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Bank of Canada Rate Change: Here’s what you need to know

As a home owner, or someone who is looking at purchasing a home, you’re probably wondering what today’s announcement from the Bank of Canada really means.  Today, for the first time in 7 years, the key interest rate was increased by a 1/4 percent, setting the rate at 0.75%.  This directly changes the Prime lending rate, which Banks and Mortgage Lenders use to set their rates. It’s no secret that the housing market here in Canada has been hot. In the Waterloo Region alone we have seen prices increase month over month by over 30%, according to the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS®. Since the Bank of Canada has held the key interest rate for so long, it is only natural that in a strong economy this rate would eventually increase.  Current mortgage rates have been affected by the market as well: rates have been inflated because of market pricing, and …
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Make Your Voice Heard About Affordable Homes

As you may know, the government has made changes to the rules and regulations around qualifying for mortgage financing last year. We are very proud that Tracy has joined forces with Mortgage Professionals Canada, attempting to drive positive change for Canadians. If you have been affected by these changes in any way, now is your time to speak up! www.tellyourmp.ca is a simple and easy way to express your concerns to those who need to hear it most. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, or looking to refinance – make your voice be heard!  

Thinking about putting in a firm offer? Make sure you read this first.

The market is constantly changing these days, so if you asked me about affordability just a few weeks ago, I would have had a different answer, as the seller’s market has quickly shifted to a buyer’s market – for now, anyway. The key difference is that the inventory of available houses on the market in the Kitchener-Waterloo area – and many other places across the province – has kicked into high gear. This spring, many first-time homebuyers were quickly being priced out of the market due to multiple bidding scenarios that saw houses sell well over their asking prices. This was not an ideal situation for any buyer – let alone first-time buyers on a particularly tight budget. And while affordability was going by the wayside just a few weeks ago, so too were having a condition of financing and a home inspection included in the purchase offer. Weighing the …
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Mortgage Pre-approval is Not What You Expect

Although going through the pre-approval process is more important than ever, the actual term ‘pre-approval’ is often misleading. It really addresses just a few variables that may arise once in the middle of an actual offer. The pressure in many markets has never been greater to write a condition-free offer, yet due to recent changes to lending guidelines by the federal government, the importance of a clause in the contract along the lines of ‘subject to receiving and approving satisfactory financing’ has also never been greater. (There are variations to be discussed with your Realtor around the specific wording of such clauses.)

Renting vs. Buying – A Question Everyone is Asking

By Caroline Harvey In today’s crazy real estate market it is, without a doubt, tougher for first-time buyers to hop into the market and purchase their first home. Some would suggest to keep renting until the market cools to prevent paying inflated prices.  Others would say to take your savings and invest in real estate now because the market will continue to grow and become hotter and hotter in the coming years. First-time buyers, like all buyers have a wish list. This will almost always include a typical detached home with an attached garage, in a lovely family neighborhood similar to what they grew up in – somewhere they can raise a family and live for 20 years.  These types of properties are hard to attain on your first purchase, and in today’s market especially, concessions will likely have to be made. It is never a bad idea to invest …
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Effect of foreign buyer tax still uncertain

On April 21, Toronto became the second Canadian city to implement a ‘foreign buyer tax’. The impact that the 15 per cent tax on residential real estate will have on the market remains to be seen. The fact remains that Toronto’s residential real estate supply remains at a 37-year low, and economics 101 taught us that reduced supply results in increased prices. Trying to tackle the problem of rapidly rising house prices from the demand side is popular when it is a method that primarily impact ‘other people’, especially outsiders who we grant less of a right to real estate ownership. Understandably we favour locals, or at least a definition of ‘local’ that resonates with voters. Vancouver was first to this approach in August of 2016, although the results remain unclear. The stats on the impact were skewed as many of the transactions set to close in the months following …
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Playing with “house money”

How much of the current record-setting price gains in several Ontario and BC markets are self perpetuating? That is, ‘I just got paid $100,000 over asking, so now I too will pay $100,000 over asking…’ After all it is ‘found money’ – easy come easy go. For those of you smart enough to avoid the casino, you may not be familiar with the term house money. This describes a players winnings, gambling with said winnings – with the house money rather than their own. Of course it is actually the players money, it is in their hands not the ‘houses‘, but it arrived easily and quickly and thus no deep attachment has formed – unlike with hard earned and slowly built up savings. And we humans often take bigger chances with ‘found money’. The effect can be seen in stock markets as well. Strong market performance will change an individuals …
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Home Owner Tips – To DIY or Hire a Pro?

For many homeowners, springtime and the nice weather that typically accompanies the season is the perfect time to start some DIY projects around the home. While a small paint job or garden cleanup seems pretty easy for even the novice of DIYers, there are some tasks that should be left to the pros. The Canadian Home Builders Association has a few projects you should probably avoid taking on your own if you don’t have the technical experience. Plumbing, electrical and gas repairs and installations can all require licensed contractors by law, depending on provincial regulations. Make sure you know the rules where you live – and follow them. For the sake of your family’s safety, work involving electricity and/or gas service should only be done by a qualified contractor. Because this type of work can result in a safety hazard if done incorrectly, permits are usually needed. Roofing or other …
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Podcast

I was recently interviewed on the I Love Mortgage Brokering Podcast by Scott Peckford.  We talked about growing up in a family of bankers, how I structured my team, and why investing in the community pays big dividends.

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