Tag Archives: discount

Tiny lenders chop rates to grab mortgage customers

Rates have dropped and that means better deals on mortgages. The big banks have dropped discount rates to an average of 2.79% on a 5 year mortgage.

Meanwhile the smaller lenders are hungry for more business so they’re cutting profits to compete on lower rates.

Mortgage Brokers are also taking cuts on commission to compete in the race to the lowest rate:

The rate war is even more intense among mortgage brokers, many of whom are shifting away from the traditional full-service model that saw brokers spending hours working with clients to select the best mortgage and earning hefty commissions. These days, more borrowers are turning to online and “self-service” brokerages that compete on volume, offering less personalized service and sacrificing some of the commissions they earn from lenders in order to discount rates even further.

Not everyone is a fan of the model. Some are worried that with interest rates already so low, brokers are having to dig deep into their commissions to offer meaningful discounts, a model that some brokers argue could threaten the industry as a whole.

“The majority of people don’t like what we’re doing and it’s a troublesome thing for us to digest because ultimately it’s the best for the consumer,” said Jeff Mark, co-founder of Spin Mortgage, an 18-month-old online brokerage that is advertising a five-year fixed rate at 2.49 per cent, well below the typical bank rate, by sacrificing some of its commissions. “We make less money per deal. I don’t know how that isn’t a good thing for the market.”

Read the full article here.

Ridiculous prices welcome ridiculous comparisons

Did you know you could buy nine mansions in France for the price of one boarded up Vancouver tear down?

Of course you might have to live in closer proximity to fresh baked croissants if you choose the French route, but at least one of them comes with 400 acres of land which should give you some buffer if you find that scent offensive.

PriceyPads ran this comparison and includes some beautiful pictures in their post.

Of course this is Vancouver so that’s an ‘asking price’, which may or may not bear some some relation to reality.

Just like craigslist rents, sometimes we get carried away with our asking prices.

You might remember the story of the extremely expensive listing in West Van with pictures of an imaginary house in the listing.

The asking price on that one was just south of $38 million.  That was the asking price.  The selling price was a bit less, well nearly $30 million less actually.

Crumbling real estate markets in BC

Ben Rabidoux over at The Economic Analyst has a post focusing on the falling markets in Vancouver and Victoria.

As VHB points out the last two years saw 2 & 3 days in February with daily sales under 100.  We’re now 5 sales days in and we’ve seen 3 sales days under 100.

Sales better pick up in the remaining 15 business days or the market is at risk of having a worse february that 2009, the worst year in recent memory.

We’re not hearing much about it in the local media, but the real estate market in Vancouver is seeing rising listings, sagging sales and dropping prices.

Over at Vancouver Peak 604x points out the lack of reasonable reporting on this topic in the local media and brings up the topic of conflict of interest.

He’s put together a form letter with contact info for the broadcast standards council.  Here’s an excerpt:

We all remember the false and misleading behaviour of the news media during the technology “bubble” of the late 1990s and early 2000s. In both the US and Canada many people lost substantial sums of money due to the cheerleading of certain media outlets. After the dust settled it was found that many of these media outlets and “economic correspondents” had conflicting interests – owning the stock of companies they were actively reporting on and actively pumping.

The same is happening today in Canada with news reporting of the current real estate market. Many reporters and news organizations, most notably Vancouver’s branch of Global TV (CTV network), are delivering hyped up media and false/misleading reports on the status of the real estate market in BC. I believe this is also true for CTV’s Toronto reporting. A defining characteristics of such coverage is (i) one-sided reporting (i.e. “prices are about to take off”), and (ii) interviews with real estate agents and staff of real estate companies who have a clear conflict of interest in the current market. The behaviour goes beyond sensationalist headlines designed to boost circulation and sell ads – these news correspondents appear to be actively pumping the market for personal gain.

Read the full post here.




Buy a house, get residency

Spain is the latest real estate bubble country to consider giving extra residency privileges to foreigners who buy property.

If they go ahead with this plan they would join Portugal, Hungary and Ireland.

Greece is also considering a similar measure.

The Spanish proposal is the cheapest so far, requiring only a $200k real estate purchase:

The Spanish government is considering offering residency to foreigners who buy property worth about $200,000 or more. With discounts as deep as 50% along the Mediterranean, a 1,100-square-foot three-bedroom beachfront apartment in Alicante goes for $130,000. Or how about a 1,200-square-foot four-bedroom with a view of Barcelona’s skyline for $175,000? A few miles inland, a two-bedroom house goes for $90,000.

The idea is to attract buyers for an estimated 700,000 empty homes scattered across Spain’s landscape, the remnants of the nation’s dramatic housing boom-and-bust. The offer is aimed at Chinese, Russians and Americans, who are usually limited to a three-month tourist visa in most parts of Europe.

Full article in the LA Times.

Time to cut our losses on Olympic Village?

The City of Vancouver still owes lots of money for the Olympic Village condo development.

They aren’t saying how much but it looks like it’s currently at least a couple hundred million.

Is it time to cut our losses?

Developer Michael Geller thinks so. In this Province article he says it’s time to cut the prices and get out while we can.

As Vancouver’s real estate market cools, losses on the troubled Olympic Village development could soar above $225-million unless condo king Bob Rennie quickly drops prices on unsold units that have languished on the market for too long.

That’s the view of developer and architect Michael Geller, a former NPA council candidate, who suggests flawed pricing and weak marketing is turning the fiasco on False Creek from bad to worse.

Read the full article here.

What do you think? Does the city stand to lose more by holding out for ‘maximum price’ or by selling quickly at a discount?