Friday 22 March 2013

Best places to live in Canada

Moneysense magazine recently released their annual list of the top cities to live in Canada. Not only do they rank the top cities overall, there are also rankings for top cities to raise a family, top cities to retire and top cities for new immigrants. The magazine takes into account several factors, from quality of weather and access to hospitals, to job availability and housing affordability. Cities with affordable housing when compared to local salaries ranked higher, as did cities with low crime rates and those with easy access to medical treatment.

Also included are individual articles about the top ranking cities and what makes them great, along with details on how cities were chosen, infographics, and an interactive map of a virtual "perfect" city.

Where did your city rank?

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Have tougher mortgage rules created stronger borrowers?

In their latest public statements, the Bank of Canada has been much softer with their language when it comes to Canadian debt levels, signalling that they are less concerned than they once were about the possibility of a U.S. style housing crash. In this video from the Globe and Mail, Tara Perkins talks to Andrew Charles, CEO of Canada Guaranty (one of Canada's major mortgage insurers) and Benjamin Tal, Deputy Chief Economist for CIBC, about the likelihood of tougher mortgage regulations creating a culture of stronger and more educated Canadian borrowers.

The stricter mortgage regulations introduced in the summer of 2012 included decreasing the maximum amortization period for insured mortgages to 25 years from the previous 30 year maximum, limiting refinancing loans to 80% of the value of a home, and limiting the maximum gross and total debt service ratios.  These new regulations, Charles suggests, have caused many Canadian first-time buyers to "sit on the sidelines", thus resulting in better credit and more qualified, stronger borrowers. He went on to say that the majority of borrowers are opting for a 5 year term, giving them 5 years of certainty when it comes to mortgage payments.

The trio also take some time to discuss mortgage rates. Those who view the mortgage market in a negative light tend to believe that low mortgage rates will spur a wave of unnecessary borrowing - Tal disagrees. He goes on to say that when rates eventually do rise, it will not be a dramatic increase and we are unlikely to see a wave of delinquency like the U.S. did.

Click here to watch the full video from the Globe and Mail.

Thursday 14 March 2013

Mortgage shopping has never been easier

For those getting ready to purchase their first home, renew an existing mortgage, or refinance to take advantage of existing equity, saving money on interest is the easiest it's ever been. The Internet gives us a wealth of information, right at our fingertips, including where to find qualified mortgage professionals to assist with finding the right mortgage.

A recent report from Google found that when one of the major Canadian banks announced a new low mortgage rate, searches for the term "mortgage" increased by 50%. With spring well on the way, Canadians are getting ready to start hunting for that perfect property, and the perfect mortgage to go along with it. Ask any Mortgage Broker and they will tell you a low mortgage rate is important, but they will also emphasize you need to choose the mortgage with the right terms for you. Discounted rates are great, but if you're looking to pay your mortgage aggressively and the mortgage with the low rate doesn't allow pre-payments, you've likely chosen the wrong mortgage. This is just one of the many reasons Mortgage Brokers are rising significantly in popularity. A study from the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP) reported that 47% of Canadians who took out a mortgage in 2012 consulted a Mortgage Broker. However, only 27% of those renewing a mortgage sought the advice of the same professionals. After a 5 or 10 year term, your needs are sure to be different than they were when you first signed your mortgage, so why not consult a professional, even to simply ensure the terms and conditions of your existing mortgage are still suitable, especially when the service they provide is of no cost to you?

Click here for the full article from the Financial Post.