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41% of homebuyers would go over budget by $25K for the perfect home

Mon, 08 Jun by Pauline Relkey

I remember when I first started in real estate in 1991, someone told me that buyers would, on the average spend $15,000 more than they anticipated on a home purchase.  Back then, I thought that was a lot of money to extend your budget for house buying, but I have seen it happen more and more.  We usually have a picture in our mind of what we want, including price, and that can easily adjust and change as we start our search.  The more flexible you can be when looking to buy a home, the more choices you will have.  There are ‘needs’ in buying a home, that shouldn’t be compromised (for instance, not spending more than your maximum qualified price, number of bedrooms, location, garage) but the’wants’ (ensuite, fireplace, certain flooring or kitchen, etc) can be changed later.

In this recent study, although 80% of home buyers consider price to be the most important consideration of a purchase, 41% were willing to go above budget by an average of $25K for the perfect home.

There are many factors to consider when buying a home. And, although 80 percent of home buyers consider price to be the most important consideration of a home purchase, 41 percent of home buyers also are willing to go above budget by an average of $25,000 for the perfect home.

1,794 homeowners were surveyed between February 28 and March 6, 2020 who had all purchased a home within the last five years to learn what they desired most in a home. Survey respondents were an average of 38 years old, and 63 percent were married, 22 percent were single, 8 percent were engaged, 6 percent were divorced and 1 percent were widowed.

After home price, location, neighborhood, the size of the home, and the home’s layout were the most important factors in making the decision to buy.

Buyers spend an average of 4 months conducting a home search and view an average of 19 properties before deciding on the one. Remember this includes the online searching and viewing.

Most home buyers use a real estate agent to help them with their home search, with 51 percent opting to enlist an agent’s aid. Thirty-eight percent of home buyers shop for their home online while 11 percent find their home just by passing it on the street.

In terms of home features, buyers are most concerned with the home’s layout, with 71 percent of survey respondents reporting that layout was the most important home feature. Storage space (59 percent of respondents), an outdoor living space (57 percent), a large kitchen (53 percent) and having an updated kitchen (53 percent) were also important features for home buyers.

While most of us would like to buy our perfect home, it’s not always feasible. One in three survey respondents reported compromising on some part of their home purchase, usually because of budgetary restrictions.

Most often, home buyers opted to compromise on layout or the age of the home or repairs needed, with 29 percent of survey respondents compromising on these features. However, 26 percent of buyers compromised on home size, 23 percent compromised on having an updated kitchen, and 19 percent compromised on having updated bathrooms.

Out of the one in three survey respondents who reported backing out of buying a home, most did so because something was found during the home inspection (34 percent) or because they changed their mind about the home (29 percent).

Over half of home buyers stated that the home’s age or necessary repairs were the biggest deal breakers, while others said home size (40 percent), neighborhood (37 percent) and school system (20 percent) were their biggest deal breakers when considering whether or not to buy a home.

 

More than half of home buyers likely to buy a home within next year

Mon, 08 Jun by Pauline Relkey

I know. I can’t believe it. I just read this in a report from Inman, a real estate news company for realtors and brokers. They said 53% of home buyers say they now plan to buy a home within the next year as a result of factors surrounding the pandemic, according to online lending marketplace LendingTree.

The corona virus pandemic has significantly altered the home buying process, and now there’s evidence that it’s also impacted how quickly buyers want to seal the deal.

More than half of home buyers (53%) say they now plan to buy a home within the next year as a result of factors surrounding the pandemic, according to a new survey conducted by online lending marketplace LendingTree.

Between April 24 and April 30, LendingTree enlisted Qualtrics to survey 1,006 prospective homebuyers with a sample base proportioned in line with the general population.

The pandemic has especially spurred first-time home buyers into action with 73 percent now planning to buy a home within the next year. Likewise, millennials are also now more motivated to buy in a timely fashion, with 66 percent aiming to buy within the next 12 months.
Most buyers cite wanting to take advantage of current low mortgage rates as a specific reason for wanting to buy soon, with 67 percent inspired by this reason. Most other respondents said they plan to buy in the next year because they’ve been able to save more money as a result of reduced spending during quarantine (32 percent) and because home prices have dropped (30 percent) — a factor that can’t necessarily be applied to every region of the country right now.

The coronavirus crisis has moved 44 percent of home buyers to buy a less expensive home than they had originally planned, compared to 21 percent who said the pandemic has made them want to purchase a more expensive home.
LendingTree’s survey also found that the vast majority of home buyers have either already toured a home virtually (61 percent) or plan to do so (33 percent). However, only 3 in 10 buyers said they would buy a home without doing a walk-through in-person. Still, among first-time home buyers, 53 percent said they would buy a home without seeing it in-person. Across gender lines, only 16 percent of women said they’d buy a home without seeing it in-person in contrast to the 43 percent of men who would buy a home sight unseen.

Perhaps as a result of lenders tightening minimum requirements for lending, 44 percent of home buyers are more concerned about qualifying for a mortgage in the wake of the pandemic. In particular, first-time buyers (58 percent) and millennials (52 percent) are especially worried about qualifying.

Out of those buyers who said they were less likely to buy a home within the next year because of the pandemic, 70 percent said the current economic uncertainty was their main reason for waiting things out. The next most frequently cited reasons for waiting to buy included the inability to see a home in-person (42 percent) and a loss of income as a result of the pandemic (38 percent).

CMHC’s latest survey

Mon, 20 Jan by Pauline Relkey

The 2019 findings are in.

Canadians across the country were asked about their thoughts, attitudes and behaviours about and the process of buying a home in the annual Mortgage Consumer Survey and this is what they said.

Affordability continues to be the most important factor when it comes to buying a home.

One of the biggest stories of 2019 was the dramatic decrease in the number of home buyers who spent the maximum amount they could afford. The cost of becoming a homeowner is at the top of Canadians’ “must-haves”:

Price/affordability (80%)
Number of rooms (73%)
Proximity to public transit (67%)

The majority of Canadians are aware of the mortgage qualification rules (“stress test”). In fact, 65% of buyers said they believe the new mortgage qualification “stress test” will keep more Canadians from taking on a mortgage they can’t afford.

Despite debt levels, consumer optimism is on the rise.
Nearly one third of home buyers don’t expect interest rates to rise in the next year – up from just 20% in 2018. More than 8 out of 10 home buyers also feel confident that buying a home is a sound long-term investment.

The majority of home buyers have a positive attitude towards the idea of buying a home. Close to 9 out of 10 buyers were “happy” or “excited” about buying a home. However, more than one third also said that buying a home made them feel “stressed.”

Most home buyers are satisfied with their experience with their lender or mortgage broker.

The top reason for selecting a lender or broker is the interest rate offered. Despite high satisfaction levels, only less than half of home buyers received a follow-up call from their mortgage professional.  Hmmm a lesson to be learned. Always stay in touch with clients!

First Time Home Buyer Incentive Program

Mon, 20 Jan by Pauline Relkey

Have you heard about this program that just started in September 2019?

First time home buyers who have 5% down payment can apply for this program and get another 5 or 10% as a shared equity mortgage. Existing homes = 5% and newly constructed home = 5 or 10%.

This helps first time home buyers to reduce their monthly mortgage payment without increasing the amount that they must save for a down payment. No on-going repayments are required, this incentive is not interest bearing and you can repay the incentive any time without a penalty. This shared equity mortgage means that the federal government shares in both the upside and downside of the property value.

Your total income must be $120,000 per year or less. The property must be located in Canada and suitable and available for full time year round occupancy.

The homeowner repays the incentive amount after 25 years or when the property is sold, whichever is earlier. The property value determines what you get and what you pay back. Example if you are buying a $300,000 resale property and have your 5% down payment of $15,000 and you qualify for this incentive, you can get another $15,000 from the federal government to put towards your purchase. When you go to repay this amount, it will be based on the value of your property at that time, either in 25 years or earlier if you are selling the property. If the property is then worth $350,000 you will pay back 5% of the amount ($17,500). If the value is down and the property is worth $250,000 you will pay back 5% ($12,500).

There are qualifying factors to this program. Give me a call if you or someone you know could take advantage of this program.

Regina Home Sales Down, Listings at an all time high

Tue, 28 Nov by Pauline Relkey

My summary – even though the above title is true, sellers aren’t budging much when it comes to price.

Listings in Regina reached a record high for October with 1,444 homes for sale.

Sales numbers in and around the city dropped to their lowest level since 2008.

Average time to sell was 61 days which is the longest average listing to sale time in the last decade. The average sale price for October dropped by 1%.

Causes are overbuilding and lack of pressure on both buyers and sellers.

Diversified economy means people still have jobs and thusly sellers don’t feel pressured to sell at lower prices. Sluggish provincial economy causes buyer uncertainty. Buyers feel that prices might soon decrease. Regina has not seen big changes in prices as in other major cities.

Mortgage rules are tighter which reduces buying power.

The complete article is here.

House prices down in Canada

Tue, 18 Jul by Pauline Relkey

Take a look at what the Canadian Real Estate Association said about Canada’s housing situation.

CREA said home sales fell by 6.7 per cent last month compared to May — the sharpest monthly decline since 2010 and the third straight monthly contraction.

For the report, please click here.

How to Use Prepayments to Be Mortgage Free, Faster

Wed, 14 Jun by Pauline Relkey

Using your mortgage prepayment options can drastically reduce the total amount you spend on your mortgage and shorten the time it takes to pay it down. If you follow these 3 steps, you can be mortgage free sooner than ever!

1. Know your prepayment privileges
Most mortgages have allowances for you to prepay down your mortgage faster. The standard prepayment amount allowed per payment can vary depending on your mortgage provider.

Your mortgage provider may be able to increase and decrease your prepayment privilege at any time throughout the life of your mortgage.

This means that if any life event occurs and you need to reduce your payment to the minimum, you might be able to. Most mortgage providers allow this free of charge, but with some providers you can only change your payments a set number of times throughout the year.

2. Increase your payments
Anytime you increase your payments, the excess that you pay per payment goes directly onto the principal portion of your mortgage. This is a great way to drastically reduce the interest you will have to pay over the term of your mortgage.

Typical prepayments allow you to add between 10% to 20% of your payment amount to each payment, depending on your lender. Some lenders also allow the use of “double up payments” which let you double each payment!

Here’s an example of prepayments being used on a typical mortgage:

All calculations are based off of a $400,000 mortgage with a 5 year term and 25 year amortization at a rate of 2.59% with monthly payments.

No Prepayments:
Monthly payments: $1,809.84
Principal paid over 5 year term: $60,836.51
Interest paid over 5 year term: $47,753.89
Mortgage amount remaining: $339,163.49
Years remaining on mortgage after 5 years: 20 Years

Adding a 15% Prepayment:
Monthly payments: $2,081.32
Principal paid over 5 year term: $78,201.00
Interest paid over 5 year term: $46,678.20
Mortgage amount remaining: $321,799.00
Years remaining on mortgage after 5 years: 15 years & 9 months

As you can see, the mortgage was reduced by $17,364.49 and you saved $1,075.69 in interest! The mortgage term was reduced by 9 years and 3 months in only 5 years!

3. Make a lump sum prepayment
Making a large payment can be a great option for paying down your mortgage, but may not be ideal for everyone. Lump sum payments help you reduce the amount of interest you will be required to pay on your mortgage. They can also be used to reduce your mortgage amount before selling your home and will reduce the penalty you will be required to pay.

Lump sum payments are usually between 10% – 25% of the mortgage total. Typically, you can make a lump sum payment onto your mortgage once a year. Every mortgage provider has their own specific guidelines for how you can make a lump sum payment in a calendar year. Your provider may require you put down a minimum amount for a lump sum prepayment, or you may only be eligible for one on the anniversary date of your mortgage.

If you decide that prepayments are for you, you can achieve mortgage freedom sooner than ever!

Contact me today if you are looking for a mortgage person and I will be happy to connect you with a couple of great people I have worked with.

Top 5 Things Buyers Should Know When Buying Real Estate

Thu, 15 Dec by Pauline Relkey

There are 9 million Canadian millennials, representing more than 25% of our population. Born between 1980 and 1999, the eldest are in the early stages of their careers, forming households and buying their first homes. Buying a home is a daunting process for anyone, but especially so for the first-time home buyer. This is the largest and most important financial decision you will ever make and it should be done with the appropriate investment in time and energy. Making the effort to be financially literate will save you thousands of dollars and assure you make the right decisions for your longer-term financial security.

1. Don’t rush into the housing market. (can you believe that I am saying that as a Realtor?)
Do your homework and learn the basics of savings, credit and budgeting.  Lifelong savings is a crucial ingredient to financial prosperity. You must spend less than you earn, ideally saving at least 10% of your gross income. Do your savings automatically, having at least 10% of every paycheck put into a savings account. Hopefully if you don’t see the money, you won’t spend it. Contributing to an RRSP, especially if you are fortunate enough to have any matching funds from your employer, is essential.

The Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) is an ideal vehicle for saving for a down payment and now you can contribute as much as $10,000 per year.

400-07048228 © frenta Model Release: No Property Release: No Puppets with piggy banks and coins. Isolated over white

You also need to establish a good credit record. Lenders want to see a record of your ability to pay your bills. As early as possible, get a credit card and put your name on phone and utility bills. Pay your bills and your rent in full and on time. Do not run up credit card lines of credit. The interest rates are exorbitant and the only one who benefits is your bank. Keep your credit card balances well below their credit limit.

Do a free credit check with Equifax and TransUnion once per year to learn your credit score and to see if there are any problems. They do make mistakes and sometimes put someone else’s problems on your report. Or you might think that the problem you had is all taken care of and you discover that the company you dealt with did not inform these credit places of the situation. I have done this more than once for myself and it can be a pain, but you are responsible for your own credit report and it’s good to know what info these companies have about you and if it needs updating.  These companies track all of your credit history, which includes student loans, car loans, credit cards and cell phone bills. Then they grade you based on your responsible usage and payments.

Budgeting is also essential and it is easier than ever with online apps. You need to know how you spend your money to discover where there is waste and opportunity for savings. The CMHC Household Budget Calculator or any other online budget calculator helps you take a realistic look at your current monthly expenses.

2. Make a realistic projectory of your future household income and lifestyle and understand its implications for choosing the right property for you.
Millennials are likely relatively new to the working world. Lenders want to see stability in employment and you generally need to show at least 2 years of steady income before you can be considered for a mortgage. This also applies if you have been working for a few years in one career and then decide to change careers to something completely different. Lenders want to see continuous employment in the same field. If you are self-employed, it is more challenging, and you need professional advice on taking the proper steps to qualify for a mortgage.

Assess the stability of your job and the likely trajectory of your income. Millennials will not follow in the footsteps of their parents, working for 1 employer for 40 to 50 years. In today’s world, no one has guaranteed job security. Take a realistic view of your future. Will your household income be rising? Will there be one income or two? Are there children in your future? Will you remain in the same city?
The answers to these questions help to determine how much space you need, the appropriate type of residence, its location and the best mortgage for you. Financial planning is key and it is dependent on your goals and expectations.

3. This is not a Do-It-Yourself project: build a team of trusted professionals to guide you along.
You need expert advice. The first person you should talk to is an accredited mortgage professional. There is no out-of-pocket cost for their services. Indeed, they will save you money. These people are trained financial planners and understand the ever-changing mortgage market. Take some time with them to understand the process before you jump in and find your head spinning with all the decisions you will ultimately have to make. They will give you a realistic idea of your borrowing potential. Before you fall in love with a house or condo, make sure you understand where you stand on the mortgage front. Mortgages are complex and one size does not fit all. You need an expert who will shop for the right mortgage for you. There are more than 200 mortgage lenders in Canada and they will compete for your business.

It is a very good idea to get a pre-approved mortgage amount before you start shopping (mandatory in my books). Just becuase you work with someone at a similar job, this doesn’t mean that you will qualify for the same amount of mortgage as your co-worker.  One of you might have more debt or more savings than the other, or issues with your credit report. Getting pre-approved is a more detailed process than just a rate hold (where a particular mortgage rate is guaranteed for a specified period of time). For a pre-approval, the lender will review all of your documentation except for the actual property. There is far more to the correct mortgage decision than the interest rate you will pay. While getting the lowest rate is usually the first thing on every buyer’s mind, it shouldn’t be the most important. Six out of ten buyers break a 5 year term mortgage by the third year, paying enormous penalties. These penalties vary between lenders. The fine print of your mortgage is key and that’s where an expert can save you money. How the penalty for breaking a mortgage is calculated is key and many lenders have significantly more consumer-friendly calculations than the major banks. A mortgage broker will help you find a mortgage with good prepayment privileges.

The next step is to engage a great real estate agent.           pauline-yellow-jacket-2-relkey-7092rev-2x3-300dpi hint hint

The seller pays the fee and a qualified realtor with good references will understand the housing market in your location. Make sure the property has lasting value. Once you find the right home, you will need a real estate lawyer, a home inspector, an insurance agent and possibly an appraiser. Make any offer conditional on a home inspection and financing, among other conditions that your realtor will help you with.

4. Down payments, closing costs, moving expenses and basic upgrades need to be understood to avoid nasty surprises.
The size of your down payment is key and, obviously, the bigger the better. You need a minimum of 5% of the purchase price and anything less than 20% will require you to pay a hefty CMHC mortgage loan insurance premium, which is frequently added to the mortgage principal and amortized over the life of the mortgage as part of the monthly payment. Your lender will want to know the source of your down payment. Many Millennials will depend on their parents to top up their down payment. The down payment, however, is only part of the upfront cost. You can expect to pay from 1.5 to 4% of the purchase price of your home in closing costs. These costs include legal fees, appraisals, property transfer tax, GST on new properties, home and title insurance, mortgage life insurance and prepaid property tax and utility adjustments. These can amount to thousands of dollars. Don’t forget moving costs and essential upgrades to the property such as draperies or blinds in the bedroom.

5. Test drive your monthly housing payments to learn how much you can truly afford.
Affordability is not about how much credit you can qualify for, but how much you can reasonably tolerate given your current and future income, stability, lifestyle and budget. Most Millennials underestimate what it costs to run a home, be it a condo or single-family residence.

The formal qualification guidelines used by lenders are two-fold:
1) your housing costs must be no more than 32% of your gross (pre-tax) household income; and,
2) your housing costs plus all other debt servicing must be no more than 40% of your gross income. Lenders define housing costs as mortgage payments, property taxes, condo fees (if any) and heating costs.
3) But homes cost more than that. In your planning, you should also other utilities (such as energy, power and water), ongoing maintenance, home insurance and unexpected repairs. Taking all of these costs into consideration, the 32% and 40% guidelines might well put an unacceptable crimp in your lifestyle, keeping in mind that future children also add meaningfully to household expenses and 2 incomes can unexpectedly turn into 1.
The best way to know what you can afford is to try it out. Say, for example, you qualify for a mortgage payment of $1400 per month and adding property taxes and condo fees might take your monthly housing expense to $1650. A far cry from the $500 you pay now to split a place with 3 roommates. Start making the full payment before you buy to your savings account and see how it feels. Do you have enough money left over to maintain a tolerable lifestyle without going further into debt?  Yes it might be a bit tight, but if you really want to be a home owner, you will make some sacrifices for that goal.  Keep in mind that this is not a normal interest rate environment. Don’t over-extend because there is a good chance interest rates will be higher when your term is up. Do the math (or better yet have your broker do it for you) on what a doubling of interest rates 5 years from now would do to your monthly payment. A doubling of rates may be unlikely, but it makes sense to know the implication.

Do Your Calculations Look Discouraging?
If so, here are some things you can do to improve your situation:
Pay off some loans before you buy real estate.
Save for a larger down payment.
Take another look at your current household budget to see where you can spend less. The money you save can go towards a larger down payment.
Lower your home price — remember that your first home is not necessarily your dream home.

Footnotes:
People break mortgages because of:
– job change,
– decision to upsize or downsize,
– decision to change neighbourhoods,
– change in family status (marriage/divorce)
– to refinance.
The last thing you want to discover is that discharging a $400,000 mortgage and only being 3 years into a 5 year term is going to cost you $15,000.

Lenders now also assess you on a 5 year term, presently at 4.64% even though you might be getting a lower interest rate on your mortgage.

Thanks to many mortgage professionals of Dominion Lending Centres who contributed to this report.

Regina’s Apartment Vacancies Up but Rental Condo Market Down

Tue, 29 Nov by Pauline Relkey

In today’s Nov 29, 2016 Leader Post, it said 5.5% is our apartment vacancy rate which is considered high, but the rental condo vacancy has fallen sharply to 1% over the past year. This is according to CMHC.  The national average rental vacancy rate in major centres across Canada is at 3.4%.

Causes – weaker labour market conditions and lower migration.

A total of 2300 jobs within the typical renter age group of 15 to 24 years were lost in Sept 2016.

Renters are supposedly buying places instead of renting because of low interest rates. Rental completions have risen substantially with rental apartment stock at 12,568 units in Oct 2016 up 389 units from Oct 2015.

The supply has increased faster than demand.

Average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment in Regina is about $1109.

Larger increases in the vacancy rate took place in Alberta and Sask due to the economic slowdown in these provinces. So this is good news for renters – lots of choices.

The complete article is here.

construction

New mortgage rules Oct 17, 2016

Tue, 04 Oct by Pauline Relkey

Buyers will have to qualify at a higher interest rate than what they might be getting with their new mortgage.

For  the complete article go to http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/ottawa-housing-tax-real-estate-1.3788725

interest rates

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