sometimes they are misinformed and sometimes they are just trying to get an annoying borrower like me off the phone. But with rare exception, they are giving bad advice. (News flash: Whenever a bank seems to be doing you a favor, it probably has a hand in your wallet.)

Real estate transactions are already confusing enough. There are questions surrounding when you make your last payment on the old loan, when you make your first payment on the new loan, how many extra days of interest you pay toward both your old and your new loan, and when you are paying for both loans. We’ll get to those tricky issues in a moment, but the priciest mistake you might make in a refinance is also the simplest one to correct.

You’ve heard this before, but this time, it’s probably true: mortgage interest rates are at historic lows, and there may never be a better time to refinance. It’s hard to imagine rates going any lower than the 3 percent range they are at now, but it’s easy to imagine that, at the first signs of a real economic recovery or real inflation, they will climb sharply during 2013. The low interest rates that the Federal Reserve has imposed to boost the economy have been punishing for many, notably savers, who can barely earn 1 percent interest on their bank accounts and certificates of deposit. The one perk for consumers from the Fed’s interest rate policy is the ability to get cheap home and auto loans. If you haven’t refinanced your mortgage in the past 24 months or so, you are missing out.

Fortunately, many American homeowners have gotten the message. According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, mortgage holders engaged in $1.3 trillion worth of refinancing in 2012. In fact, more than four out of five new mortgages in 2012 were refinanced loans, not home purchases.

I wish there were a way to know how many of those borrowers chose to skip that first payment.

‘Can I get that in writing?’ ‘No’
My loan officer was lazy, I believe, and — knowing that my loan had closed and all the commissions were guaranteed — just wanted me off the phone as soon as possible. My call was unusual. I am always overly cautious when I set up any kind of new loan payment, as the chances for error are great: a wrong loan number on a check, a bad address, etc. So I always make the first payment early to make sure nothing goes wrong. That good habit proved profitable this time.

When I signed my loan papers, there were no payment instructions in my closing documents (not terribly unusual). My loan officer said I would receive payment coupons later. But when 10 days passed, and I heard nothing, I called. She sent me to the bank’s customer service line, where I was informed that there was no record of my loan. (Did that mean I didn’t have to pay it back? Sadly, No.) Customer service transferred me back to my loan officer. She assured me that their computers would catch up to my urge to pay the loan, and I’d get payment information soon. Incredulous that they seemed not to want my money, I persisted. She tapped a few keys on her keyboard, made me wait a minute, then told me that my loan had funded on Dec. 5, so I didn’t have to make a payment until Feb. 1.

“But my documents say repayment begins Jan. 1,” I said. “So you’re saying there will be no late fees if I don’t pay Jan. 1?”

“Yes,” she said.

“Can I get that in writing.?”

“No. I can’t do that.”

At that point, I did what any mature consumer would do: I laughed. And then I muttered something about the 100 pieces of paper they just made me sign, with innocuous documents putting the finest point on everything you can imagine, like the form I initialed in multiple places agreeing that, yes, I am known by Bob, Robert, Bobby, Robby and various other nicknames. Yet I couldn’t get the bank to put something in writing saying when I should make my loan payment?

My loan officer didn’t laugh, but eventually she put me on the phone with a supervisor who sounded very grave. She’d done additional research, she said, and found out that the reason customer service couldn’t find my loan was because it had already been sold to another bank. We called that bank together and found out my loan actually funded on Nov. 30, so my first payment was indeed due on Jan. 1. And I would have been liable for about an $80 late fee if I had listened to my loan officer. The manager profusely apologized.

Steep penalty anyway
But I’m not writing to warn you about late fees. There’s a much bigger culprit here you have to worry about. Had I followed my loan officer’s advice and skipped a payment, even if the bank waived the late fee (which the manager said was likely), I would have paid a steep penalty anyway. You’ve probably guessed the punch line: there’s no such thing as skipping a payment. In reality, homeowners are borrowing that money and extending the loan term for an extra month. The payment will be tacked onto the end of the loan, with interest. How much? If it’s a conventional loan, that’s 30 years’ worth of interest. Effectively, you are borrowing one month’s payment for 30 years. Ouch!

“Skipping is a misnomer. A better description would be ‘deferring with additional interest added,'” said Jack Guttentag, a professor emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania who also runs a consumer education website called MortgageProfessor.com.

Just how much extra interest can skipping that first payment cost you? There are too many variables to create a decent rule of thumb. But here’s an illustration from Guttentag’s site with deliberately round numbers. Skip the first payment of $500 on a $100,000 loan at 6 percent, and you will pay an additional $2,993 in interest during the 30 years.

Forget the $75 late fee. That’s real money. As Guttentag puts it, “a payment that is miniscule to one is a fortune to another.”

Some loan officers say they only won’t offer the “skip-a-payment” option unless the refinance closes toward the end of the month, when the homeowner might have trouble coming up with the extra cash for closing costs and a fresh mortgage payment close together. Others say they offer it all the time.

To be clear: Most borrowers don’t actually complete their 30-year loans before moving or refinancing, so few would end up paying that high a penalty. Also, it’s important to note that my bank didn’t even hold the loan, so they weren’t profiting from the “skip-a-payment” advice. I believe this is usually a lazy mistake, not a greedy one. Still, the basic truth holds. Don’t be tempted to skip a payment when you refinance unless you really, really need the cash for some unusual expense (Christmas credit card bills are probably not the best reason.)

Skipped payments are not to be confused with other loan closing related interest payments, including:

*Your last payment on the old loan. You can’t skip that, either. If your loan closes near the end of the month, you should still make the scheduled payment to your old bank. Why? Interest is actually paid in arrears, meaning you pay at the end of the month the cost of borrowing the money for that month. It’s confusing, because mortgage payments are really two payments at once — last month’s interest and next month’s principal. To keep it simple, if your loan closes on the Nov. 30, you will be paying November’s interest with your Dec. 1 payment, along with December’s principal. You won’t need to make the December principal payment if you refinance on Nov. 30, but most folks pay far more in interest than principal because they are early in their loan’s term, so the overpayment won’t be large. Just pay it to avoid late fees, and enjoy any refund that comes your way.

*Pre-paid interest. When your loan closes in the middle of the month, your new bank will make you pay up-front (as opposed to in arrears) daily interest for the remaining days of the month. If you close on the 20th, you’ll pay 10 more days of interest payments. That’s OK, it means you won’t owe the money on the back end of the loan.

*Money for nothing: The three-day (or more) overlap. There’s an odd quirk in most refinancing deals in which there are several days when the homeowner will be paying interest on the same loan to both banks. In most states, consumers have a three-day “right of rescission” after signing their refinancing papers, meaning they can cancel the new loan if they get buyer’s remorse. Such regret laws are very consumer-friendly and are necessary because of nefarious loan officers who tricked consumers into bad deals in the past. But, in this case, the consumer-friendly law is also costly, as it means both banks have liability for the loan during that rescission period, and are both entitled to collect interest. Note: The regret period is usually three business days, so if your closing stretches over a weekend, the double-interest period can be even more costly.

It’s important to keep all these quirky, refinance-related interest payments straight when talking to your loan officer, so you’ll know what to do when he or she suggests you can skip a payment. None of this should scare you away from refinancing, which is really the only way you can make the recession work for you.

But remember, you are refinancing to save money, and you probably shopped around trying to save $50 here or $100 there on closing costs; don’t lose thousands of dollars because of one false move after closing.

Source: http://redtape.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/01/16239394-make-this-mistake-and-youll-lose-thousands-when-refinancing-your-mortgage?lite

Calgary Apartment Vacancy Rate Decreases in 2012

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

CALGARY — The apartment vacancy rate in the Calgary region averaged 1.3 per cent in October, down from 1.9 per cent last year, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s Fall Rental Market Survey released Thursday.

“Employment growth and higher incomes, supported by Calgary’s expanding economy, continued to attract migrants and increased demand for rental units,” said Richard Cho, senior market analyst in Calgary for the CMHC.

The apartment crunch will likely continue as the CMHC is forecasting 20,000 net migrants to the Calgary area in 2012 after 11,200 net migrants in 2011.

“Alberta is once again seeing some very strong interprovincial migration these days and many of these people are arriving in Calgary,” said Todd Hirsch, senior economist with ATB Financial. “Typically before looking at buying a home, the recently-arrived will rent an apartment. That’s where a lot of the strong demand is coming from, and it’s pushing down the vacancy rate in the rental market.”

Recently, Sam Kolias, chairman and chief executive of Calgary-based Boardwalk Real Estate Investment Trust, told the Herald that the local rental market continues to see high demand as people keep moving to the province.

In the REIT’s third quarter, which ended September 30, it has 5,310 rental units in Calgary and the occupancy rate was 99.34 per cent, up from 98.89 per cent last year.

The apartment vacancy rate in most zones in Calgary declined from the previous year, said the CMHC report. Areas close to the downtown where there is a high concentration of employers continued to have among the lowest vacancy rates in the city, said the CMHC.

The vacancy rate in the Downtown zone reached 0.5 per cent in October, down from 1.0 per cent in October 2011.

 

The strong demand for rental accommodations combined with lower vacancies has led to an increase in rental rates in Calgary. Same-sample rents increased 6.1 per cent in October, following a 1.8 per cent rise in the previous year. Bachelor units and two-bedroom units recorded an increase of 7.4 per cent and 5.9 per cent, respectively. The average same-sample rent for three-bedroom units increased 4.2 per cent from a year earlier, said the agency.

Overall, the two-bedroom rent in Calgary averaged $1,152 in October, up from $1,087 last year. The Downtown and Beltline had among the highest average two-bedroom rents in the Calgary CMA at $1,240 and $1,222, respectively. The Southeast and Other Centres recorded the lowest two-bedroom rents in October, averaging $998 and $1,005, respectively.

Vacancies for rental condominium apartments declined to 2.1 per cent in October, down from 5.7 per cent in October 2011. The condominium rent in CMHC’s 2012 survey averaged $1,288 per month, down from $1,378 last year.

“Condominium apartment rents are typically higher compared to units in the purpose-built rental market as the buildings are generally newer and may include additional amenities such as a fitness centre, entertainment room, and heated underground parking,” said Cho.

Don Campbell, president of the Real Estate Investment Network in Canada, said the low vacancy rate wil lead to two things.

“Strong upward pressure on rents across the board, at all levels. Upward pressure on resale housing market first in 2013, then new home sales in 2014,” he said. “Look for the market to perform well in 2013 with values going up more quickly than 2012.”

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/homes/Calgary+apartment+vacancy+rate+decreases+2012/7693705/story.html#ixzz2FcMyRK2L

Why Jim Flaherty’s mortgage rules won’t hurt homebuyers

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

This won’t hurt a bit, homebuyers.

The mortgage rule changes announced Tuesday by Financial Minister Jim Flaherty will weigh a bit on real estate speculators and heavily indebted people who want to fold their high-rate credit card debt into a lower-rate mortgage. But for rank and file homebuyers, the changes will barely be perceptible when they take effect on April 19.

“This should have a limited impact on what I see daily,” mortgage broker Peter Majthenyi said in an e-mail he fired off after Mr. Flaherty’s announcement. “I believe it’s more a message that ‘Big Brother’ is watching and cares.”

Olympics aside, the favourite Canadian diversion of the moment is to debate whether there is a bubble in the housing market. Those most worried about the housing market plunging have urged Mr. Flaherty to raise the minimum down payment for a home and reduce the maximum payback period.

But the 35-year amortization, favourite of first-time buyers across this land, remains. So does the 5-per-cent down payment, which is heavily relied upon in high-cost cities like Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.

All the measures announced by Mr. Flaherty affect mortgages covered by government-backed mortgage insurance, where the buyer puts less than 20 per cent down. The key change for typical home buyers is that, regardless of what term or type of mortgage they choose, they’ll have to be able to afford the five-year rate.

This is a sensible way of building some slack into the system as we look ahead to a cycle of rising interest rates. If someone chooses a variable-rate mortgage, where the interest rate can be as low as 2 to 2.25 per cent today, they’ll have to be able to handle the payment at the current five-year rate. Right now, the posted rate at the big banks is 5.39 per cent.

You won’t have to actually make the higher payments required by the five-year mortgage. You’ll just have to theoretically be able to carry them and still remain within the limitations lenders set out on how much of your gross income can be consumed by debt (it’s 42 to 44 per cent, just so you know).

Mortgage brokers report that a lot of lenders were already ensuring clients could afford the payments on a three-year mortgage. So bumping up that up to a five-year term will only have a marginal effect.

“Are we going to see the odd borrower have to come up with more money or not buy they house they want? Absolutely,” Mr. Majthenyi said. “But will it have a dramatic effect? No.”

Another reason why the changes won’t be jarring is that a huge number of homebuyers are actually choosing five-year mortgages these days. A study issued by the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals last month showed that fixed-rate mortgages accounted for 86 per cent of mortgages in set up in 2009 and, of those, 70 per cent were for a five-year term.

People who borrow to buy investment properties to either flip for a quick profit or to generate income are also affected by Tuesday’s announcement. If you buy a property you’re not going to live in, then you’ll have to put down a minimum 20 per cent to qualify for mortgage insurance. That’s up from 5 per cent.

But Mr. Majthenyi said not all lenders even require clients to have mortgage insurance if they put 20 per cent down. He also said that stiff mortgage insurance premiums already discouraged people from putting 5 per cent down on an investment property.

“In my office of 10 brokers, I don’t think I know of one client we’ve processed on a high-ratio rental property,” he said.

The final mortgage change restricts the ability of existing homeowners to refinance their mortgages to take on more debt. The new ceiling is 90 per cent of the value of your home, compared to the current 95 per cent.

Mortgage broker Jas Grewal said one group that will be affected by this is recent buyers who made a small down payment and are struggling with high credit card balances and other debts. By folding these debts into their mortgage, they can reduce their interest rate from as high as 19 per cent down to something closer to 3 or 4 per cent.

“Let’s say you put 10 per cent down – if we go from 95 to 90 per cent, you’re not going to be able refinance,” Mr. Grewal said. “You’re going to have to wait until your house value goes up and gives you some equity.”

Rob Carrick

Ottawa Globe and Mail

Update Published on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010 12:42PM EST

Last updated on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010 4:46PM EST

Affordability Drives Calgary’s Housing Market

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

With rising interest rates on the horizon buyers will see 2010 as the year to take advantage of low mortgage rates

Calgary, February 1, 2010 – Affordability continues to drive a recovery in Calgary’s housing market according to figures released today by the Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®).

The number of single family homes sold in January 2010 in the city of Calgary was up 39 per cent from the same time a year ago, while condominiums sales saw an increase of 67 per cent from the same time a year ago.

“Low mortgage rates and earlier price reductions have improved the affordability of home ownership for Calgarians,” says Diane Scott, newly elected president of CREB®. “For the time being average home prices are more in line with average incomes.  A narrowing gap between the costs of renting versus owning a home will attract more first time home buyers into the market in 2010,” adds Scott.

January 2010 saw 762 single family homes sold in the city of Calgary. This is a decrease of 5 per cent from 799 sales in December 2009. In January 2009, single family home sales totaled 550. The number of condominium sales for the month of January 2010 was 376. This was an increase of 10 per cent from the 341 condominium transactions recorded in December 2009. In January 2009, condominium sales were 225.

“The story for 2010 will be a balanced and steadier market,” says Scott. “Just one year ago we were facing record low sales and more than 10 months of inventory.  Consequently, year-over-year sales comparisons are up dramatically—but all in all sales this month are moving closer to the range we would expect this time of year,” adds Scott.

The average price of a single family home in the city of Calgary in January 2010 was $441,217, showing a decrease of 2 per cent from December 2009, when the average price was $451,349, and showing an increase of 7 per cent from January 2009, when the average price was $413,049. The average price of a condominium in the city of Calgary was $282,639, showing a 2 per cent decrease from December 2009, when the average price was $288,640 and a 4 per cent increase over last year, when the average price was $270,940. Average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighbourhoods, or account for price differentials between geographical areas.

The median price of a single family home in the city of Calgary for January 2010 was $398,000, showing a 1 per cent decrease from December 2009, when the median price was $401,000, and a 6 per cent increase from January 2009, when the median price was $374,700. The median price of a condominium in January 2010 was $265,000, remaining the same as in December 2009, when the median was also $265,000. That’s up 9 per cent from January 2009, when the median price was $243,000.

All city of Calgary MLS® statistics include properties listed and sold only within Calgary’s city limits. The median price is the price that is midway between the least expensive and most expensive home sold in an area during a given period of time. During that time, half the buyers bought homes that cost more than the median price and half bought homes for less than the median price.

“Affordability is the silver lining in Calgary’s housing market. Even in the face of slowing wage growth—we can see affordability has improved.  Higher prices in 2007 and 2008 left the average family with a maximum buying power of $250,000—while average single family prices pushed well into the $450,000 range. Lower interest rates have enabled these same families to now look at homes in the $350,000 to $375,000 range—closer to average market prices,” says Scott.

Single family listings in the city of Calgary added for the month of January totaled 1,822, an increase of 126 per cent from December 2009 when 806 new listings were added, and showing a decrease of 12 per cent from January 2009, when 2,068 new listings came to the market. Condominium new listings in the city of Calgary added for January 2010 were 951, up 114 per cent from December 2009, when the MLS® saw 444 condo listings coming to the market. This is an increase of 1 per cent from January 2009, when new condominium listings added were 941.

“The outlook for Calgary is still about energy. Re-starting of investment in Fort McMurray will be needed to boost employment in Calgary.  Undoubtedly Calgary’s economic recovery is still fragile—and improvements in the housing market will be gradual and modest.  The good news is improved housing affordability will make Calgary more attractive to job seekers than in past years,” says Scott.

CREB® is a professional body of 5,445 licensed brokers and registered associates, representing 252 member offices and is dedicated to enhancing the value, integrity and expertise of its REALTOR® members. REALTORS® are committed to a high standard of professional conduct, ongoing education, and a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Business Practice. Using the services of a professional REALTOR® can help consumers take full advantage of real estate opportunities while reducing their risks when buying or selling real estate. The board does not generate statistics or analysis of any individual member or company’s market share. All MLS® active listings for Calgary and area may be found on the board’s website at www.creb.com.

Coventry Hills Townhouse – $299,900

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

This unit shows 10 /10! This very well maintained original owner, non-animal, non-smoker’s house is in the desired Community of Coventry Hills. The main floor offers an open plan with upgraded kitchen that includes stainless steel appliance, maple cabinets & breakfast bar. The main floor also offer a 2 piece bath, a large living/dining room area with patio doors that lead out onto a green space. The upstairs offers 2 spacious bedrooms with walk in closets and a large 4 piece bathroom. The basement is undeveloped and ready for your creative touch. This unit also offers hardwood floors, ceramic tile back splash, built in sound system, roughed in wiring for a security system,single attached garage , upgraded maple railings and a park view. This property is in a great location close to major road ways, public transit, schools, playgrounds, shopping, restaurants, golf, Cardel Place Recreational Center & Movie theater. All appliances are included. This unit is in mint condition, don’t miss this opportunity.

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Housing market blossoms in spring

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

There’s little mystery why Canada’s housing market has seen a rebound in sales this spring.

“Record-low mortgage rates have unleashed pent-up demand that accumulated last year when previously soaring prices closed the door on first-time buyers,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, in a research report released Friday.

“After a harsh winter, spring has come surprisingly early to Canada’s housing market. Sales have rebounded from a lengthy slumber and prices have firmed,” he said.

“While it’s doubtful that the housing train has left the station without a recovery on board, the data support our long-held view that the Canadian market is merely correcting, not busting.”

In Calgary last month, historic low mortgage rates combined with less expensive homes compared with a year ago sparked activity in the local real estate market. May witnessed the first year-over-year gain in single-family MLS sales since September and since April 2007 for condos.

“We need to be cautious about declaring a firm bottom is at hand, but the improvement in recent months is an encouraging shift,” said Bonnie Wegerich, president of the Calgary Real Estate Board, when the May numbers were released. “All signs indicate we are moving to a balanced and stable market. Consumer confidence is improving, prices are holding steady and inventory is trending downward.

“I think some buyers are trying to predict the bottom of the market. The reality is if you spend too much time trying to anticipate the bottom, you miss out on choice and selection.”

There were 1,584 single-family home sales last month, up 15.8 per cent from May 2008, while the condo market saw 653 sales, representing a 13.2 per cent hike from a year ago.

The average sale price for a single family home in May was $436,427, while for a condo it was $275,212, compared with $426,311 for a singlefamily home and$277,491 for a condo in April.

The prices are off from year-ago levels when the average was$479,564 for single-family homes and $311,816 for condos. Single-family prices are off by nine per cent, while condo prices are down by nearly 12 per cent from last year.

At the national level, Guatieri said despite massive job losses, demand has firmed for housing, even in Ontario and British Columbia and, to a lesser extent, in “boom-bust” Alberta.

“The surprising upturn in sales, coupled with fewer listings, has tilted the market back towards balance from the buyers’ haven of last year,” he said.

By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary HeraldJune 13, 2009

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Now is the time for prospective homebuyers!

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

The latest round of statistics released from the Calgary Real Estate Board show May was another strong month in our city.

Single-family home sales in metro Calgary were up 23% from April 2009, according to the MLS sales activity, with 1,584 properties exchanging hands.

Better yet, May 2009 single-family homes sales were an increase of 16% from May 2008.

“We are seeing the first year-over-year gain in single family homes sales since last September,” says Bonnie Wegerich, President of the Calgary Real Estate Board. “A pent up demand has been building — with many first-time home buyers now taking advantage of affordable prices, record low interest rates and federal government housing incentives.”

And first time buyers are coming out in droves. In the Calgary metro area, homes priced at $400,000 or less accounted for nearly 70% of all home re-sales in the month of May.

While reduced interest rates make payments an easier pill to swallow for those making the transition from tenant to homeowner, lower house prices are assisting those who might have previously been priced out of the market as well.

The average price of a single family home in metro Calgary in May 2009 was $436,427, an increase of 2% from April pricing, but a substantial 9% decrease from May 2008’s average house price of $479,564.

The increased market activity is also lowering the gap between supply and demand, which was driving prices down at the end of last year.

“Since December we have seen five consecutive months of increases in home sales, while our inventory continues to trend lower. The gap has narrowed and prices are stabilizing” Wegerich says.

Wegerich went on to say that “all signs indicated we are moving to a balanced and stable market. Consumer confidence is improving, prices are holding steady and inventory is trending downward.”

While inventory is heading down fixed interest rates took a jump recently due to increasing pressure from the raising bond rates. Some lenders increased rates as much as 30 points in one day with hints of additional increases on the horizon.

For those that have been sitting on the fence waiting to take advantage of the current market conditions the window of opportunity may be starting to close on historic low interest rates.

Prospective buyers could protect themselves by securing a pre-approval rate hold, typically available with most lenders for 90 — 120 days, or by ensuring that any pre-approval already in place does not lapse.

It is important to recognize that if you do have a pre-approval in place which is allowed to expire, the slightly increased interest rates available today could lower your maximum purchase price. This is because higher interest rates drive up monthly payments, which translates into a larger payment to factor into your total debt ratio.

Contact an experienced mortgage expert today to determine your best course of action, ensuring you are positioned to take advantage of all the market conditions available to those willing to take action right now, including low interest rates. Nothing can last forever.

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6 Mathematical Reasons Support Buying Your Home Soon

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

1. Rates are the lowest that they have been for 70 years.With the Bank of Canada’s decision to lower Prime a quarter per cent from 2.50% to 2.25% and its commitment to not change rates for another year, Canadians are expected to continue to take advantage of a record-low prime rates, which are 2.25% at most financial institutions. 3.80% for a 5 year fixed or 3.00% variable(Prime +.75%) are the lowest rates have been since WWII. Rates are this low due to the housing problems started in the USA. Canada followed the American lead lowering rates step for step and now is the best time to take advantage of the situation. In fact, most people with mortgages at 5% or more, who are in year 3, 4 or 5 of a 5 year term, should be better off with renegotiating their mortgage rates.

2.Prices are the lowest that they have been for 3 years .The recent price declines have seen condos that were selling at $260,000 in 2007 now selling for $199,000. The average home price in July, 2007 was $473,000 and is now $403,000 – $70,000 less. These are considered short term price reductions due to the overbuilding in the last boom produced.

Fourth quarter 2008 research by RBC, which measured the proportion of pre-tax household income needed to own a home, found that affordability improved across Canada up to 3.5%. This is due in part to rising family income, as well as lower lending rates. For example, the Bank of Canada has further reduced the overnight rate to 0.25%, from 4.5% in about a year

3 & 4. Interest rates & home prices are expected to increase due to inflation. The US has stated that they are ready to print up to $5 trillion in new funds to support their stimulus spending package, bailouts of the banks, fighting 2 wars and continue to pay their debts, including Medicaid and Medicare, which are $2 trillion underfunded today.

Printing the extra money to pay for it all (the largest increase in national debt since WWII) will increase the money supply by 40% – 50%. That means for every $5 in people’s pockets there will be an extra $2. That extra $2 causes more money to chase the same amount of goods when the recession is over and people start to spend again. Prices then increase
because the supply of goods has remained the same, but demand for those goods has increased and those extra dollars in people’s wallets cause the price to be bid up.

Real Estate is a built-in hedge against inflationThe best way to slow inflation is to raise interest rates so interest rates are expected to go up quickly when the recession is seen to be over by the governments. Raising inflation means that your house will also be going up at the same rate as inflation rises.

Let’s say you put down 5% on a house for $400,000. If inflation then goes up to 10% in one year then your house should go up at the same rate, or 10%. Your house is now worth $440,000 and all the other homes would have gone up the same amount as well. Your $20,000 down payment has now made $40,000. This is called leverage and is a great way for most people stay “even with inflation.” If you decided to keep that $20,000 as cash, it would now really be worth only $18,000 after inflation is taken into account ($20,000 – 10%= $18,000).

5. Buying can cost less than renting because rent is “sticky”. Wages and rents are ‘sticky.’ They go up fast but come down slowly as no one wants their wages or rental income to be reduced. A rental house recently purchased with 15% down for $400,000 at 6.5% interest would need to have a rent of about $1500 a month to break even. Most investors would not want to take a loss and would set the rent the same as the mortgage payment. Average rents would then tend to even out at the same $1500 a month.

Cheaper to buy then rent Because house prices are already down 15% – 20% and mortgage interest rates are less than 4% for a 5 year term, that same $400,000 house can now be purchased for $320,000 with 5% down and payments will now be about $1,340 a month plus property tax of $125 = $1,465 a month. It is now cheaper to buy than rent! Generally, the gap between renting and buying is close to the smallest it has ever been for the last 4 years. Rents are expected to stay the same or increase with the expected inflation. If they increase the same stickiness will keep them where they are even when inflation subsides. This makes buying an even better bet as you are paying your own mortgage, not someone else’s.

6. Alberta & Canada Economies Are Still Strong. • Canada is predicted by the International Monetary Fund – IMF – to be one of the first G20 countries
to emerge from the world wide down turn. Our energy and natural resources are the raw materials used for the world’s production and demand for them will kick start our economy first.

• Since October 2008, Canadian job quality has basically held steady according to CIBC’s Employment Quality Index (EQI). The bank’s EQI ranks job quality by assessing a number of factors including the distribution of part-time vs. full-time jobs; self-employment vs. paid employment; and the compensation ranking of full-time paid employment in more than 100 industry groups.

“The relative stability of our employment quality index suggests that when the labour market turns a corner, job gains will translate into income gains much more quickly than they have in the past, as the base of the existing labour pool is of a higher quality when compared to previous recessions.”

5 Reasons this might be the right time to BUY!

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

If you’re a renter wondering whether current market conditions should delay your dreams of purchasing a home, take heart. There are many reasons what could actually make this a good time for you to buy. Here are five to consider:

1. HOME PRICES – Home prices have leveled off and even dropped significantly in many locations, when compared to prices a year ago. Some of the most competitive Canadian housing markets, such as Vancouver & Calgary have become much more affordable over the last few months. In many areas, lower prices may allow you to consider housing options across a wider choice of neighbourhoods.

 2. HOUSING SELECTION – While  there is still a wide range of homes available, a lower market may mean you have less competition. This can relieve pressure on you to offer a higher price or to make a hasty purchasing decision. Be aware, though, that unlike many of the U.S. counterparts, sellers in Canada generally aren’t under pressure to sell.

 3. INVESTMENT – Owning your primary residence has almost always been a good way to build equity. Real estate, over the long term, has tended to rise in value, despite short term fluctuation. Plus, when you eventually sell your home, the capital gains are likely to be tax-free. Since you’re paying rent anyway, why not put that money toward a place you will eventually own? You’ll also be able to customize your space exactly the way you want it.

 4. INTREST RATES – Mortgage interest rates, firmly in the single digits, have been at historically low levels. This can help keep the cost of financing an entry level home relatively affordable.

 5. PERSONAL TIMING – The most important reason to buy a home is that it;s the right time for you. If owning a home is a high personal priority and if your financial situation is sound – you have a steady income and a manageable debt load – them that could be the most compelling reason to start looking.

 Remember: there’s no “right” or “wrong” time to buy. Since it’s almost impossible to time the market, the ideal times to buy a home is usually when you are ready.

A mortgage professional can review your current financial situation the you can decide weather its a good time for you to own your home!

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Calgary Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.
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