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”:
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!
2018 has started off to a solid start compared to the 2 previous years in Regina. (Personally I am saying not much of a change).
143 sales in Regina compared to 139 in 2017 = 2.8%.
The Home Price Index reported a price of $279,400 down from $293,600 one year ago. The downward direction on prices is because of the over supply of properties and it’s pushing sellers to keep reducing their asking prices.
We have 1,133 active residential listings on the market at the end of January, over 20% increase from 2017.
The ratio of sales to new listings for the month was 30% (meaning only 30% of listings sold). Still a buyer’s market. Condos make up almost 30% of the listings which is high.
Click here for the full report.
Today’s Leader Post had an article about our latest real estate stats.
Our Association of Regina Realtors showed that at the end of July there were 1,512 residential properties for sale compared to 1,263 properties in July 2016. 30% of these listings are condos which is high.
Sask Trends Monitor says that this pattern of slightly fewer homes trading hands at slightly higher prices has been going on for several years now. We are at a maturing or leveling out of our housing market since the boom that happened in the mid-2000’s.
I personally have encountered quite a few price drops in the last 5 years so, as always, take this article, as the old saying goes, with a grain of salt.
For the full article, click here
Have you ever wondered what steps you need to take selling your home? There are a few things to consider. The spring and summer time are a very busy time for real estate agents. Therefore it is important to make sure that you get your home in the best condition. This will help attract maximum interest and hopefully sell your home faster. Here are some basic tips for you.
Clean It Out
Go through your entire house and make an assessment. People are very attracted to a tidy and organized house. The first step is to remove the things that clutter your home and the things you don’t want to keep in your next move. Choose a designated place to put this stuff away, and go through the rest of your house. The change in weather from winter to summer means that you can put away all your heavy outerwear. You’ll be happy to have less to pack on moving day and your house will be more appealing to potential buyers. A garage sale or for the more techy people, Varagesale, is also a great way to get rid of some things that you may not need or want anymore.
Fix Things Up
Determine what house maintenance you need before you sell. Repairs may be needed to pass a home inspection. It is better to take care of these issues right away! This will make it easier when you are ready to sell and will improve your sales opportunities. Simple repairs are also worth the effort that they take. Painting shutters, replacing the broken banister rail and patching up the walls will provide a return. This helps with creating the right impression on the first visit.
Think like a Potential Buyer
This is a hard step because we love our homes and generally assume others will like them as much as us. Accept that potential buyers have different tastes. You may also consider hiring a house staging professional who can objectively determine what needs to change from a design perspective. Consider basic staging techniques such as removing clutter as mentioned above. It is also beneficial to put away personal items like photos and trophies as well as cleaning your house thoroughly. It is also important that your house smells good to eliminate pet and food odors. Make the entrance to your home attractive and add character to your backyard to make it more appealing. Buyers pay attention to these things!
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.
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 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.
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.
Take note of the First Home Plan that provides an interest-free, repayable loan of up to $10,000 for you to use towards a down payment on your first home.
If you live in (or will be moving to) Saskatchewan, have Graduate Retention Program tax credits available and are going to buy a single family house, duplex, townhouse, mobile or condo unit for your primary residence in Sask, then you are possibly eligible.
For more info, go to Sask Housing Corp. Click here.