Preword: It looks like the Canadian interst rates can not rise above the US to much and the US will have to keep their rates the same for most all of 2010 and most of 2011. That means our rates will stay close to the same as now for another 18 months! Great news if you are on the variable rate mortgage.
We have variable rates are Prime – .65% right now, from good banks.
CIBC World Markets Inc. trims forecast for rate hikes and currency strength in Canada as economic growth outlook dampens abroad
TORONTO, Aug. 18 /CNW/ – Continuing weakness in the U.S. economy may force the Bank of Canada to put interest rate hikes on hold after September, notes a new report from CIBC World Markets Inc.
… “Forget about any rates hikes from the U.S. Federal Reserve until sometime in 2012 at the earliest.”
While Canada is in much better economic shape – it leads the U.S., Eurozone, U.K. and Japan in first-half growth and has a record gap over the U.S. in the share of working age population holding a job – it “cannot move all the way to normalized interest rates while the U.S. Federal Reserve is still on hold,” Mr. Shenfeld contends.
For starters, an interest rate differential of 300-400 basis points would take the loonie “substantially stronger” creating additional headwinds for Canadian economic growth, says Mr. Shenfeld.
Furthermore, the “external environment will be one of less-than-normal growth as fiscal tightening bites in Europe and the U.S., and with our own upcoming fiscal tightening also hitting domestic demand, monetary policy might have to be set at stimulative levels to allow the economy to return to potential and remain there. To keep moving at all, you have to step on the gas if your car is trying to roll up a steep incline.”
The report also notes that there are limits to how far the Bank of Canada can diverge from the U.S. Federal Reserve without later regretting it. Episodes in recent years in which rate overnight rates were 2 per cent or more above those stateside resulted in sagging or sacrificed growth. These are “lessons learned, we hope,” says Mr. Shenfeld.
“Since a hike at every rate setting date through 2011 would take rates substantially higher than 2%, a pause is coming on the road to tightening.”
As a result of the dampened external growth outlook, Mr. Shenfeld has trimmed his call for rate hikes. He sees Canadian overnight rates going no higher than 2% next year as the U.S. Federal Reserve stays on hold.
The complete CIBC World Markets report is available at: http://research.cibcwm.com/economic_public/download/gps_aug10.pdf
Credit Score Secrets
by Gail Vaz-Oxlade, for Yahoo! Canada Finance
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Ever wonder how that magical number – The Credit Score – is computed?
Whether you’re obsessing over your FICO score or your Beacon score, you’re likely shopping for credit. The FICO score was developed by Fair Isaac & Co., which began credit scoring in the late 1950s. The point of the score is consolidate your credit profile into a single number. The Beacon score is a brand name used by Equifax, the largest credit-reporting agency in Canada. While Fair, Isaac & Co. and the credit bureaus do not reveal how these scores are computed, whether you get a loan or not is a numbers game: The more points you score on your credit app, the better you do.
There’s a reason you have to fill out so much information when you’re applying for credit. Everything counts. Your age, your address, and even your telephone number all have a role to play in whether or not you’ll get credit.
Young ‘uns and old folk are at a disadvantage since under 21 and over 65 likely means you aren’t working; no points for you. If you’re married, you’ll get a point for being “stable.” And while you might think that being divorced would work against you (all that spousal and child support), most creditors don’t give a whit.
No dependents? Zero points. You’re probably still gallivanting like a teenager since you haven’t yet “settled down.” One to three dependents? Score one point. You’re a solid citizen. More than three dependents? Score zero. Have you no self control! And don’t you know you that with all those mouths to feed you could get in debt over your head?
Your home address counts too. Live in a trailer park or with your parents? Bad risk, score zero points. You could skip town with nary a look over your shoulder. Rent an apartment? Give yourself one point. Own a home with a big fat mortgage and you’ll score major points since someone has already done some checking and you qualified for a mortgage. Own your home free and clear? Even better. You’ve proven you can pay off a sizable debt and now you have a pile of equity that the card company would love to help you spend.
Previous Residence? Zero to five years (some applications only go to three years), score zero points since you move around too much. No land-line: zero points. How the Dickens are they gonna find you when you fall behind in payments. Since they can’t use your cell phone to actually locate you physically, it doesn’t count.
Less then one year at your present employer earns you no points. Again, it’s a stability and earning continuity thing. The longer you’re on the job, the more likely you are to be bored out of your mind but you’ll score more points. And, not to overstate the obvious, the more you make the better.
The more willing you are to make your lender rich, the higher your score will be. Since the FICO score was originally designed to measure customer profitability, if you pay off your balance in full every month, you’re going to score lower than the guy who only makes the minimum payment and pays huge amounts of interest.
Scores range from 300 to 900 and if you manage to hit 750 or above you’ll qualify for the best rates and terms. Score 620 or lower and you’ll pay premium interest if you even qualify; 620 is the absolute minimum credit score for insured mortgages.
Your credit score can change quickly. Payment history accounts for about 35% of your credit score and just one negative report can drop your pristine score into the doldrums. Since scores are updated monthly, your bad behaviour won’t go unpunished for long.
The type of credit you have counts for about 10% of your score. And your current level of indebtedness accounts for about 30% so going too close to your credit limit is another way to deflate your score. One rule of thumb is to keep your balances below the 65% mark. So if you have a limit of $1,000, you won’t ever carry a balance that’s more than $650.
Having too much credit available can also hurt your ability to borrow since the more credit you have, the more trouble you can get yourself into. If you’ve got a walletful of cards, canceling credit you’re not using can be a good thing – for both you and your credit score – over the long haul. Careful though. If the card you’re eliminating is one with a long, positive history, you’ll eliminate what could be a very good record of your repayment when you cancel the card. You’d be better off cutting up the card so you aren’t tempted to use it, while you establish a track record (six months or more) before you actually cancel the account.
Credit shopping can also cost you points. Since about 10% of your credit score relates to the number and frequency of new credit enquiries, applying willy nilly for new credit will end up costing you. However, it’s only when a lender checks your score that this registers on your score. Checking your own credit report/score is considered a “soft” inquiry and does not go against your score.
Where to buy: Top 10 cities
Jesse Kinos-Goodin, Financial Post · Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010
When investing in real estate, sometimes it’s necessary to look beyond your own backyard. The Real Estate Investment Network (REIN), a national organization of investors, has compiled what it says are the top 10 Canadian cities in which to invest. Few are major cities and some are surprising. Don Campbell, president of REIN, as well as one of the researchers on the study, says the results are based on factors such as planned transportation improvements, or if the area’s average income, population growth and job growth are increasing faster than the provincial average.
Oddly enough, nothing east of Ontario shows up on the list, and while Mr. Campbell says cities like Halifax, Saint John and Moncton “still provide decent returns,” the top cities are ones that will outperform the national average between 2010 and 2015.
Calgary is “poised to outperform the average by a wide margin,” says Mr. Campbell, making it the top-ranked city.
After two years of declining average resale housing prices, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has predicted they will increase year-over-year in 2010.
The REIN report credits the downturn to a much-needed correction, and that it was “economically impossible for the [Calgary] market to continue at the pace at which it was heading.” But now that it is coming out of the recession, along with economies elsewhere, Calgary’s strengths in producing food, fuel and fertilizer will boost its growth.
“Calgary is in a unique economic and geographic position to take advantage of the direct and indirect jobs this increase in demand will create,” says Mr. Campbell, who adds that with strong in-migration and renewed affordability, the city provides a good buying window for long-term investors.
2. Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge, Ont.
REIN refers to Canada’s Technology Triangle as the “economic Alberta of Ontario.” That means KWC is not only seen as the economic engine of the new Ontario economy, but also that it “will outperform all other major regions in eastern Canada,” Mr. Campbell says. For indicators, he points to job growth, student growth and a new light rapid-transit system.
Edmonton sits near the top of the report’s list because of its future potential. Calling it a “perennial overachieving market,” REIN says the city is a “growing market, [with] an increasing population, and a forward-looking leadership.”
It will also be the main benefactor of energy development in Western Canada, says Mr. Campbell, resulting in a “very affordable, strong rental market with strong in-migration from across Canada.” Major infrastructure improvements, such as the ring road and LRT expansion, will be key.
4. Surrey, B.C.
British Columbia’s second-largest city is growing so fast it could become even bigger than Vancouver.
“Just a decade ago, it was known as the punch line to many a joke,” Mr. Campbell says. But with two border crossings to the United States, links to five major highways, deep sea docks and four railways, Surrey is a prime location to do business, he says.
Although there may be a strong rental market, it’s a city that requires a closer examination, taking “neighbourhoods and even the street’s characteristics into consideration when deciding where to purchase,” REIN warns.
5. Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows, B.C.
The Translink and Gateway Project infrastructure improvements have made these B.C. towns the “most accessible regions in [Vancouver’s] Lower Mainland,” the report says. They’ve come a long way, Mr. Campbell says. The unofficial motto of Maple Ridge used to be “You can’t get there from here.” As a result of poor infrastructure in the past, property values have been historically low in this area. But with the improvements, it’s predicted an additional 400 business will move into the area, REIN says, improving the demand for both residential and commercial property.
6. Hamilton, Ont.
“The perception no longer matches the reality of Hamilton,” Mr. Campbell says. “The city’s leadership, as well as local business owners, have transformed what was once a rough-and-tumble steel town to a city with economic vitality, diversification and population growth.” REIN applauds Hamilton’s leadership as being innovative in revitalizing the city, adding Hamilton
“has beaten its overall building permit value for the second year in a row.”
7. St. Albert, Alta.
“Long thought of as a satellite of Edmonton, St. Albert is poised to be the biggest benefactor of the new Edmonton Ring Road,” says Mr. Campbell, who adds that as the transportation access improvement is completed, the city will begin to experience “a flood of not only new residents, but also the relocation of companies and jobs into town.” Other attributes of the city include consistently low vacancy rates, high rents and strong property value increases. It also helps that the city has “turned itself into a major retail centre for the northern region while adding to its industrial and commercial job base,” REIN says.
8. Barrie & Orillia, Ont.
These two cities have been shedding the perception of being just cottage country and have become a “hot bed for growth,” Mr. Campbell says. University and college expansion campuses have brought new life to the area, and the addition of Go Train access has made them viable commuter towns for the Greater Toronto Area, REIN says. For investors, this all adds up to healthy property appreciation, a respectable vacancy rate of 4.7% and the youngest residents on average in a given Census Metropolitan Area (CMA).
9. Red Deer, Alta.
In the centre of the Edmonton-Calgary corridor, Red Deer is not close to either. But REIN suggests reviewing city plans, as there will be a lot of hidden opportunities. “The whole central Alberta region has witnessed very strong population and job growth, as well as a real estate market that has continually outperformed most other regions of the country,” Mr. Campbell says. He adds that with a continually expanding industrial and commercial job base, Red Deer is in a good position to “take advantage of the inevitable growth in demand for food, fuel and fertilizer.”
Winnipeg is often left off the real estate investment radar, but Mr. Campbell says it’s a good city for “consistent economic performance — not too high during booms and not too low during downturns.” But people should stick to buying top-quality properties. REIN also notes that housing prices, after dipping last year, are back to double-digit increases, which could “lead to an influx of inventory on the market.” But with one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country, at 1.2%, there is room for movement. Another positive factor for the city is international immigration is expected to increase under the provincial nominee program being undertaken by the government.
Read more: http://www.financialpost.com/news/Where+cities/3369599/story.html#ixzz0w4mDdnyK