13 Dec

RBC Increases Rates – Bank of Canada Predicts Low Rates for Years

General

Posted by: Kimberly and Cindy Walker

Mixed singles as usual, difficult for the consumer to make decisions.

RBC, today will  increase its 3-year fixed closed rate by 0.10 percentage points; and its 4-year, and 5-year fixed closed rates by 0.20 percentage points; taking all three special offer rates to 3.24%.

Brought to you by:

 

Dave, Cindy, Amanda and Kimberly Walker

22 Year Emerald Master Medallion Winners

HomeLife Benchmark Realty

1 1920 152 Street, South Surrey, B.C. V4N 4N6

604-889-5004 or info@WalkerRealEstate.ca

www.WalkerRealEstate.ca

 

Cindy and Kimberly Walker

Dominion Lending Centres

Working With Over 90 Lenders

604-889-5004 or info@@WalkerRealEstate.ca

www.WalkerMortgages.ca

2 Dec

Consumer Confidence Leads to a More Stable Housing Market in 2020

General

Posted by: Kimberly and Cindy Walker

Increased consumer confidence with more Canadians adapting to the mortgage stress tests and millennials reaching peak homebuying age.

We are told to look for a 3.7% increase in the national average home price, plus continued low interest rates.

Great time to review your financing and purchasing power.

Give us a call today, to get ready for the New Year!

28 Oct

Property Sales In Fraser Valley Have Recovered Bringing Market Into Balance

General

Posted by: Kimberly and Cindy Walker

For the third straight month, home sales in the Fraser Valley surpassed 2018 levels bringing the market back in line with long-term averages. The market’s return to balance is good news for both buyers and sellers, however its important to put the 30 per cent year over year increase in sales into context. September’s sales went through amongst the worst in 10 years to just above the 10 year average.

 

“Home prices are still dropping compared to a year ago, but on a month-to-month basis, prices are moderating because  supply is shrinking. Our incoming supply of new listings has dropped consistently for the last four months pushing our total inventory in the Fraser Valley to the lowest it’s been since April, which has had impact on prices”

 

Financing is still a challenge for many clients, but fortunately in a balanced market like this, Realtors have the time to work with clients and advise them on the best strategies for them, buying or selling!

 

Brought to you by:

 

Dave, Cindy, Amanda and Kimberly Walker

June Cong

22 Year Emerald Master Medallion Winners

HomeLife Benchmark Realty

1 1920 152 Street, South Surrey, B.C. V4N 4N6

604-889-5004 or info@WalkerRealEstate.ca

www.WalkerRealEstate.ca

 

Cindy and Kimberly Walker

Dominion Lending Centres

604-889-5004 or info@@WalkerRealEstate.ca

www.WalkerMortgages.ca

25 Sep

BCREA: stress tests limiting impact of falling rates

General

Posted by: Kimberly and Cindy Walker

Mortgage rates are expected to remain at roughly their current level through to the end of 2020 according to a new forecast.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association’s Economics team says that, notwithstanding any major changes to the economic landscape, the 5-year qualifying rate is set to remain at 5.19% in the fourth quarter of 2019 with the 5-year average discounted rate at 2.77% (down from 2.86%).

Falling bond yields in the third quarter have helped reduce the 5-year contract rate with some fixed-rates of as low as 2.25%. However, those borrowers that are subject to the B-20 mortgage stress test will see the qualifying rate hold steady despite the lower rates offered by lenders. The lack of variation in the qualifying rate is “a puzzle” the report says.

BoC on hold
BCREA Economics does not see the Bank of Canada making any changes to interest rates in the near term but notes that major changes in the economy may prompt a cut. For now though, employment and inflation data support a hold-steady for monetary policy.

The report calls for the Canadian economy will post trend growth of about 1.8% in 2020, though “significant downside risks remain due to elevated trade tensions and their consequent impact on exports and investment.”

24 Sep

Real estate, mortgage bodies welcome federal housing pledges

General

Posted by: Kimberly and Cindy Walker

With the electioneering gathering pace, two real estate and mortgage industry bodies have welcomed some recent pledges by the federal parties.

Toronto Real Estate Board says that it is pleased that parties are making housing affordability a key part of their election campaigns, especially the Liberals’ commitment to expanding the First Time Home Buyers Plan and the Conservatives pledge to reform the mortgage stress test and increase housing supply.

“Housing affordability is one of the most important issues facing Canadians. We are glad that the federal political parties are acknowledging this with their respective plans. Two key issues that TREB believes have negatively impacted affordability are the federal mortgage stress test and mortgage amortization periods. TREB has been strongly calling for changes to the federally imposed mortgage stress test, since it was imposed, and for a 30-year amortization period for insured mortgages to be re-introduced, to give home buyers more flexibility and assist with affordability,” said Michael Collins, TREB President.

TREB says that proposals to address money laundering in real estate and the increased use of federal real estate to boost housing supply are also positive moves.

The Canadian Real Estate Association said that it’s pleased with the Conservative proposals which include suggestions that it has been making to policymakers.

Mortgage Professionals Canada has also welcomed the latest announcement from the Conservatives which would reduce the mortgage stress test thresholds and bring back a 30-year amortization period.

“We are delighted to see our recommendations included in the Conservative Party of Canada platform,” said Paul Taylor, President and CEO of Mortgage Professionals Canada. “I am very encouraged to see the real concerns of our members, and the would-be homeowners they serve, have been addressed in such a positive manner. Accessible home ownership is an important issue for all Canadians. Thank you to Andrew Scheer and his team for having heard our concerns and responding so directly.”

19 Sep

Canadians’ wealth reduced as real estate gains are erased

General

Posted by: Kimberly and Cindy Walker

The average Canadian household was worth less in 2018 than in the previous year.

The average net worth of $678,792 was down $7,594 (1.1%) in 2018 according to a study by Environics Analytics.

While real estate values gained $6,336 (1.6%) other factors erased this gain as equities contributed to a $10,045 (3.4%) drop in liquid asset values.

The impact was worsened as household debt continued its upward trajectory, adding $3,309 (2.3%) to the average debt burden; and interest rate increases slashed $576 of employer pension plan values.

“Despite being relatively prudent in terms of their debt acquisition and repayment in 2018, Canadian households felt the effects of a significant decline in equity market valuations over the fourth quarter of the year,” says Peter Miron, Environics Analytics’ Senior Vice President, Research and Development and the architect of WealthScapes. “On a more positive note, Canadians are actively taking steps to reign in their debts and build up their savings. In fact, four provinces saw the average debt per household decline in 2018.”

Apart from the investment losses, rising interest rates during 2018 have been another significant drag on household net worth. In response, Canadians have been trying to blunt the effect of rising rates by converting their variable-rate, non-mortgage debt into locked-in loans.

16 Sep

Cut red tape, end harmful stress test Realtors urge politicians

General

Posted by: Kimberly and Cindy Walker

Real estate organizations from across Canada are urging federal election parties to cut barriers to homeownership.

Several bodies representing real estate agents have united in their message to politicians to reduce the challenges facing homebuyers including the mortgage stress test and zoning restrictions.

They are also keen for the next government to allow 30-year amortizations to help boost affordability and give more flexible options for homebuyers.

“We need concrete results in the Greater Toronto Area to address the lack of supply by reducing red tape for building, relaxing zoning to expand mid-density (e.g., townhomes) housing, facilitating more transit-oriented development, accelerating infrastructure improvements and lightening the taxation burden facing home buyers. The Ontario government and the City of Toronto are working on solutions to bring more supply on-line, but specific milestones should be set,” said John DiMichele, Chief Executive Officer of Toronto Real Estate Board.

Ashley Smith, president of Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver added that, while the board believes in responsible lending and regulation, there’s a balance.

The stress test is causing more harm to hopeful home buyers than it needs to. It’s hurting affordability and stifling people’s ability to meet their housing needs,” he said.

No one-size solution
Matt Honsberger, President, Nova Scotia Association of Realtors said that one-size-fits-all policies do not work in the housing market and urged political parties to focus on the economic contribution that real estate makes.

And Julie Saucier, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers, highlighted the homeownership rate in Quebec, which at 61% lags the other provinces where rates are above 70%.

“We believe that there needs to be better support offered to buyers of residential properties, particularly first-time buyers,” she said. “We also support the implementation and maintenance of home renovation tax credit programs to encourage the purchase of properties requiring upgrades, a refund of transfer duties for first-time buyers, and the introduction of mortgage rules that are adapted to regional and provincial differences.”

Alan Tennant, Chief Executive Officer, Calgary Real Estate Board, added that leadership in government is needed to end ad-hoc policies and create a clear housing strategy.

Stolen equity
“To help Canadians, the real estate market must have liquidity, but the federal government’s anti-homeownership policies have made it difficult for millennials to purchase their first home, difficult for families to upsize or downsize as their needs change and difficult for seniors to exit the market,” commented Michael Brodrick, Chair, Realtors Association of Edmonton.

He added that the stress test was introduced nationally with no regard for regional differences and has cut the level at which buyers can enter the market.

“This has lowered prices and stolen equity from homeowners. Home equity is a substantial asset for many Canadians, and this equity will not be easily or quickly rebuilt,” he said.

13 Sep

Liberals promise boost for first-timers, national non-res owner tax

General

Posted by: Kimberly and Cindy Walker

The Liberals have promised to increase limits and make some other changes to the First-Time Home Buyer program, if they win the federal election.

The flagship program, introduced earlier this month, has been criticized for limits which exclude potential buyers of homes in the priciest markets such as Toronto and Vancouver.

But the party says that it would immediately expand the Incentive to provide more help to communities in the greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Victoria regions by allowing homes valued at up to $789K to qualify.

Reacting to the announcement, Toronto Real Estate Board issued a statement:

“Today’s First-Time Home Buyer program announcement responds to the fact that housing markets vary from region to region, something TREB has long pointed out. The higher limits now take into account higher priced properties in markets like Toronto and Vancouver,” it states.

TREB re-stated its belief that its recommended solutions, including revising the mortgage stress test and bringing back 30-year mortgage amortization, will be effective in addressing ownership housing affordability.

Foreign ownership

The Liberals have also pledged to introduce a consistent, nationwide speculation and vacancy tax for non-resident Canadians.

In response, TREB says:

“Further analysis is required to understand if today’s proposed speculation and vacancy tax announcement will help increase the supply of available housing over the long term, or aid with affordability. We’re also keen to hear from the other federal political parties regarding their platforms on measures to assist with home ownership affordability.”