Mortgage

First Time Home Buyers Incentive - Full Details Announced

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Earlier this year, the government announced a plan to help first time home buyers enter the market and help reduce their monthly mortgage carrying costs. There was no in depth information provided, and a large amount of speculation about what exactly it could include or who would be eligible.

This week, the government provided all of the details. Launching September 2nd, 2019, the first time home buyer plan is aimed at providing a 5% or 10% shared equity mortgage with the Government, which will act as part of the deposit.

More in-depth
- Total qualifying income must be no more than $120,000 and your total borrowing is limited to four times the qualifying income.
- At least one of the persons on title must be a first-time buyer (keep in mind this is also valid for those who did not own within 4 years)
- Total borrowing (including the incentive amount) is limited to four times the qualifying income.
- The incentive will be a second mortgage that is registered on the title of the property.
- There will be no regular principal payments, it is not interest bearing, and a maximum term of 25 years.
- The incentive is offered at 5% or 10% for a new construction home or condo, or only 5% for a existing re-sale home or condo.
- Property must close on or after November 1st, 2019
- Property can be a 1-4 unit residential property (hello investors), and must be available for full-time, year-round occupancy (no cottages).
- The first time buyer will be required to repay the incentive after 25 years or when the property is sold (or sooner without penalty). Refinancing will not trigger re-payment.
- Repayment is calculated at property’s fair market value at time of re-payment. If you took a 5% incentive, you would pay back 5% of the homes value at the time of repayment.

Example

Olivia wants to buy a new condo for $400,000.

Under this incentive, Olivia can apply to receive $40,000 in a shared equity mortgage (10% of the cost). This is on top of the minimum required downpayment of 5% ($20,000) that she must provide from her savings.

This lowers her monthly expenses, and the amount that she is borrowing. As a result, Olivias mortgage is now reduced by $228 less per month or $2,736 a year.

When Olivia sells her home for $420,000 she would have to pay back the incentive of 10% which is now $42,000.

Do we like it?
This is a great tool for someone who wants to lower their monthly carrying costs. It might not be a great tool for someone in a larger market with higher average prices. Every situation is different and even if you qualify, this might not be a good fit.

Do you have questions about if the new first time home buying incentive is a good fit for you? Let’s chat. Call, txt, email, or fill out the form below.

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Bank of Canada - Interest Rate Holds at 1.75% again

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Once again, the Bank of Canada has just released today that it will keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 1.75%. The last rate change was in October 2018, which was the fifth time since the summer of 2017 that the BoC has decided to raise the rate.

What does this mean? The BoC’s rate directly affects the rate that you will get from a retail bank for lending (mortgages and lines of credits) and savings products. When the rate is low, it means that it is cheaper to borrow money, but not as lucrative to save.

The BoC has eight fixed dates each year on which it announces whether or not it will change the policy interest rate. The next announcement will be on January 9th (followed by March 6th, April 24th, May 29, July 10, September 4th, October 30th, and December 4th).

Bank Of Canada - Interest Rate Holds at 1.75%

BoC-Interest-Rate-Update.jpg

The Bank of Canada has revealed that it will keep its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 1.75%. This comes from the previous raise in October, which was the fifth time since the summer of 2017 that the BoC has decided to raise the rate.

What does this mean? The BoC’s rate directly affects the rate that you will get from a retail bank for lending (mortgages and lines of credits) and savings products. When the rate is low, it means that it is cheaper to borrow money, but not as lucrative to save.

The BoC has eight fixed dates each year on which it announces whether or not it will change the policy interest rate. The next announcement will be on January 9th (followed by March 6th, April 24th, May 29, July 10, September 4th, October 30th, and December 4th).

Breaking News - More Changes To Mortgage Lending - 10/2016

Earlier today the government announced more changes to mortgage lending to ensure that buyers are not taking on bigger mortgages that they can afford. Let me break down the change and how it will affect buying a house or condo here in Ottawa. Keep in mind there were four major changes, but I am going to focus on the "Stress Test" change.

The "Stress Test" Change

If you (buyer) are using less than 20% downpayment, you will need to be approved using the posted rate (currently 4.64%) not the actual rate of the mortgage. This posted rate is typically going to be higher than what your rate will be, so it will lower the overall amount that you are approved for. This doesn't change the rate or the payment, just lowering the approved amount for borrowing. Before this change, you would have been pre-approved using the rate you were paying - allowing your budget to be much higher.

Who will this affect?

Unlike previous changes (for those borrowing over 1M), this affects anyone who was pushing the top end of their budget and had less than 20% downpayment. This change essentially lowers the amount you will be approved for by on average 20-25%, or less depending on the price point. It is said that this change should impact between 7% and 10% of buyers.

When?

You have until October 17th to get your purchase and sale agreement in writing and mortgage application in to get qualified under the old rules. 

Why is being changed?

Really it lowers the risk that our country is taking on with people that really shouldn't be buying. I can't count the number of times that a buyer here in Ottawa has told me that the amount they were approved for was way more than they could afford. If you were pushing that to the highest amount it is riskier and this looks to help reduce the risk. What if rates rise during your term and when you go to renew the rate is 1% or 3% higher? 

Examples

Before: Income of $100,000 with a downpayment of $40,000, five-year fixed rate of 2.17% would qualify to purchase an Ottawa home worth $665,435 (including tax of $400 and heating of $150 /month).
Now: You would be qualified at 4.64% (todays rate) not 2.17% interest rate, and it would drop your purchase price to $505,762 - a difference of 24% or $159,673. 

If you are thinking of buying or are looking to learn more about how these changes affect you specifically, let's chat!

Banks Unsure of Micro Condos?

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With the recent launch of Smart House Ottawa, and as more micro condo units are being built, buyers are excited for moving into these new spaces... However, if they can move in will be another storey. We are hearing rumours that banks and other lenders are not approving financing for these micro-condos. 

Representatives from the Big Five banks have all said they have rules on their financing policies that restrict approving mortgages that are under 500sqft. Up until the last few years, micro condos or bachalor studios were few and rare. With the shift in size, the lenders are being cautious and want to make sure they "understand" them. 

While this policy for minimum size is a requirement, every application is reviewed on a case per case basis. I have sold multiple units over the past few years that are under 500sqft and a few dozen that were under 600sqft, all without size issues by the lender. While we have heard rumours here in Ottawa, we have not seen any first hand accounts where the mortgage was declined due to size.

So What Do I Do?

Before you sign the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, ensure you have a financing clause, and have consulted a mortgage broker. Make sure they have the green light before moving ahead with the purchase and that they have the correct sqftage. Last thing you want is an issue on closing day.

Examples of Small Units in Ottawa?

There are two units per floor inside Mondrian (324 Laurier Ave at Bank, 2009) that are under 500sqft and another three units that are under 600sqft. The East Market (180 York, 383 Cumberland, 179 George, 2001-2007) has six units per floor that are under 500sqft, and another eleven per floor that are or under 600sqft. 

Are you looking to buy or finance a micro condo and want some help? I would love to chat...

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Written by Matt Richling

Matt is a licensed salesperson at RE/MAX Metro City Realty in Ottawa, Canada. Matt loves helping sellers and buyers find the perfect home that fits their lifestyle.