Category Archives: economy

Mortgage brokers stuck in the middle

Mortgage brokers make their money by getting people mortgages. In a softening market this can present a challenge.

FICOM is the agency that regulates mortgage brokers and they are issuing a warning:

Brokers should not overleverage their clients; this may be done by fudging applications – overstating the income of a borrower to obtain a bigger loan (and hence a bigger commission), said Carter, who also warned brokers of working with unregistered fixers.

Carter told brokers in Vancouver that the days of “how to get to yes” are over with new market uncertainty, and slumping sales and prices. Now, brokers need to be extra vigilant and learn “when to say no.”

He said Canadians could be in for a rude awakening if real estate prices fall and they’re still saddled with big mortgages and even loans against their equity, suggested Carter. And the brokers who brought loans to those homebuyers will face extra scrutiny, he said, which is why he’s calling on the industry to ease back the throttle on new mortgages that may be contrary to the best interests of the public.

Read the full article here.

Vancouver condo prices go negative

Sales down, inventory up and prices are down for condos in the greater Vancouver area :

The price of a condo in Greater Vancouver is coming down. REBGV reported a benchmark price of $658,600 in January, down 0.8% from the month before. This represents a 1.7% decline compared to the same month last year. In the City proper, condo apartments in Vancouver East fell to $530,500, down 3.9% from last year. In Vancouver West prices fell to $783,400, down 3.6% from last year. Prices are falling, but they still have a long way to go for typical incomes.

Read the full article here.

Liberals could help millennials buy homes

Real estate sales are good for the economy, but what happens when prices get too high for young family incomes and borrowing costs increase?

Perhaps it’s time for the Government to step in?

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said earlier this week Ottawa is exploring measures to make home ownership affordable for more millennials, a generation made up of people who are now in their mid-20s to late-30s.

Morneau didn’t elaborate on what options he’s considering, but Canadians could learn more in the coming weeks when he releases an election-year budget that will also lay out Liberal platform commitments.

Major political parties have already started positioning themselves on the complex area of housing affordability. It will likely emerge as an important campaign issue ahead of October’s federal election, and the challenges of millennials and first-time buyers could attract a lot of attention.

Some lenders have ideas for some helpful changes:

“There’s a lot of folks that just don’t qualify to purchase anymore at the bottom end of that ladder,” said Paul Taylor, president and CEO of Mortgage Professionals Canada.

Taylor said the stress tests have succeeded in taking some of the froth out of the market and he believes the time has come for Ottawa to loosen them. In recent meetings with federal officials, he said he has recommended the reintroduction of insurance on 30-year amortization mortgages as a targeted way to help people at the lower end.

The coming weeks would be a good time for some changes with the busy spring season is approaching, he said.

“If we have another cool spring market, that’s going to have serious knock-on effects to the economy,” said Taylor, who was encouraged by Morneau’s comments.

Read the full article here.