We Did It! #SuttonWildfireRelief

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Sutton REALTORS® across Canada came together to show our commitment to community and donated a total of $52,428 for the #SuttonWildfireRelief and the Canadian Red Cross.

We personally want to thank all the Sutton REALTORS® who joined in on the #SuttonWildfireRelief campaign in support of our Fort McMurray colleagues and neighbours. Fort McMurray residents are now gearing up for phase 1 of the re-entry plan, scheduled to start on June 1st.

Your donations have helped provide accommodations, food, water and supplies to the Fort McMurray evacuees. More than 80,000 Albertans were forced to leave their homes in the largest fire-related evacuation in the province’s history.

But the work doesn’t stop here… Beyond meeting the immediate needs of evacuees, your donation will help those affected by this disaster not only today, but also in the weeks, months and even years ahead as they work to rebuild their lives.

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CMHC Fees Increasing May 1st

2011_mastheadPrintEnFollowing the February 28th announcement by CMHC – Mortgage Loan Insurance premiums will be increasing as of May 1st.  Insuance premiums will affect all owners buying or refinancing who required insured financing. This includes owners of rental properties. Existing insured mortgages are not affected. CMHC estimates the average Canadian homebuyer requiring insured financing will see an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment.  Feel free to ask us more by leaving a comment at the bottom of the page, and read below for the official bulletin!

CMHC to Increase Mortgage Insurance Premiums

OTTAWA, February 28, 2014 — Following the annual review of its insurance products and capital requirements, CMHC will increase its mortgage loan insurance premiums for homeowner and 1 – 4 unit rental properties effective May 1, 2014.

The increase applies to mortgage loan insurance premiums for owner occupied, self-employed and 1-to-4 unit rental properties, including low-ratio refinance premiums. This does not apply to mortgages currently insured by CMHC.

CMHC’s capital management framework is consistent with international practices and Canadian guidelines for mortgage insurers. Increased capital targets are consistent with Canadian and international industry trends and makes the financial system more stable and resilient.

“The higher premiums reflect CMHC’s higher capital targets” said Steven Mennill, CMHC’s Vice-President, Insurance Operations. “CMHC’s capital holdings reduce Canadian taxpayers’ exposure to the housing market and contribute to the long term stability of the financial system.”

For the average Canadian homebuyer requiring CMHC insured financing, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment. This is not expected to have a material impact on the housing market.

Effective May 1st, CMHC Purchase (owner occupied 1 – 4 unit) mortgage insurance premiums will increase by approximately 15%, on average, for all loan-to-value ranges.

Loan-to-Value Ratio Standard Premium (Current) Standard Premium (Effective May 1st, 2014)
Up to and including 65% 0.50% 0.60%
Up to and including 75% 0.65% 0.75%
Up to and including 80% 1.00% 1.25%
Up to and including 85% 1.75% 1.80%
Up to and including 90% 2.00% 2.40%
Up to and including 95% 2.75% 3.15%
90.01% to 95% – Non-Traditional Down Payment 2.90% 3.35%

CMHC reviews its premiums on an annual basis and, going forward, plans to announce decisions on premiums in the first quarter of each year. The homeowner premium increase follows changes CMHC made to its portfolio insurance product earlier this year.

As Canada’s national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable, and affordable housing solutions that will continue to create vibrant and healthy communities and cities across the country.

For additional highlights please see attached backgrounder and key fact sheet.

Information on this release:

Charles Sauriol, Media Relations
613-748-2799
csauriol@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Follow CMHC on Twitter @CMHC_ca

Backgrounder

  • Mortgage loan insurance helps protect lenders against mortgage default and enables consumers to purchase homes with a minimum down payment of 5% with interest rates comparable to those with a 20% down payment. Mortgage loan insurance is typically required by lenders when homebuyers make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price.
  • CMHC mortgage loan insurance premium is calculated as a percentage of the loan based on the loan-to-value ratio. The premium can be paid in a single lump sum but more frequently is added to the mortgage principal and amortized over the life of the mortgage as part of regular mortgage payments.
  • CMHC reviews its premiums on an annual basis and has adjusted them several times since being commercialized in 1998. Adjustments have included both increases and decreases to the premiums.
  • CMHC’s new premium rates will be effective for new mortgage loan insurance requests submitted on or after May 1, 2014. The current mortgage loan insurance premiums will apply for applications submitted to CMHC prior to May 1, 2014, regardless of the closing date. As is normal practice, complete borrower and property details must be submitted to CMHC when requesting mortgage loan insurance.
  • The increase applies to mortgage loan insurance premiums for residential housing of 1-to-4 units. This includes owner occupied, self-employed and 1-to-4 unit rental properties, including low-ratio refinance premiums.
  • In 2013, the average CMHC insured loan at 95% loan-to-value was $248,000. Using these figures, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to the monthly mortgage payment for the average Canadian homebuyer. This is not expected to have a material impact on the housing market.
95% Loan-to-Value
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000
Current Premium $4,125 $6,875 $9,625 $12,375
New Premium $4,725 $7,875 $11,025 $14,175
Additional Premium $600 $1,000 $1,400 $1,800
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $3.00 $4.98 $6.99 $8.98

Based on a 5 year term @ 3.49% and a 25 year amortization

*Premiums in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are subject to provincial sales tax — the sales tax cannot be added to the loan amount.

85% Loan-to-Value
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000
Current Premium $2,625 $4,375 $6,125 $7,875
New Premium $2,700 $4,500 $6,300 $8,100
Additional Premium $75 $125 $175 $225
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $0.37 $0.62 $0.87 $1.12

Based on a 5 year term @ 3.49% and a 25 year amortization

*Premiums in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are subject to provincial sales tax — the sales tax cannot be added to the loan amount.

For more information visit http://www.cmhc.ca/en/hoficlincl/moloin/moloin_013.cfm

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Mortgage Rate wars may be coming our way

Mr. Oliver told reporters Thursday in Ottawa. “I listened to [BMO’s] explanation, his reasons. I reiterated what I’ve just stated — the government is gradually reducing its involvement in the mortgage market.”

bank_mortgage_rates_20140327

Reblogged from The Financial Post

TORONTO • Why did Bank of Montreal risk a (verbal) slap from Finance Minister Joe Oliver for daring to chop its five-year mortgage rate below 3%?

Because they knew the mortgage war is going to be different this time.

On previous occasions when the banks publicized rates below the government’s favoured minimum, they found themselves on the receiving end of angry calls from Mr. Oliver’s predecessor, Jim Flaherty, who resigned on March 18.

Mr. Oliver seems in no mood to quarrel with Bay Street and ready to largely leave the mortgage market to its own devices.

“There’s a market and the bank made its decision, and the chief executive officer of the Bank of Montreal informed me about it,” Mr. Oliver told reporters Thursday in Ottawa. “I listened to his explanation, his reasons. I reiterated what I’ve just stated — the government is gradually reducing its involvement in the mortgage market.”

Asked if the government would take further steps if a housing bubble formed, Mr. Oliver said: “I don’t have to get into a hypothetical negative.”

It’s a big change from Mr. Flaherty who didn’t jump on the banks every time they cut rates to new lows but certainly always let them know he was a coiled spring. He also didn’t mind opining on the “hypothetical negative” of what he viewed as overpriced housing in Toronto and Vancouver.

And, without Finance calling out the banks, there is a dearth of negative voices around this high-profile plunge below 3%.
Home loans are simply products that people buy, and when demand is strong the companies that produce those products — the banks — can charge higher prices, said Peter Routledge, an analyst at National Bank Financial. When demand falls off, prices move in the opposite direction.

“What [the rate cut] tells me is that household credit growth is slowing and BMO has reacted to slowing demand in the way one would expect,” Mr. Routledge said. “It’s textbook economics.”

In fact, other lenders are already providing even lower offers for five-year mortgages, though they’re mostly going about it more quietly.

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Joe Oliver, expected to be named Canada’s next finance minister

We’ve been following Jim Flaherty quite a bit here on theresashaw.ca as his monetary policy has had such a drastic effect on housing, affordability, real estate market, financing, mortgages and more in Canada. News yesterday of his resignation quite sudden for some, but somewhat expected by others. His replacement is expected to be Joe Oliver, read more about him below:

joe-oliver

Reblogged from National Post

Joe Oliver, the relatively new Toronto-area MP who has spent the past three years as Natural Resources Minister, is expected to be named Wednesday as the successor to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty

News broke of the appointment Tuesday night.

Mr. Oliver, 73, is a relative newcomer to the ranks of the Conservative caucus, having first been elected to his Eglinton-Lawrence riding in 2011.

Nevertheless, whereas Mr. Flaherty brought more than a decade of political skills to the post, Mr. Oliver boasts more than 40 years’ experience in the financial sector.

Originally from Montreal, Mr. Oliver obtained an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1970, and just before his 30th birthday had entered the investment sector with Merrill Lynch Canada.

The 1980s and 1990s saw him take up portfolios at Nesbitt Burns and First Marathon Securities Ltd., as well as serving as the executive director of the Ontario Securities Commission from 1991 to 1993.
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How Canadian Mortgage Rates Are Impacted by Continued U.S. Fed Tapering – Monday Interest Rate Update (February 3, 2014)

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The U.S. Federal Reserve continued to taper its quantitative easing (QE) programs last week, announcing on Wednesday that it would reduce them from $75 billion/month to $65 billion/month.

This matters to Canadian mortgage borrowers for several reasons:

  • U.S. and Canadian monetary policies are tightly linked, making it highly unlikely that the Bank of Canada (BoC) will raise its overnight rate at least until the U.S. Fed hikes its equivalent Federal funds rate. Since the U.S. Fed has repeatedly said that it will not even consider raising the Fed funds rate until it has completely unwound its QE programs, the timing of this withdrawal acts as a kind of distant-early-warning system for Canadian variable-rate borrowers.

Reblogged from MoveSmartly.com | Dave Larock

  • The U.S. Fed taper is expected to strengthen the U.S. dollar and if the Loonie continues to depreciate against the Greenback, this will provide additional stimulus for our economy, particularly for our export-based manufacturers (which I wrote about last week).
  • The taper’s impact on our economy goes beyond monetary policy and exchange rates. For example, if QE is allowed to continue for too long it could fuel higher-than-expected U.S. inflation, which we would inevitably import over time. This would force the BoC to raise its overnight rate in response. Alternatively, if the withdrawal of QE pushes U.S. bond yields up, Government of Canada (GoC) bond yields, which move in lock step with their U.S. counterparts, would move higher and trigger a rise in our fixed-mortgage rates.

Here are the highlights from the Fed’s press release that included the most recent tapering announcement:

  • The Fed acknowledged the weak December U.S. employment data but expressed confidence in the broader U.S. labour market recovery, saying that “labor market indicators were mixed but on balance showed further improvement.” This implies that the Fed saw the most recent employment data as an anomaly that was impacted largely by seasonal factors, although a poor January jobs report could quickly alter that view.
  • The Fed made it clear that it will respond flexibly to changes in the U.S. economic outlook, saying that “asset purchases are not on a preset course, and the Committee’s decisions about their pace will remain contingent on the Committee’s outlook for the labor market and inflation as well as its assessment of the likely efficacy and costs of such purchases.” That means that we should continue to expect bond-yield volatility as markets react to each new economic data release and try to interpret how it will affect the Fed’s QE tapering timetable.
  • “The Committee today reaffirmed its view that a highly accommodative stance of monetary policy will remain appropriate for a considerable time after the asset purchase program ends and the economic recovery strengthens.” Variable-rate borrowers take note: the Fed is reiterating that it will not raise its fed funds rate until well after QE has been completely unwound, and this bolsters my view that your rates shouldn’t be going up for some time yet.
  • “The Committee recognizes that inflation persistently below its 2 percent objective could pose risks to economic performance, and it is monitoring inflation developments carefully for evidence that inflation will move back toward its objective over the medium term.” In other words, Fed policy is still being guided by fears over deflation, which it mitigates with loose monetary policy, as opposed to concerns about higher inflation, which it mitigates with tighter monetary policy.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) vote to continue tapering was unanimous for the first time since June 2011. Some thought that had more to do with giving Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke a proper send off at his last Fed meeting, as opposed to there being real convergence of FOMC committee member viewpoints. We should get a better idea of where the FOMC’s four newly minted voting stand at the next Fed meeting on March 18.

Now that the Fed has followed through with its second round of tapering, the consensus is that it will continue ratcheting down its QE programs until they are completely unwound by the end of this year. Here are a few reasons why I think that timetable is optimistic:

  • In a recent article, economist and market analyst Greg Weldon estimated that the U.S. treasury will have to issue $500 billion in new debt to cover the U.S. federal government’s budget deficit for this year, to say nothing of the nearly $3 trillion in maturing U.S. government debt that will have to be rolled over in 2014. Today, the Fed buys almost all of the newly issued U.S. treasury debt so when it withdraws (tapers) its support for U.S. bonds, who will become the marginal buyer of new U.S. debt at anything close to today’s low yields? If U.S. bond yields move higher, as I think they inevitably will if the Fed continues to withdraw its support, will the Fed hold firm or will it then choose to reassess “the efficacy and costs of such purchases”?

Forget house prices and debt, deflation is Canada’s new bogeyman

“After spending two years watching house prices and household debt measures, investors may spend 2014 focused on inflation reports when making bets on the Bank of Canada’s interest rate outlook.”

cashregister

Reblogged from Bloomberg News

The slow pace of consumer price inflation surprised policy makers in 2013, reviving rate-cut bets and prompting the central bank to abandon its bias to raise borrowing costs. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said in an interview last month he can’t explain the weak inflation, which is now almost a percentage point below where the bank forecast it would be at the start of last year.

“A lot of people are starting to position for CPI releases,” Mazen Issa, senior macro strategist at Toronto-Dominion Bank’s TD Securities unit in Toronto, said in a telephone interview. “Inflation is going to be one of the major stories for Canada” this year.

Statistics Canada reported Dec. 20 that annual inflation in November was 0.9%, unexpectedly staying below the central bank’s 1% to 3% target band. The difference between Canadian and U.S. two-year yields narrowed by 4.22 basis points, the largest one-day reaction to Canadian CPI data since September 2011, when inflation was above the target band.

Inflation below 1% gives the Bank of Canada “plenty of reason to be dovish,” said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Bank of Nova Scotia in Toronto. The Dec. 20 report was “a disappointment because the market thought we would go back into to that 1 to 3%” target band.

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Three reasons why the Bank of Canada is not trying to drive down the loonie

“The Bank of Canada’s most recent policy meeting this month revealed a growing dovish streak, raising questions about whether the bank is actively trying to drive down the loonie.”

Stephen Poloz

Reblogged from John Shmuel

It’s a policy approach that would make sense, considering the strength of the loonie has hurt Canadian exports in the past few years. The strategy of “talking down” a currency has been used to relatively successful effect in countries such as Australia and Norway.

But Charles St-Arnaud, Canada economist for investment bank Nomura, doubts the Bank of Canada is currently attempting something similar.

“While a weaker CAD would be welcomed by the Bank of Canada… we find that using the properties from the BoC’s projection model the size of the depreciation needed to compensate the loss in competitiveness and to bring back inflation to target would require a depreciation of CAD of between 25% and 30%,” he said. “A depreciation of the currency of this magnitude would be almost impossible to attain only through monetary policy and requires significantly lower commodity prices.”

Essentially, the loonie would need to become much weaker than it currently is for Canada to see any economic benefit. Driving it down by such a large margin would be extremely difficult and, even if it could be done, would create a whole host of other problems.

Mr. St-Arnaud points out others have argued the bank could create smaller benefits for the Canadian economy without going to such great lengths, but he counters those, too. Below, he lists three main arguments he’s heard for why the Bank of Canada is actively working to lower the loonie, and why he thinks they’re wrong.

1. Because he joined from EDC, Gov Poloz wants a weaker CAD: Interestingly, since Gov. Poloz took over the helm of the Bank of Canada, none of the policy decision communiqués have made reference to the currency and the reference to the strong Canadian has disappeared from Monetary Policy Reports. Furthermore, all is comment have pointed to the need for a flexible exchange rate that is determined by the market. Ultimately, we believe that the most important comments made by Governor Poloz since taking the helm of the BoC has been during his first public appearance when he said that ’the inflation target is sacrosanct’.

2. A strong CAD is the reason for the weakness in exports: Recent publications by the BoC suggests that the weakness in exports comes mainly from ongoing competitiveness challenges over the past decade that have been exacerbated by the appreciation of CAD over the period. While it is tempting to conclude that a weaker currency would solve the problem, the BoC also showed that the appreciation was driven by fundamentals and CAD is currently around fairvalue and, hence, hard to reverse. Moreover, while a weaker CAD would push exports higher, simulations from the BoC’s projection model suggests the magnitude of the FX move needed to push growth significantly above potential and close the output gap more rapidly is also big.

3. A weaker CAD would help bring inflation to target: Recent Bank of Canada research papers have shown that the pass-through from a weaker exchange rate to inflation has diminished over the past few decades. Moreover, simulation from the BoC projection model suggest that the impact of a CAD depreciation on inflation is also weak and would require a large depreciation to bring back inflation to target.

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Flaherty regrets massive growth of CMHC, vows mortgage action if needed

“Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Friday he regrets that Canada’s housing agency has grown as large as it has and promised to take additional measures if a reduction in the amount of government insurance on mortgages is needed.

The value of home loans insured by Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp., which is backed by the federal government, has almost doubled since the end of 2006, saddling taxpayers with a growing liability as policy makers warn that gains in house prices may be unsustainable.”

jim-flaherty

Reblogged from Bloomberg News

“Regrettably, CMHC became something rather more grand I think than it was intended to be,” Flaherty told reporters today in Markham, Ontario, near Toronto. “We’ll see over time what that role should be.”

CMHC, set up in 1946 to address a post-war housing shortage, had assets of $289 billion as of Sept. 30, which would make it the nation’s sixth-largest bank.

The Finance Department and financial regulators have taken steps over the past four years to curb mortgage lending. Most recently, CMHC announced Nov. 29 that the agency would be paying a “risk fee” of 3.25% to the federal government on the insurance it writes, starting Jan. 1.

While measures introduced last year by regulators and Flaherty slowed the market temporarily, home sales and values rebounded as the year progressed. The average sales price of a home sold in the country this year is up 4.6%, according to Nov. 15 Canadian Real Estate Association data.

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Inflation is almost non-existent, no matter what consumers think

“Inflation — like the data shows and the Bank of Canada keeps reminding us — is nowhere close to being a problem that would require jacking up interest rates. That’s not likely to happen for another year at the earliest — not until the Canadian economy is chugging steadily along and inflation is holding around the central bank’s ideal 2% target.”

retail_sales

Reblogged from Financial Post, Gordon Isfeld

OTTAWA — We’ve seen a long string of mild monthly inflation reports from Statistics Canada for the past year or more, and the likelihood is there will be more of the same in 2014 and beyond.

Sure, food and gasoline costs can jump back and forth, and alcohol and tobacco prices are consistently near the top of the leader board. But the reality is that Canadian consumers shouldn’t have too much to complain about, inflation-wise, at the moment.

But still they do.

Perceptions can be skewed by big-ticket items, like houses and the appliances needed to fill them. A look at the cost of daily or weekly needs provides a different picture, one of mostly weak increases and equally narrow growth declines.

Inflation — like the data shows and the Bank of Canada keeps reminding us — is nowhere close to being a problem that would require jacking up interest rates. That’s not likely to happen for another year at the earliest — not until the Canadian economy is chugging steadily along and inflation is holding around the central bank’s ideal 2% target.

For now, the consumer price index is struggling to stay around the 1% mark.

fp1123_canada_cpi_c_ab

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BoC chief Stephen Poloz says Canadian housing market not a bubble, predicts soft landing

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said he believes the most likely scenario is a soft landing where home prices stabilize, although he acknowledged that an imbalance in the market and high household debt remain key risks.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said he believes the most likely scenario is a soft landing where home prices stabilize, although he acknowledged that an imbalance in the market and high household debt remain key risks.

Reblogged from Canadian press, Julian Beltrame

OTTAWA — Canada’s housing market is not in a bubble and not likely to suffer a sudden and sharp correction in prices unless there is another major global shock to the economy, Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz said this week.

The central banker, testifying before the Senate banking committee on his latest economic outlook Wednesday, said he believes the most likely scenario is a soft landing where home prices stabilize, although he acknowledged that an imbalance in the market and high household debt remain key risks.

Poloz used the testimony to pointedly disagree with a couple of forecasting organizations that weighed in this week on the Canadian situation — the Fitch Rating service that judged Canada’s housing market as 21% overpriced, and an OECD recommendation that he start raising interest rates in a year’s time.

“Our judgment is (the housing market) is a situation that is improving, this is not a bubble that exists here that would have to be corrected,” he said. “If there is a disturbance from outside our country that’s another analysis.”

Poloz said most of the fundamentals surrounding the housing market appear headed in the right direction. The prospects for the economy is improving, he noted, which should create more jobs.

As well, he said banks are now demanding higher credit scores from new borrowers and added that he does not believe there has been serious overbuilding in the housing market.

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