Monday, January 4, 2010

very important



I try very hard not to be a pest and send out a bunch of useless info in emails but this is pretty important. If you or anyone you know is thinking Real Estate (buying or selling) you may want to have a look at this:


(To sum it up do what you need to do ((buy or sell)) before July if possible...HST will kick in in July and this will mean buyers will be hard to find as it could cost them more to purchase a home. Also by mid year we'll either see much higher interest rates (5.5% +) OR shorter amortizations and 10% down payment requirements. All of these things will make buying a lot more expensive and selling a lot more difficult...if you are thinking of waiting DON'T!)


Feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions or if you want to discuss buying or selling before these changes come into effect.


Please read the article below:


Days of low-interest borrowing may soon end in Canada



    By Mark Bourrie

    OTTAWA, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Canada's economic leaders are worried that low interest rates are luring consumers into amassing huge amounts of debt that they may not be able to pay back when interest rates rise from their historic low levels.

    Canada's central bank lending rate is 0.25 percent. Mortgage rates are about 4.5 percent, while five-year consumer loan rates for items such as automobiles are about 8 percent.

    Recently, Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and the governor of the country's central bank, Mark Carney, have sent warning signals that the days of low-interest borrowing may soon end.

    Their statements show that the Canadian government is afraid that Canadians will default on the loans that are used to buy homes. About 70 percent of Canadian families own their houses, and real estate makes up the bulk of the assets of typical Canadian families.

    Besides, Canadians, especially those who have not saved for their retirement or do not have a workplace pension, see home ownership as a way of locking away money until their retirement, using the money from their house sales to top up their small government pensions.

    Still, most Canadians must borrow the bulk of the money they use for home purchases. Most are content to assume this large debt if the cost of the monthly payments is comparable to rent charges, and if house prices continue to rise.

    In the past decade, the government has allowed the term of mortgages to be extended from a maximum of 25 years to 35 years, and has permitted its home loan insurance agency, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, to sell insurance on loans with a down payment of only a 5-percent.

    The system has worked to stimulate house construction, but analysts worry that it has created a speculative bubble that may burst, allowing house prices to settle back to a level that will leave many families owing more than their homes are worth. If that happens, the national government, already running a massive annual deficit, would be stuck with the loans of Canadians who defaulted.

    Last year, Canadian resale house prices rose by more than six times the rate of inflation. Interest rates have also been kept low to stimulate borrowing for capital investment.

    However, the rates will probably have to rise if Canada's national government, its provinces and cities hope to sell bonds in a market already flooded with U.S. government debt.

    In an interview broadcast this week on the country's largest private television network, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty warned Canadian families that the days of easy home ownership debt may becoming to an end.


"If we see further evidence that there is excessive demand in the housing market or that there's an indication that people are taking on obligations that they will not be able to handle in the future when interest rates rise, then we will take some action," Flaherty said on CTV television.

    "The likely action we will take is to increase the size of the down payment from 5 percent to a higher number, reduce the amortization -- bring it down from 35 years to something less," he said.

    Canadian families traditionally saw home ownership as a sign of financial security. Prices have rarely fallen in the past century. When they have, the values quickly recovered. Last year, house prices rose an average of about 20 percent, while the official inflation rate is less than 3 percent.

    The average Canadians have increased their personal debt by more than 1,000 Canadian dollars (about 955 U.S. dollars) in the first half of 2009, driving up the nation's personal debt by 44 billion Canadian dollars (42 U.S. dollars).

    However, Canadians gamble on interest rates. In the early 1960s,a time of low inflation, interest rates were comparable to today's. In the fall of 1981, with inflation near 15 percent, mortgage rates reached 20 percent.

    On a 300,000 Canadian dollars (287,000 U.S. dollars) debt, which is not unusual in a major urban market, a 20 percent interest payment would amount to more than a typical Canadian family earns, after taxes, in a year. Even a 12 percent rate, which was typical of the 1980s, would generate a monthly payment of more than 3,000 Canadian dollars (2,865 U.S. dollars).

    On top of those charges, Canadians must pay property taxes and most mortgage companies require the house to be insured for its full value.

    Flaherty said recent price increases for homes in Canada are due to a "confluence" of factors including low interest rates, an improving economic outlook and a stabilizing job market.

    On Dec. 10, Mark Carney, the governor of Canada's central bank, warned that Canadian families were becoming more vulnerable to interest rate fluctuations because they have added debt this year while other countries such as the United States and Britain have seen reductions in personal debt-to-income ratios. The bank echoed the warnings of several non-government economists who warn that the Canadian rush to indebtedness is unsustainable.

    In the Bank of Canada's semi-annual report, Carney wrote: "Households need to assess their ability to service these debt obligations over their entire maturity, taking into account likely changes in both income and interest rates.

    "Financial institutions need to carefully consider the aggregate risk to their entire portfolio of household exposures when evaluating even an insured mortgage, since a household defaulting on an insured mortgage would likely be unable to meet its other debt obligations."

    Carney warned that the risk to Canadian banks is relatively low, but up to 10 percent of households would face serious problems meeting their house payments if interest rates rise.

    However, Benjamin Tal, an economist with the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, a major mortgage lender, said Canadians find ways of hanging onto their houses when interest rates fluctuate, and tend to default only when they have lost their jobs.

    Still, Tal said, "It is time for both borrowers and lenders to exercise prudence in continuing to build up household debt loads to the point where they are overly reliant on today's low rates."



PS. Your referrals to friends and family are always greatly appreciated and rewarded.

Trever Florko, REALTOR®
Century 21 Assurance Realty (Kelowna)
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