It seems that more and more Canadians are self employed.
The self employed tend to have less steady income then full time employees and as a group it can be more difficult to get a mortgage or refinancing.
As a self-employed website developer who had recently restructured his business, Greg Schmidt knew that refinancing his mortgage wasn’t going to be a piece of cake.
“I had a little bit of a line of credit built up from shifting the focus of the business and my car lease had come up for being bought out, so I needed money to take care of that,” said Mr. Schmidt, a single 42-year-old who owns a home in Toronto that includes an apartment for income. “It turned out the best way to go was to do a new mortgage, increase the amount of the old one and take care of those costs.”
However, when he approached his bank, he was told “the numbers didn’t work for them.”
Read the full article in the Globe and Mail.
Now that the Canadian housing bubble appears to be running out of steam we’re starting to hear concerns that automated appraisals have helped push prices up higher than they ought to be.
This article in the globe and mail was linked in fridays free-for-all post, but is worth a closer look.
Automated appraisals save time and money but have such a big margin of error that they are practically worthless.
Now people involved in lending are starting to worry about the fall out of relying too much on an automated system:
Introduced in 1996 as a way for the CMHC, banks and other lenders to quickly and inexpensively determine how much money can be lent against a residential property, the database known as Emili is relied upon too heavily by lenders, the documents suggest.
Emili is an automated system that uses figures such as recent sales of nearby homes to gauge values, without sending an actual appraiser to the address. However, the potential margin of error in calculations may pose significant problems. For home buyers, or homeowners with home-equity lines of credit, an inaccurate valuation by the database could allow them to overpay or borrow much too heavily for the home, industry members argue.
For banks, it could mean the collateral they have against the mortgage is not worth as much as believed.
Ooops! But as a comforting side effect, it appears that appraisals that came in too high in a hot market did enable the CMHC to collect higher fees. Read the full article here.
Oneangryslav wrote this in the comments:
Crazy bull anecdote of the day (week?):
My brother lives in North Burnaby in the area bounded by Hastings and Parker, Willingdon and Gilmore. His neigbhour a couple of doors down (whom both he and I know as we played soccer on the same youth team) many years ago) tore down a nondescript bungalow and built himself a large house. Almost to the day of the one-year anniversary of the place having been completed this friend is sitting at home watching television early in the evening (this happened a couple of weeks ago), when he hears the doorbell ring. He opens it to find a gentleman standing there asking if the house was for sale. The friend asks sarcastically “do you see a for sale sign?” “No”, responds to (as it turns out) real estate agent. The real estate agent continues, “would you be willing to sell it, anyway?”
The friend thinks about it for a second and says “sure, the price is $1.3 million dollars” thinking that would scare the real estate agent away. Anyway, long story short, the real estate guy goes to his car to call someone, comes back and says “okay!” Now my brother thinks that his home is worth about a million dollars.
Crazy! I’m going to get in touch with our friend to find out more of the details.
Until renters can take out a mortgage to pay their rent they’re limited by income to how much they can pay. This is different than buying because mortgage rates and easy credit can change ‘affordability’ enabling people to take out larger loans and ‘afford’ higher prices.
Since rent tends to be more stable and directly related to the local income it puts a theoretical ‘floor’ on how far house prices can fall. As soon as it’s cheaper to buy than rent you should have investors who can do math buying up property.
Of course there are other complicating factors: psychology, ease of credit and liquidity.
Bloomberg has an interesting article looking at the situation in the USA after their housing bubble popped.
Many people who are technically homeowners are really renters. They put little if anything down. In many cases, the equity is negative when, for example, home-improvement loans piggybacked on first mortgages and brought total indebtedness to more than 100 percent of the house value. Many also planned to refinance their mortgages with cash-outs due to appreciation before their mortgage rates reset upward or, in some cases, even before they skipped enough monthly payments to be foreclosed.
It’s easy to be in a negative equity situation if you buy at the peak with very low down payment.
Of course it’s different in Canada right? The CMHC even introduced rules in 2008 eliminating zero down payment mortgages and now requires everyone to put down a huge 5% down payment..
So now we call it a ‘cash back mortgage’ and there are so so so many ways you can get a zero down mortgage in Canada today and be on your way to negative equity!