Name: Guest Post

Email: info@canadianmortgagetrends.com


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By Dustan Woodhouse, Special to CMT


Those who know me know I am not a huge sports guy. In fact, I tend to choose late nights in the office over hockey games, and afternoons writing rather than watching football or baseball. Nonetheless, here comes a sports analogy.

Specifically, baseball.

Are you beating yourself up over that file you lost today, the one(s) you lost last week, last month? Still got a name in your head of a file that you lost last year? Or in 2008?

Here are some numbers to help you get over it.

This year my assistant and I have worked ~330 files; 110 of them did not complete in the end. These are not simply applications taken, these are files that went live. The pitcher threw the ball at us.

We struck out due to appraised values, home inspections, income documents, lender guideline changes, etc.

Brokering, as with baseball, is (to some) a slow and tedious process with intermittent bursts of action. Neither baseball nor brokering moves at the pace of basketball, a sport with day-trader-like action. Although, I think many of us wish that some lenders were on a shot clock, and some clients as well. “Approve the file,” “Send me the void Cheque,” “Shoot the ball!”

Of course, brokers have their own shot clocks: subject removal dates and completion dates. But let’s stick to one analogy at a time.

Perhaps the most appropriate baseball comparison is with “big-hitters.” In baseball, the superstars are the ones that actually miss 70% of the time — i.e., a batting average of .300. They get told “no” by the pitcher 7 out of 10 times, yet they keep coming back. And if they get a yes 2 in 10 times, they hang in there; 3 in 10 times, they are considered top of their game; 4 out of 10, well, that’s as near to perfection as one gets.

Context is everything, isn’t it?

Our average this year has been .666. But whether your own average is .200, .500, .700, making a connection X out of 10 times is not the special part. Not at all.

Continuing to come back to the plate time after time, year after year, in front of a huge audience (your clients, referral sources, co-workers, friends and family), knowing that you are going to get shut down 7 out of 10 times — that is a special skill!

The only way you learn to connect with the ball is practice, lots and lots of practice. And even then…five phone calls to the client later, what do you have? Maybe one live file? And of the next 10 applications, maybe half get to “File Complete”?

If so, that’s nothing to get discouraged about when your game is brokering. As they do in the batter’s box, you simply dust yourself off, spit on your hands (optional) and take another swing.


Dustan-Woodhouse

A CMP Top 75 Broker for five years running, Dustan Woodhouse of Dominion Lending Centres is author of the book: Be The Better Broker – Volume One. Dustan can be reached at dustan@ourmortgageexpert.com

 

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By Michael Beckette, Special to CMT


Every year or so comes the promise of a new mortgage broker network. They’re launched by successful entrepreneurial brokers who band together to increase revenues, share resources and develop technology—all worthy objectives that deserve our attention and support.

Innovation is their promise, and that’s important because innovation is inspiration that can breathe new life into virtually any industry. In Canada’s mortgage industry, innovation is not a new concept. As industry stakeholders, we’re keenly aware that resources must be developed to help entrepreneurial mortgage professionals build businesses with enduring value, not simply transactional businesses.

We know the importance of tools that allow a sole proprietor, a team of brokers, or a small company to compete head-to-head with the largest institutions. I’m referring to resources that generate sales opportunities, facilitate smoother transactions and improve communication with past customers. These aren’t “nice to haves.” They are absolute requirements for any durable business.

In the mortgage world we know the significance of simple, efficient and transparent administrative systems that make it easy to meet provincial compliance requirements, as well as the personal requirement of getting paid quickly.

Michael Beckette CEO of Mortgage AllianceIndustry leaders understand all of this. And we also know that our “co-petitors,” those enormous businesses that fund the majority of Canada’s mortgages, invest many times that of the broker industry on technology. That is why I believe we as mortgage professionals now face a choice, and that choice is simple. We can divide into more and more companies and approach technology from a multitude of less-capitalized directions. Or we can pool resources and emulate the multi-million-dollar processes, systems and technology upon which our tremendously successful co-petitors are built.

In fact, broker networks in Canada already have many such systems in place. Take CRM software as one key example. After embarking on lengthy technology projects, many in our business have come to realize that there is no need to reinvent the wheel. The Holy Grail of integrated CRM technology exists already, often right underneath their feet.

Canada’s broker industry boasts powerful specialized CRM technology, and it’s available even to independent brokers. I’m referring to systems that track multiple mortgage applications, securely store documents, process payroll with direct deposits and are fully integrated with D+H Expert, Equifax, CMHC and other service providers. Brokerage companies that represent billions in annual mortgage production already use such technology to run their operations today.

In a market that’s as hypercompetitive as mortgages, cutting-edge mortgage professionals will be increasingly drawn to respected brands with a strong technology-oriented culture, and rightly so. Seth Godin refers to such like-minded professionals as a tribe, which he defines as, “A group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.”

A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate. If you are a technology-oriented mortgage professional who seeks a successful tech-driven “tribe,” choose one that has a concrete vision for the future aligned with your own. But more importantly, choose one with the resources, leadership and the innovation track record to execute it.

If we as an industry really want to stay one step ahead of the mega-FIs, we’ll likely fair best by working closer together, not further apart. Perhaps the greatest use of our industry’s precious resources is to continue developing and building off of resources that already exist.


Michael Beckette is the CEO of Mortgage Alliance and Partner in the MAC/MPH Group, which owns Mortgage Alliance, Mortgage Alliance Franchising Inc., Multi-Prets Hypotheques, Meridian Financial Services and MortgageBOSS Technologies. Together, these firms support over 2,500 mortgage professionals in all provinces. Michael can be reached at mbeckette@macmph.ca

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Magenta_stated income3By Magenta Mortgage Investment Corporation, Sponsored Post

Self-employment has been trending upwards in Canada in recent years. In its 2015 Spring Survey, CAAMP estimated that five per cent of home buyers worked for themselves.

And it’s no wonder that the ranks of self-employed workers are growing. Apart from involuntary reasons like job dislocation, many choose self-employment for the lifestyle benefits, like making your own schedule, being able to work from home and deducting day-to-day expenses such as fuel, utilities, telecommunication and networking costs. That last point is a big one. It can be highly advantageous to earn, say, $100k per year, and then whittle it down with legitimate write-offs in order to achieve a much lower tax bracket.

The often-misconstrued disadvantage of being self-employed, however, is the challenge of getting a mortgage. After all, a key to borrowing is the ability to repay, which is linked to one’s earnings, usually provable earnings.

Fortunately there are programs in place from various mortgage lenders that can accommodate the unique circumstances of the thousands of self-employed buyers.

Accessing these lenders usually requires one to venture outside the normal borrowing channels—those being banks or trust companies. Although banks and other “A” lenders have their own self-employed lending programs and more favourable rates, borrowers often get bogged down with their paperwork requests, to the extent that many “business for self” applicants cannot meet all of the lender’s documentation requirements.

Fortunately, mortgage brokers have access to simple and easy alternatives provided by lesser-known private lenders. As one such lender, Magenta Capital Corp. offers a “no-doc” program (well actually it’s more of a “low doc” program) that makes life less cumbersome for self-employed borrowers.

The program requires only that clients provide their most recent NOA (notice of assessment) to prove their taxes are up to date. Unlike most banks and institutional lenders, Magenta doesn’t use the NOA to gauge income. It instead relies heavily on the property equity for its security, for which a standard appraisal is used to confirm the value.

At this point you may be thinking, ‘This seems a little too easy. The catch must be incredibly high interest rates and fees.’

The reality is that rates can be as low as 4.99% with a 1.5% fee (which is added to the loan amount). And, provided your credit rating is over 575, you can access up to 75% of your home’s value through this program. If your score is 650+, that goes up to 85%. Better yet, this can all be done with a 40-year amortization to keep your payments manageable until you can qualify for cheaper bank financing.

Lenders offering these sorts of low-document lending programs rely primarily on the borrower’s previous repayment history and the property itself. That’s important to keep in mind. It’s also essential that the property is located in a high density area—i.e., a city or its various suburbs.

If you have a legitimate self-employed business, an urban property and no worse than minor credit blemishes, remember that flexible stated income programs still exist. They can help you get in a home much sooner, even if you can’t prove income the traditional way.

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Will DunningBy Will Dunning, Economist
Special to CMT

Once again, there is speculation that the federal government will tighten mortgage insurance criteria — prompted by this article in the Financial Post.

Let’s begin by saying that, in most of Canada, housing markets have been far from hot. Toronto and Vancouver are seeing rapid price growth, but that is mainly due to provincial and municipal policies that restrict the supply of building lots for new homes — in those two cases, lack of supply is the issue, not mortgage lending. Elsewhere, home sales and price growth have been moderate during the past two or three years. At the moment, we are seeing improved sales, but only because mortgage interest rates have fallen to yet another all-time low. That wave of activity will fade.

2 kinds of resale markets

The Financial Post article suggests measures being considered are:

  • Increasing the minimum down payment from 5%
  • Shortening the maximum amortization period from 25 years (possibly to 20 years)
  • Limiting mortgage insurance for high-priced homes

The article states that, while changes are under consideration, no decisions have been made.

Higher Down Payments

CAAMP has extensive experience in reviewing and commenting on changes to mortgage lending criteria. CAAMP’s spring 2015 survey focused on Canadians who have recently purchased homes (during 2013 up to the time of the survey in May 2015). In the report titled “A Profile of Home-Buying in Canada,” we asked:Mortgage rule rightening

“If the minimum down payment requirement was 10% instead of 5%, would you still have been able to afford to purchase your current residence?”

Six percent of the buyers (or 35,000 per year out of 620,000 homebuyers) indicated that they definitely would not have been able to make the purchase. A further 13% (80,000 buyers per year) probably would not have been able to buy their home.

The absence of 35,000 (or more) buyers from the market would have had profound impacts on sales activity, leading to downward price pressure, which would, in turn, have had significant impacts on the Canadian economy (due to the important role of house prices in determining consumer confidence and as a driver of job creation).

Moreover, the loss of at least 25,000 first-time buyers would have made it more difficult for move-up buyers to sell their existing homes. That would have prevented many of them from making their own purchases. This effect would have amplified the negative impacts in the housing market and the broader economy.

On the other hand, 62% of all buyers (380,000) definitely would have been able to make the purchase, and a further 20% (125,000 buyers) probably would have been able to make the purchase.

 

Table 1
Impact on Ability to Purchase Current Home
if Minimum Down Payment was 10%

1st-Time Buyer 2nd-Time Buyer Subsequent Purchases All Buyers
Definitely Able 130,000 85,000 165,000 380,000
Probably Able 75,000 25,000 20,000 125,000
Probably Not Able 50,000 10,000 15,000 80,000
Definitely Not Able 25,000 5,000 5,000 35,000
Total 280,000 130,000 210,000 620,000
Source: Survey by Bond Brand Loyalty for CAAMP; analysis by the author.

 

This survey data clearly indicates that an increase in required down payments from the current 5% would have severe consequences for the housing market, to the extent that there would be negative consequences for the broader economy.

Reducing the Maximum Amortization

Now, about shortening the maximum amortization period to 20 years. During 2008 to 2012, four sets of policy changes to mortgage insurance reversed liberalizations that had been put in place in the early years of the federal Conservative government. Major items in these four sets of changes included:

  • Eliminating zero down payment lending
  • Shortening maximum amortization periods from 40 years to 25 years on high-ratio mortgages
  • Creating qualification rates to test borrowers’ ability to make payments at higher-than-actual rates (applicable to those with variable-rate mortgages and terms less than five years).

The first three sets of policy changes had negligible effects. While there were fluctuations in sales activity at the times, they can be related to movements of mortgage interest rates rather than to the policy changes.

But the fourth set of changes (which took effect in July 2012, and which shortened the maximum amortization period from 30 to 25 years) caused sales to fall sharply. There were no other obvious factors that could have caused that plunge.

CAAMP’s fall 2012 report used a very large database (59,000 actual mortgages) to estimate the impacts of the major policy changes. Those simulations found that the earlier changes would have only minor impacts on the buyers’ abilities to afford their actual mortgages. But, the reduction of the maximum amortization to 25 years from 30 years would have a large negative effect.

This research also indicated that the negative effects would be long-lasting, as it would take long periods for affected potential buyers to save the much larger down payments that they would need.

As CAAMP has reported in multiple issues of its semi-annual reports, the negative effects of the 2012 policy change have been diminished, but the policy continues to cause resale market activity to be lower than it would otherwise be.

As CAAMP’s Chief Economist, I also concluded that the reduced housing activity in Canada would negatively affect job creation. And those negative effects would occur slowly. During the two years up to the spring of 2015, job creation is likely 150,000 less than without said changes. I recall that this suggestion generated quite a lively discussion on CMT.

The impact on jobs is difficult to test, since we only know what occurred, not what should have occurred. But available data suggests that something really did happen. This chart below compares the employment-to-population ratios in Canada and the United States. After the recession ended, the employment rates followed similar trends in both countries, being roughly flat or perhaps rising incrementally. That similarity has ended during the past two years, as the employment rate has risen in the U.S. (by about one-half of a percentage point), but has fallen in Canada (by about one-half of a percentage point).

Can-US Employment-to-population ratio

If the employment rate in Canada had stayed flat (instead of falling) the level of employment this June would have been 139,000 higher. Alternatively, if the Canadian employment rate had increased similarly to the U.S. rate, June 2015 employment would have been 286,000 higher than the reported number. The fall in the Canadian employment rate (and the corresponding slowdown of job creation) has multiple causes. But the timing of the jobs slowdown (starting in the summer of 2013) coincides with what was expected from the policy change that occurred a year earlier.

To conclude, a further shortening from the current 25-year maximum could be expected to worsen an already negative effect on Canada’s economy.

Limiting Insurance on Higher-priced Homes

With respect to possible restrictions for high-priced housing, it’s hard to see much benefit for the mortgage insurers.

CAAMP’s spring 2015 survey data indicates that only about one percent of home purchases in Canada are priced at $1 million or more, and a further two percent of purchases are priced between $800,000 and $999,999. In total for Canada there are about 20,000 to 25,000 home sales per year priced over $800,000. Only about 3,000 per year would have insured mortgages. If we use $1 million as a threshold for “high-priced,” the effect is even less: about 1,000 dwellings per year might have insured mortgages.

Restricting mortgage eligibility for high-priced homes would have negligible ramifications on risk for the mortgage insurers, and on total housing activity in Canada. But it would have materially negative consequences within that very small subset of the market.

During the recovery from the recession, the two primary drivers of job creation have been the housing sector and investment in energy projects. Now that oil prices have plunged, energy investment is also contracting. This leaves the residential real estate sector as the most positive component of the Canadian economy. Any policies that are intended to weaken the housing sector would in turn create unnecessary risks for the entire Canadian economy.


About the Author

Will Dunning is an economist, and has specialized in the analysis and forecasting of housing markets since 1982. In addition to acting as the Chief Economist for CAAMP, he operates an economic analysis consulting firm, Will Dunning Inc. His website is: www.wdunning.com.

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Dan Putnam, Chair, CAAMP Board of Directors
Special to CMT

Last week we announced that Jim Murphy, CAAMP President and CEO since 2007, will be moving on to a new career opportunity. Jim has been a strong advocate for the association and the industry, and has definitely left his mark.

A large part of Jim’s legacy is undoubtedly CAAMP’s exceptional senior management team, whom he surrounded himself with throughout the years. This talented team, alongside a committed Board of Directors, will be working to re-examine CAAMP’s organizational structure to ensure your association is being run as effectively and efficiently as possible – both now and into the future.

Samir Asusa

In the interim, Samir Asusa, CPA, CGA, Senior Vice President and CFO at CAAMP, is at the helm. Prior to joining CAAMP in 2007, Samir was VP of Finance at another association for seven years, during which time he was an integral part of the successful merger of two key associations after decades of operating separately in the same industry. His previous experience also includes working with commercial and residential real estate property firms. Samir’s expertise focuses on implementing, monitoring and readjusting financial controls, as well as allocating the best use of membership funds.

Jennifer Braid Headshot

Jennifer Braid

Jennifer Braid has been with CAAMP for one year now as VP of Member Services, where she focuses on ensuring industry members are engaged and aware of the benefits of membership. She is responsible for all areas of membership and events, oversees CAAMP’s regional chapters, and is executive director of the CAAMP Foundation. Prior to joining CAAMP, Jennifer was with CMHC for 14+ years and TD Bank for seven years. During her last eight years with CMHC, Jennifer led a team of 22 and created an atmosphere conducive to personal development, providing expertise, advice and leadership. She was instrumental in the development of a number of national strategies, all while developing and managing relationships with senior management and key decision makers. During her time at CMHC, Jennifer was elected to CAAMP’s Board of Directors for two consecutive terms.

Jennie Headshot

Jennie Hodgson

Jennie Hodgson, B.Ed., VP of Education, has been with CAAMP since 2008 and is responsible for overseeing the design and development of licensing education courses for the mortgage broker channel. Her focus is on ensuring CAAMP provides leading-edge education so that mortgage professionals acquire skills and knowledge to positively impact their brokering careers. Since 2001, Jennie has dealt with all aspects of education in the mortgage industry, including curriculum/content design and development, online and in-class education delivery, as well as examination design, development and administration (in both English and French). Prior to joining CAAMP, Jennie provided mortgage underwriting, servicing and broker training with a Canadian financial institution, a U.S. commercial lender and a consulting firm.

Cindy Freiman - May 2015

Cindy Freiman

Cindy Freiman was welcomed to the CAAMP team late last year in the newly-created Director of Marketing and Communications role. From this post, she communicates to members about the association’s mission and information critical to the industry, including the launch of Mortgage Dashboard and Canadian Mortgage Trends 2.0. She specializes in the promotion of members, member companies and, most importantly, the broker channel. Most recently Cindy spearheaded a national Value of a Mortgage Broker consumer-awareness marketing campaign. Running throughout 2015, it will help drive the message that working with a mortgage broker is the best possible choice when seeking a mortgage. The campaign includes online, digital, display, mobile, Facebook and print advertising across Canada. Celebrating her 10th year in the Canadian mortgage brokering landscape, Cindy is the founding editor of CMP – having helped launch the magazine in 2006 and the Canadian Mortgage Awards in 2007. She also served for six years as Director of PR and Communications at Dominion Lending Centres where she spread the word about the company, then in its infancy.

Given the above, it’s easy to appreciate why the Board of Directors has full confidence in the experienced and dedicated staff currently in place. In the coming months and beyond, the association will continue to focus on initiatives that members have told us are important to them. That includes promoting the benefits of the broker channel to consumers, industry partners, government and other stakeholders. With this in mind, we’re excited for what the future holds for both CAAMP and the Canadian mortgage broker industry.

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DustanWoodhouseDustan Woodhouse, AMP, Dominion Lending Centres
Special to CMT

With the spring market in full swing and bidding wars playing out in some of our largest cities – now’s the perfect time to talk about subject-free offers.

With multiple offers and over-asking-price bids now common in some cities, it’s not unusual for buyers, in the heat of the home-buying experience, to contemplate a ‘subject-free offer’ – that is, an offer without conditions. But those can come with risks.

As many buyers come to discover, lenders never grant final approval until they are comfortable with the property details. It matters little that you’re a AAA client, packing a large down payment, stellar credit and strong documented income.

Even with the most creditworthy buyers, there can always be an unanticipated hitch with the property itself. That’s why you’d be hard pressed to find a professional Realtor who would write an offer without a ‘subject to inspection’ clause, and for good reason.

Similarly, few mortgage professionals would advise you to make an offer on a property without a ‘subject to financing’ clause. That’s because no broker or banker can offer 100% assurance of financing without assessing the property details. Until an appraisal is reviewed and approved, the application is not complete.

Depending on the lender, there are some properties they simply won’t lend against. Obvious examples include properties that:

  • Contain asbestos, aluminum wiring or underground oil tanks;
  • Are remediated former grow-ops or drug labs;
  • Exhibit foundation or mould problems.

But there are also less obvious ones:

  • Live-work units;
  • Row homes (attached non-strata properties);
  • Properties smaller than 450-500 square feet;
  • Properties on leased land, be it government, First Nations or otherwise.

When it comes to the appraisal process, there’s more than simply the value to consider. Valuation is a challenge in only a small minority of cases. In fact, when the value is below $750,000, many property valuations are essentially ‘auto approved’ by the lender or insurer’s computer algorithms.

A myriad of complications can occur, however, and one such example relates to the home’s remaining economic life (REL). REL is distinct from a property’s physical life. It refers to how long a house is likely to remain standing given its current state and the care it is receiving.

Few lenders will lend on a home with an REL of less than 15 years. Moreover, the maximum amortization typically cannot exceed REL minus five years, which can sometimes drive payments sky high, and often leaves clients unable to debt service.

Another problem can occur with properties located in a neighbourhood where older structures are being purchased for demolition and replaced with multimillion dollar homes. In some cases, your purchase might look to the lender like a speculative land play or potential knock-down. In such cases, the appraiser could peg the remaining economic life at just 15 years…or less.

Or maybe the property is a ramshackle house in disrepair. It might look like the bargain of the decade on paper, and perhaps the purchaser is even a contractor planning to restore its glory. The problems is, appraisals view the current remaining economic life of the home ‘as it sits’ not ‘as is planned’. Homes like this could have an REL as short as five years.

At times, buyers also run the risk of their own good qualifications hindering mortgage approval. Those with significant liquid assets and strong incomes buying a smaller, older home on a street of newly built monoliths will sometimes be seen as planning to knock the home down and build a new one.

But the land value alone should overcompensate for this, you say?

Maybe, but lenders are not in the business of writing conventional AAA mortgages on properties that will be torn down. This is considered speculative or investment/business lending, which presents greater risks. There is a reason land/construction financing carries higher rates and additional fees. A property with a habitable home is easier to liquidate upon default.

The bottom line is that lenders prefer security over risk, and you should too. The wise approach is to minimize purchase risk by either writing offers that contain both ‘subject to inspection’ and ‘subject to financing’ clauses. At a minimum, have a detailed conversation with a skilled mortgage professional well in advance of writing that unconditional offer.

 

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Angela Calla, AMP, Dominion Lending Centres
Special to CMTCalla dlc photo

When choosing between mortgages, knowing how different lenders calculate penalties can be essential. The market and your needs can easily shift during the term of your mortgage and the last thing you want is a painful penalty in order to get out early.

Penalty formulas differ radically, depending on the lender. A major bank, for example, will have a considerably higher penalty than a broker-only wholesale lender. Advice on how to avoid painful penalties is a key benefit of working with a mortgage broker.

You need to ask one important question right off the bat: What rates does the lender use to calculate its penalty? The actual discounted rates that people pay, or some artificially high posted rate? Hopefully the former.

Below is an example of how two lenders calculate the same “interest rate differential” penalty in different ways. Ask yourself, which one would save you the most money?

Penalty #1 – Broker Lender
Contract Rate (The rate you actually pay) 4.19%
Current Rate (Today’s new rate, closest to your remaining term) 3.09%
Differential (Contract Rate – Current Rate) 1.10%
Remaining Balance $229,000
Remaining Months 16
Penalty Formula: Remaining Balance x Differential ÷ 12 x Remaining Months $3,358.67
TOTAL APPROXIMATE PENALTY $3,358.67
Penalty #2 – Major Bank
Contract Rate (The rate you actually pay) 4.19%
Current Posted Rate (Today’s new posted rate, closest to remaining term) 3.39%
Original Posted Rate (At the time you got your mortgage) 5.99%
Original Discount (That you received off the Original Posted Rate) 1.80%
Differential (Contract Rate – (Current Posted Rate – Original Discount)) 2.60%
Remaining Balance $229,000
Remaining Months 16
Penalty Formula: Remaining Balance x Differential ÷ 12 x Remaining Months $7,938.67
TOTAL APPROXIMATE PENALTY $7,938.67

As you can see, there can be quite a difference in prepayment charges when you leave a lender early – over $4,500 in this example. And this is a modest hypothetical calculation. Bank discounts today are on the order of 2.00 percentage points off posted, instead of the 1.80 I’ve used here.

Some lenders will even charge an abnormally high penalty (like 3% of principal) despite you being close to the end of your mortgage term. They do this as a retention tool to keep you from leaving. Others will charge a “reinvestment fee” on top of the penalty, tacking on another $100 to $500 in expenses.

In short, penalties can be thousands—or even tens of thousands—higher depending on the lender’s specific calculation formula, mortgage amount, rates and time remaining until maturity. Extreme penalties are not only more expensive, they can even keep borrowers from moving because the amount eats into the money they’ve got for a down payment and closing costs.

Worse yet, some lenders have a “sale only” clause in their mortgages, meaning you can’t even leave them unless you sell the home. If you think, “Oh, that’s no big deal. I don’t plan on selling,” think again. Throughout every path in life, there are moving parts and uncertainties. When you get married, do you plan on divorcing? Likely not. Did you predict the company you were with for 20 years could downsize, or your pension would be reduced or cut? Can you guarantee your health will never throw you a curve ball?

We all want to believe that none of the above scenarios will come to pass, but they can and do. And when they do, what a relief it is to have options.

And last but not least, there is the refinance consideration. If interest rates fall 0.5-0.8%, (which may seem unlikely but is certainly a possibility) there may be opportunities to lower your borrowing costs. But you can’t do that unless you’ve got a low-cost way to renegotiate your existing contract. And as we’ve seen above, that cost is not based on just your interest rate alone.

 

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Mark Kerzner

Mark Kerzner, TMG

Mark Kerzner, Special to CMT

Competition in the mortgage origination market has benefited consumers, full stop.

Two years ago I wrote this column. It provided evidence that a strong broker channel keeps lenders competitive, thereby benefiting consumers. The same holds true today.

While broker share is approximately 30% of the total market, it operates as a check on the system, forcing all channels (including branch and mortgage sales force reps) to sharpen their pencils.


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The Public MIC Advantage

Jeffrey D. Sherman, Special to CMT

Public or private. keyboardThe function of Canada’s securities regulation is to protect investors. To help investors make informed decisions, regulated public markets require broad access to information on exchange-listed companies.

In the June 9 article entitled “A Threat to Private Financing,” it was noted that Ontario has restrictions on the sale of securities. These limit many investors to buying only publicly traded Mortgage Investment Corporations (MICs), and not private MICs. This is sound regulatory policy.


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