Mortgage Professionals Canada has asked the Department of Finance for a moratorium on mortgage rule changes until the effects of the current changes are known.Speaking before the Standing Committee on Finance this week, MPC CEO Paul Taylor spoke to the association’s key concerns about the new rules and its hope that certain aspects will be revisited.
“The recent changes are having a cumulative negative impact on the mortgage market and ultimately on the Canadian consumer,” MPC president and CEO Paul Taylor said. “We are asking for slight amendments to the portfolio insurance eligibility guidelines, and to wait for the remaining existing changes to make their way through the market before implementing any further changes.
He touched on the disproportionate impact the portfolio insurance changes are having on non-traditional bank lenders, as well as the reduced purchasing power for young homeowners due to the more stringent stress testing of insured mortgages.
Taylor also told the committee how the new rules are negatively affecting the mortgage broker channel and hurting competition.
“Canadian consumers have been more and more inclined to use the services of a mortgage broker to provide choice, advocacy and support, and to assist in the technical requirements of mortgage qualification,” he said. “Placing competitive disadvantages [on] the non?traditional bank lenders will adversely affect this segment of the Canadian mortgage marketplace…We therefore maintain that in light of decreased competition, increased financing costs, decreased purchasing power, and increased regional prices and access disparity, that the government suspend any further changes to the housing market it is considering.”
The association made the following specific recommendations to the Standing Committee on Finance:
- Allow for refinanced mortgages to be included in portfolio insurance. “If an 80% loan?to?value ratio is unacceptable, please consider reducing the threshold to 75% rather than removing eligibility to these products entirely,” Taylor said. “This adjustment would alleviate some of the competitive disadvantage pressure the cumulative effect of these changes place on the non?traditional bank lenders.”
- Reconsider the increased capital reserve requirements implemented on January 1, 2017, for insured mortgages, as they are making low-ratio insurance too costly for small? and mid?sized lenders.
- Apply the stress test to all mortgages sold by all federally regulated lenders, not just insured mortgages.
- Uncouple the stress-test rate from the big five banks’ posted rates. Use an independent mechanism to determine the rate.
- Conduct a review of the long?term impact of regional?based pricing on the Canadian economy as a whole, and the potential additional harmful effects on already-strained regional economies.
The first three recommendations above would needfully re-level the playing field between major banks and Canada’s 400+ other lenders. It would put real choice back to hands of Canadians and meaningfully reduce borrowing costs for well-qualified borrowers. If the government deemed it necessary, these “fixes” to a now broken system could be re-instated with stricter qualification criteria, ensuring the government’s concerns (e.g., over-leverage) are addressed.
We’ll have more on the hearings to come, including surprising testimony from OSFI.
By; Robert McLister , Canadian Mortgage Trends
Video #1 – Mortgage Pre-Approval
A mortgage pre-approval shows you, the homebuyer, what price of home you can afford and the mortgage payments associated with various purchase prices. It also guarantees a mortgage rate for a period of time (usually 90 days), that will lock in your rate if potential rates increase. You are not obligated to accept the pre-approval from the the bank or mortgage broker that you received your mortgage pre-approval from and there is no cost to you. You can always negotiate with the bank and make adjustments to their offer before you commit and you want to ensure that their offer meets your needs. A pre-approval can give you piece of mind in the home buying process!
To understand what lenders look at when you apply for a pre-approval, watch the video below.
Are You Just Learning About The Basics To Buying Your Own Home?
This video is helpful. It Covers: Mortgage Basics, Mortgage Rates, Term and Amortization, Banks and Brokers and Applying for a Mortgage.
A credit report is a detailed up-to-date report of your credit history. It shows banks/lenders the level of risk if they lend you money. It is also an indicator of how consistently you pay off your bills and debts. Your credit score is one of the factors lenders consider when qualifying you for a mortgage. A good credit score, for example, can help improve your chances of being approved.
To find out your credit score, contact Canada’s two credit-reporting agencies: Equifax Canada andTransUnion Canada. These agencies can provide you with an online copy of your credit score as well as a credit report – a detailed summary of your credit history, employment history and personal financial information.
If you find any errors in your report, notify the credit-reporting agency and the organization responsible for the inaccuracy immediately.
Improving Your Credit Score
- If your credit score is not as high as you think it should be, make sure that the information in your credit report is correct. If it is correct, read your report carefully to find out which factors are most likely having a negative influence on your score, and then work to improve them.Here are some tips, from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC), on how to improve your credit score:
- Always pay your bills on time. Although the payment of your utility bills, such as phone, cable and electricity, is not recorded in your credit report, some cell phone companies may report late payments to the credit-reporting agencies, which could affect your score.
- Try to pay your bills in full by the due date. If you aren’t able to do this, pay at least the required minimum amount shown on your monthly credit card statement.
- Try to pay your debts as quickly as possible.
- Don’t go over the credit limit on your credit card. Try to keep your balance well below the limit. The higher your balance, the more impact it has on your credit score.
- Reduce the number of credit applications you make. If too many potential lenders ask about your credit in a short period of time, this may have a negative effect on your score. However, your score does not change when you ask for information about your own credit report.
- Make sure you have a credit history. You may have a low score because you do not have a record of owing money and paying it back. You can build a credit history by using a credit card.
- Once your credit score has improved, work with a mortgage professional to obtain a mortgage that meets your individual needs.
By Gabor Palos – D&H Group LLP, Chartered Accountants
Owners of residential rental properties often spend significant money on the maintenance and improvement of their investments. And they often wonder whether they can deduct these expenditures on their income tax returns.
The answer is: it depends. The tax rule says that the cost of maintenance is deductible, but capital expenditures are not. How to tell the difference? Well, the difference is not always obvious and for that reason this area is the subject of frequent controversy between taxpayers and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
Minor repairs and routine maintenance are considered “current expenses” and are deductible when incurred. A current expense simply restores the property to its original state, and has little or no long- term effect. These expenses usually recur after a relatively short period of time.
On the other hand, renovations that extend the useful life of the property and improve it beyond its original condition are considered “capital expenditures” and are not deductible when they are incurred. Instead, these expenditures may be deducted in small portions over time by claiming “capital cost allowance” (tax depreciation).
CRA provides some examples of current and capital expenditures in its interpretation bulletin: Painting the interior or exterior walls, repairing wooden steps, or replacing an old floor or a roof (unless the new floor or roof is clearly of better quality and greater durability) are all current expenses. Read more
Video #2 – Gross Debt Service Ratio and Total Debt Service Ratio
It’s a good idea to understand how the bank/lender will calculate the maximum amount they will loan to you for a mortgage. The two calculations a bank/lender calculates are: your gross debt service ratio (GDS) and your total debt service ratio (TDS). To see how both calculations work, watch the video and read more below.
Gross Debt Service Ratio (GDS)
To calculate your GDS, lenders try to figure out how much you would be paying each month to own a particular property. First, the lender will estimate your monthly mortgage payment, property taxes, and utilities. The lender will then add that up and divide it by your gross monthly income. If the answer equals less than 32 per cent (industry standard), the lender can feel confident in your ability to pay your monthly housing costs.
Total Debt Service Ratio (TDS)
To calculate your TDS, the lender will take the same GDS calculation but add in any other monthly payments you might have to make, including loans or the minimums on any credit card debt. The lender adds together your monthly mortgage payment, property taxes, utilities and debts, and divides the total by your gross monthly income. If the answer equals less than 40 per cent (industry standard), the lender will know you have the money to make all of your monthly payments and you will be on track with getting approved for a mortgage.
What happens If I’m Over the Industry Standard?
If either of your answers go over than the industry standards, you may want to save more for your down payment and/or pay off some existing debt before buying. However, the 32% GDS and 40% TDS standards are guidelines, not rules. If you have a high credit score or some valuable assets, you may still qualify for a mortgage, even if your GDS and TDS are slightly higher than the industry standards.
Video #3 – Using Your RRSP’s for Your Down Payment.
One great source of funding for your mortgage down payment is a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP). The Canadian Government’s Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) allows you to borrow up to $25,000.00 from your RRSP for a down payment, tax-free. However, since the HBP is considered a loan, it must be repaid within 15 years.
To learn more about the eligibility requirements and repayment term, watch the video below.
First-Time Homebuyer Eligibility
In order to be eligible as a first-time homebuyer, you must meet the following criteria:
- Not owned a home within the previous four years
- Sign a written agreement to buy a home
- Intend to live in the home within one year of purchase
- If you have used the Home Buyers’ Plan before, you cannot have any outstanding balance due
- You must make the withdrawl from your RRSP within 30 days of taking title of the home
- You must buy the home before October 1st of the year after you made the withdrawal
If you are buying with a partner, each spouse needs to qualify as a first-time homebuyer, in order for you both to withdraw from your individual RRSPs. For example, if you have owned a home in the last four years but your spouse has not, then your spouse would be able to withdraw money from their RRSP under the Home Buyers’ Plan, provided you and your spouse have not been living together in the home you owned. Read more