Prime Rate Holding, July 1st Expected Reduction & Real Estate Economic Data

The Bank of Canada cited the ongoing risk of inflation for its decision to maintain its overnight benchmark interest rate at 5.0%.

Below are the Bank of Canada’s observations, including its forward-looking comments on the state of the economy, inflation and interest rates.

Canadian inflation

  • CPI inflation ended the year at 3.4% and the Bank expects inflation to remain close to 3% during the first half of 2024 “before gradually easing” and returning to the Bank’s 2% target in 2025
  • Shelter costs remain “the biggest contributor to above-target inflation”
  • While a slowdown in demand is said by the Bank to be reducing price pressures in a broader number of CPI components and corporate pricing behavior continues to normalize, core measures of inflation are not showing sustained declines.

Canadian economic performance and outlook

  • The Bank notes that the Canadian economy has “stalled” since the middle of 2023 and believes growth will likely remain close to zero through the first quarter of 2024
  • Consumers have pulled back their spending in response to higher prices and interest rates, and business investment has contracted
  • With weak growth, supply has caught up with demand and the economy now looks to be operating in modest excess supply
  • Labour market conditions have eased, with job vacancies returning to near pre-pandemic levels and new jobs being created at a slower rate than population growth. However, wages are still rising around 4% to 5%

Global economic performance and outlook

  • Global economic growth continues to slow, with inflation easing “gradually” across most economies
  • While growth in the United States has been stronger than expected, it is anticipated to slow in 2024, with weakening consumer spending and business investment
  • In the euro area, the economy looks to be in a mild contraction
  • In China, low consumer confidence and policy uncertainty will likely restrain activity
  • Oil prices are about $10 per barrel lower than was assumed in the Bank’s October Monetary Policy Report (MPR)
  • Financial conditions have eased, largely reversing the tightening that occurred last autumn
  • The Bank now forecasts global GDP growth of 2.5% in 2024 and 2.75% in 2025 compared to 2023’s 3% pace
  • With softer growth this year, inflation rates in most advanced economies are expected to come down slowly, reaching central bank targets in 2025

Outlook

The Bank believes that Canadian economic growth will strengthen gradually “around the middle of 2024.” Furthermore, it expects household spending will likely “pick up” in the second half of 2024, and exports and business investment should get a boost from recovering foreign demand.

Taking all of these factors and forecasts into account, the Bank’s Governing Council decided to hold its policy rate at 5% and to continue to “normalize” the Bank’s balance sheet.

The Bank’s statement went on to note that Council “is still concerned about risks to the outlook for inflation, particularly the persistence in underlying inflation” and wants to see “further and sustained easing in core inflation.” The Bank also said it continues to focus on the balance between demand and supply in the economy, inflation expectations, wage growth, and corporate pricing behaviour.

As it has said consistently over the past year, the Bank will remain “resolute in its commitment to restoring price stability for Canadians.”

Although the Bank did not say it, the bottom line is we will have to wait and see what comes next.

Next touchpoint

March 6, 2024 is the Bank’s next scheduled policy interest rate announcement.

The End of Prime Rate Increases, January, 2024, Canada

Horray, today The Bank of Canada didn’t just put rate hikes on the back burner today; it unplugged the stove!

The Bank is now “confident enough” that inflation is on the right track to not publicly dwell on rate hike risk any longer. That was today’s message from Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Rogers after the BoC left its overnight rate at 5%.

Instead, the Bank says it’s now shifting its focus to “how long” the overnight rate needs to marinate “at the current level.”

Summary:

No more increases to the Canadian Prime Rate of Interest – at 7.2% today, after 10 increases in 2023.

Back in August I said Prime should start to come down in June – still the best guess – and

will come down by o.25% every 3 months, so one-quarter-percent decrease every calendar / fiscal quarter (3 months)

for a total of 2% less than today so … Prime should end up at 5.2% in 30 months, which is June 2026.

Mortgage Mark Herman, top Calgary Alberta and BC mortgage broker

 

“We need to give these higher interest rates time to do their work,” Macklem said, offering no clues on how long he’ll let the rate hike stew simmer. The forward market thinks it’ll take another 4 – 6 months. Historically, rates have plateaued at peak levels for anywhere from a few months to 17 months. So far, it’s been only 6.

The Bank says that higher rates can’t be completely ruled out, but it’s very rare for the Bank of Canada to hike a bunch, pause 5+ months, hike more, pause 5+ months more, and then hike again.

Work Visa’s / Non-Canadians Can’t Buy Homes: 2023 New Rules

Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act.

Summary of New Rules,  2023:

Anyone with a work visa will have to have lived here for 3 of the past 4 years and have filed taxes during those years. Here are the RULES!

  • Holds a valid work permit as defined in section 2 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, or is otherwise authorized to work in Canada in accordance with section 186 of the Regulations;
  • Has worked in Canada for a minimum continuous period of 3 years within the past 4 years, where the work meets the definition set out in s. 73(2) of the Regulations; and
  • Has filed a Canadian income tax return for a minimum of 3 of the past 4 taxation years preceding the year in which the purchase is made.

 

Please also find below the Globe and Mail article that ran last week on December 1st..  I copied and pasted the whole article:

Ambiguity about Canada’s ban on foreign home buyers creating hiring headaches for businesses

Canada’s impending ban on foreigners purchasing residential real estate is complicating how businesses hire, promote and transfer immigrant workers because of an information vacuum about the final rules.

The Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act, passed by Parliament earlier this year, will restrict foreigners from buying homes in Canada starting next month. That ban will remain in place for two years – supposedly to curb investor speculation in the housing market.

Although the legislation will come into force on Jan. 1, 2023, the federal government still hasn’t released the final regulations outlining how the prohibition will work. Those details are essential because they will specify which non-Canadians, both individuals and corporations, will be exempt from the ban.

Our legislators, however, seem unaware that 2023 is less than 30 days away. But you can be damn sure the businesses and foreign workers who have to comply with the law are acutely aware of the problem.

“The regulations will be made available soon,” Claudie Chabot, a spokeswoman for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, wrote in an e-mail. (The national housing agency led the government’s consultation on the law.)

The sooner the better. Businesses and workers are being kept on hold.

The government’s consultation paper proposed that exemptions would only be given to temporary residents who hold a valid work permit and who’ve worked in Canada for a “minimum continuous period of three years within the past four years.” Additionally, those individuals would have to prove they filed Canadian income tax returns for at least three of the four years preceding their property purchase.

That potentially sets a high bar for skilled workers. Is Ottawa really planning to prohibit executives and other talent, who plan to move to Canada with their families, from buying a home until they’ve worked here for three years?

We don’t know because the government still hasn’t finalized the rules. It’s ridiculous.

“If I’m sitting in London, England, and I’m saying, ‘Well, gee, do I want to go to Canada? Do I really want to go through all of this aggravation?’ ” said Stephen Cryne, president and CEO of the Canadian Employee Relocation Council.

Known as CERC, the non-profit organization advocates for increased labour force mobility on behalf of companies in sectors including financial services, technology, natural resources and telecommunications.

As Mr. Cryne points out, top executives who work for companies such as banks, energy companies and manufacturers have plenty of choices about where they and their families choose to live in the world.

“I was speaking with one of our members,” he recounted. “They’re looking at bringing in several executives and their families from South Africa, and [because of the uncertainty around the new rules], they’re second-guessing saying, ‘We’re not sure.’ ”

That’s hardly a vote of confidence in Canada.

CERC is asking the federal government for a blanket exemption for any foreign national with a valid work permit who is living and residing in Canada. It’s a reasonable ask.

“Given Canada’s critical skills shortages, these requirements will place Canada in an uncompetitive position when compared to other countries where such restrictions on the purchase of residential property by foreign nationals may not exist,” CERC told the government in a submission.

The proposed rules are also creating headaches for U.S. relocation management companies that handle employee moves on behalf of Canadian corporations. Some of these American companies will purchase and resell an executive’s home to speed up a move. But as non-Canadians, they could be banned from conducting such property transactions for two years – further complicating the process of relocating employees.

Not only are businesses’ hiring and relocation plans getting gummed up, the regulatory uncertainty about the forthcoming ban also risks chasing away foreign direct investment. Our immigration backlog is already a frustration for foreign companies that want to hire more employees and expand their operations in Canada.

Worst of all, it’s not clear that a ban targeting foreign home buyers will actually prevent speculation in the real-estate market.

After all, non-residents only owned 3.1 per cent of residential property in British Columbia in 2020, according to Statistics Canada. In Ontario, that figure is only 2.2 per cent.

So why is the Liberal government pointing a finger at foreign buyers for pricing Canadians out of the housing market?

This is the problem with populist policies. They might make for good politics, but they often have undesirable consequences for businesses and consumers.

The government needs to clear up the confusion about its foreign-home-buyer ban – and fast.

If Ottawa’s goal is to admit nearly 1.5 million new immigrants to Canada by the end of 2025 to solve labour shortages, it shouldn’t be giving skilled workers reasons to think twice about moving here

 

Details of the FTHBI – First Time Home Buyer Incentive

Picuture of Calgary Tower in Alberta

The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) officially starts on September 2, 2019. Introduced help first-time home buyers, the FTHBI will provide shared equity loans of 5% toward the down payment of a resale home, and 5% or 10% for newly-built homes.

The idea is that by boosting the size of buyers’ down payments, the FTHBI lowers the monthly mortgage payment and is some relief on the costs of home ownership.

Details of Qualification

To qualify for the FTHBI, home buyers must satisfy the following:

  • At least one person in the household must be a first-time home buyer, meaning they have not owned a home, or dwelled in a home owned by their spouse, over the last four years. (An exception is made for buyers who’ve had a breakdown of marriage or common-law relationship.)
  • Buyers must have a minimum of 5% down payment from “own resources” to qualify for a CMHC insured mortgage.
  • Buyers’ combined household income cannot exceed $120,000. This includes the income of any guarantors co-signing on the mortgage, as well as any rental income generated if part of the home is tenanted out.
  • The buyers’ Mortgage-to-Income Ratio (MTI) cannot exceed 4x their income, including the portion that’s provided by the FTHBI. This means the maximum down payment for a resale home cannot exceed 14.99%, and 9.99% for a new build.

Details of How It Works

The funds provided are registered as a second mortgage on title, and don’t incur interest.

This second mortgage must be paid back in full when the first insured mortgage matures at 25 years or when the home is sold, whichever comes first. Homeowners may pay it back as a lump sum early without penalty. (Details of how the value at the time of payout are yet to be released.)

Because it is a shared equity mortgage, the amount to be paid back fluctuates along with the value of the home over time: if the home’s assessed value rises, the loan repayment will increase by the same percent. However, the same will occur if the home has lost value by the time it is sold or the mortgage matures.

There are more details on the last post on savings including this chart below: https://markherman.ca/updates-to-cmhc-first-time-buyer-incentive-program/

Savings Over Time

This is a handy chart to see the savings on the monthly payment when using the program.

OVERALL

The program looks to be a helper for saving on payments and that is a great thing.

Mark Herman, Top& Best  Calgary Mortgage Broker

Calgary Housing Affordabilty IMPROVES!

This short version of the article should provide some confidence that the sky is not falling in Calgary and we will recover.

Mortgage Mark Herman, Best Calgary mortgage broker for home purchases and mortgage renewals


Housing affordability continues to improve in Calgary market

Owning a home in Calgary at market price remains more affordable than it has been on average since the middle of the 1980s, says a new report released Monday by RBC Economics Research.

But the latest Housing Trends and Affordability Report said movements in oil prices are likely to exert a stronger influence on the market direction in the short term.

“Alberta’s housing market is still feeling the impact from the oil price shock,” said Craig Wright, senior vice-president and chief economist, RBC. “That said, the dust began to settle this spring, and we saw a gradual recovery in confidence, which helped rebalance demand-supply conditions. Home re-sales started to turn around, and sellers no longer rushed to list their properties.”

The RBC Housing Affordability measures, which capture the proportion of pre-tax household income needed to service the costs of owning a home at market values, fell slightly in Calgary for both two-storey homes, to 31.9 per cent, and bungalows to 32.4 per cent. The measure for condos stayed relatively the same 19.5 per cent.

RBC’s Housing Affordability measure for the benchmark detached bungalow in Canada’s largest cities was: Vancouver 88.6 (up 3.0 percentage points); Toronto 59.4 (up 2.1 percentage points); Montreal 36.0 (down 1.2 percentage points); Ottawa 35.4 (unchanged); Calgary 32.4 (down 0.4 percentage points); Edmonton 32.5 (down 0.4 percentage points).

“With home resales beginning to turn around and sellers no longer rushing to list their properties in the spring, there was evidence that confidence slowly returned to the Alberta market in the second quarter following the hard blow delivered by the oil price plunge in the previous two quarters,” said the report.

mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com

http://calgaryherald.com/business/real-estate/housing-affordability-continues-to-improve-in-calgary-market

Payout penalties – how the Big-5 banks get you

Below is a great example of how the Big-5 banks get you on a mortgage payout.

Always talk to a broker about your mortgage because Grandma used to say, “the rate is the rate, but the details are the details!”

Mark Herman

Top Alberta mortgage broker for home purchases and mortgage renewals


As you can see from the example below, the banks “discount rate recapture policy” can result in some pretty hefty added costs —$6,048 in the scenario here!

Example:

On July 31, 2011, you buy your first home and sign a five-year, fixed-term mortgage. As your family grows, you start looking at a bigger home, and after a few months of searching, you find the perfect one—on August 1, 2013.

Because of this unexpected upgrade, you now have to break your mortgage three years before it matures (you have $320,000 left on your mortgage). When you signed your current mortgage, you weren’t concerned about prepayment penalties, but as you can see below, prepayment penalties can have a significant financial impact on your bottom line.

Your situation
Mortgage date July 21, 2011
Date you break your mortgage August 1, 2013
How much you have left owing on your mortgage $320, 000
Your original mortgage term 5 years
How many years left you have on your term 3 years
Comparison
Mortgage breakage fee at the Big-5 banks Mortgage breakage fee with Broker Banks
5-year posted rate when you got your mortgage 5.39% Not applicable for the IRD calculation
Your actual contract rate 4.00% 4.00%
Discount 1.39% N/A
3-year posted rate on August 1, 2013 (the day you break your mortgage) 3.75% 2.99%
IRD formula (Contract rate – [Posted rate for remaining term – Discount from original mortgage]) x Principal outstanding x Remaining term (Contract rate – Posted rate for remaining term) x Principal outstanding x Remaining term
IRD payment $15,744 $9,696
Difference in fees $6,048

For  a free mortgage check-up, or pre-approval, or compare what we can do vs. your bank, call Mark at 403-681-4376

Remember, when working with us:
• There is no cost to you for our services as the banks pay us for doing their work,
• You get our professional, un-biased advice & expertise on your mortgage,
• We answer our phones and emails, 7 days a week, from 9 – 9, including holidays,
• Your rate will be lower with us as we deal through “broker services” at the banks.

Calgary Housing Market Still Strong

Below is an article that notes Calgary’s home prices are still supported.

Mark Herman, top Calgary mortgage broker for purchases and mortgage renewals

Calgary’s housing market is not under threat of a correction despite a downturn in the local economy, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said in an analysis Thursday.

Its assessment of 15 metro markets lists Calgary as “low risk” while Toronto, Regina and Winnipeg were rated “high risk.” The review considered four factors — overheating; acceleration in house prices; overvaluation; and overbuilding — as of the end of March.

“The low price of oil has affected many different sectors of the economy, affecting employment and income growth, and increasing the unemployment rate. Weaker labour market conditions have also slowed migration to the region,” CMHC said of the Calgary-area market.

Meanwhile, Vancouver — one of the country’s priciest real estate markets — was deemed low risk, even as home prices there continue to soar. The benchmark price of a detached home in metropolitan Vancouver hit $1.1 million in July, up 16.2 per cent from a year ago, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said last week.

… Statistics Canada said Thursday that new home prices in the Calgary area rose 0.1 per cent in June.

“Higher land prices were largely offset by builders reducing prices because of market conditions,” the federal agency said. Prices were up 0.7 per cent year-over-year.

In its latest report, the Calgary Real Estate Board said the average MLS sale price for July was $476,446, down about 1 per cent from a year ago while the median price of $435.000 grew by 2.35 per cent. The benchmark price, which CREB identifies as a typical property sold in the market, was largely unchanged at $455,400.

With files from The Canadian Press

mtoneguzzi@calgaryherald.com

Twitter.com/MTone123

Medical Doctor Mortgage Program – mortgage financing on your projected income!!

UPDATED!

ATTENTION soon-to-be-Doctors – FINALLY a program that acknowledges that you will be earing lots of money – soon, but not just yet.

Medical Doctors still in school or residency can qualify for financing with 20% down payment (up to 80% LTV) using projected income.

More details:

  • “Projected income” is based on what a medical doctor is expected to earn in their specialization of practice.
  • existing student loans, or student line of credit are fine
  • the 20% down CAN BE borrowed funds from a Line of Credit, or other source
  • part or all of the 20% down CAN BE gifted from a family member
  • there is NO sliding scale – which means if you want a 1,200,000 home and you have the 20% down ($240,000) then it can still work!

Call for details and a quick chat on the phone: 403- 681-4376

Mark Herman, Top Calgary, Alberta Mortgage broker for doctors and renewals.

My bank REALLY REALLY REALLY wants my mortgage! Really?

Does your bank really, really, really want your mortgage that badly?

Do you know why?

NOT because they make lots of money on mortgages.

NOT because the bank rep needs to fill their mortgage quota this month (this happens too.)

BECAUSE the banks have studies that if they can get you to have 3 or more products with them, your odds of leaving to go to another bank fall by 75%.

This means 2 things:

  1. If they can get you to have the mortgage in addition to your existing checking and savings accounts and or credit card then you will probably not leave for another bank and their cost of customer acquisition is very high.
  1. Then they can cross-sell you the products they really, really make money on:
  • LOCs – line of credits – and more credit cards both with overdraft protection and insurance for the minimum payments if you are injured or laid-off.
  • mortgage insurance – a huge profit for them as they try very hard later not to pay claims in their post-claim underwriting process
  • mutual funds
  • long distance phone plans
  • travel insurance
  • all the rest.

And 1 more VERY important thing:

Banks know that 86% of people will stay with their existing bank at mortgage renewal time. AND if you have the magic 3 products will you move your mortgage somewhere else then?

Banks expect you to chisel them down now, and when you renew they renew you at rates that are typically .25% to .75% higher than they should be. And 86% of people just sign the renewal docs and send them back. (More data from studies.)

This does NOT happen with mortgages via mortgage brokers as the banks know they have to renew you at the best possible rates or the very same broker that took the customer to that bank will be the very same broker that moves the customer to a new bank if for a better rate on renewal.

Do you want to play this game with the banks or just skip it all together?

All this advice from the top mortgage broker in Calgary Alberta, Mark Herman.

Alternative Canadian Mortgage Lenders

THE ALTERNATIVE LENDING MARKET IS GROWING!

According to data compiled by CIBC World Markets (based on Statistics Canada figures), the value of loans from alternative lenders has increased by 25% this past year. In comparison, the overall growth in the mortgage market for 2014 was 4%.

As the number of alternative borrowers grows, it’s important to find a top Calgary Alberta mortgage broker that can provide customized solutions and deals with common sense lenders. We specialize in alternative lenders that have financial solutions to meet:

  • Clients who don’t fit the traditional ‘A’ lending / or bank guidelines.
  • Self-employed or commissioned clients with stated income.
  • Salaried clients with a GDS/TDS that doesn’t meet traditional bank requirements.
  • Clients with bruised credit due to extenuating circumstances.
  • Clients with outstanding Canada Revenue Agency debts.
  • New immigrants to Canada.
  • Sophisticated residential real estate investors.
  • Clients who can demonstrate a reasonable ability to make future mortgage payments.

All of our solutions are customized to fit the specific needs of the borrower—bringing them closer to their financial goals.

Call me, Mark Herman, Top Calgary Alberta mortgage broker, to talk about any of these products for your specific situation.

403-6891-4376