Sunday, January 23, 2011

what an absolute gorgeous day in the sunny! Not as busy today at the Condo's in #West Kelowna, but I would bet everyone is taking advantage of this great weather.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Karen Guy ~ West Kelowna Realtor ~ New Mortgage Rules as of 18 March 2011

The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, and the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources, today announced prudent adjustments to the rules for government-backed insured mortgages to support the long-term stability of Canada’s housing market and support hard-working Canadian families saving through home ownership.
“Canada’s well-regulated housing sector has been an important strength that allowed us to avoid the mistakes of other countries and helped protect us from the worst of the recent global recession,” said Minister Flaherty. “The prudent measures announced today build on that advantage by encouraging hard-working Canadian families to save by investing in their homes and future.”
“The economy continues to be our Government’s top priority,” continued Minister Paradis. “Our Government will continue to take the necessary actions to ensure stability and economic certainty in Canada’s housing market.”

The new measures:
  • Reduce the maximum amortization period to 30 years from 35 years for new government-backed insured mortgages with loan-to-value ratios of more than 80 per cent. This will significantly reduce the total interest payments Canadian families make on their mortgages, allow Canadian families to build up equity in their homes more quickly, and help Canadians pay off their mortgages before they retire.
  • Lower the maximum amount Canadians can borrow in refinancing their mortgages to 85 per cent from 90 per cent of the value of their homes. This will promote saving through home ownership and limit the repackaging of consumer debt into mortgages guaranteed by taxpayers.
  • Withdraw government insurance backing on lines of credit secured by homes, such as home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs. This will ensure that risks associated with consumer debt products used to borrow funds unrelated to house purchases are managed by the financial institutions and not borne by taxpayers.
Our Government’s ongoing monitoring and sound underlying supervisory regime, along with the traditionally cautious approach taken by Canadian financial institutions to mortgage lending, have allowed Canada to maintain strong and secure housing and mortgage markets.
The adjustments to the mortgage insurance guarantee framework will come into force on March 18, 2011. The withdrawal of government insurance backing on lines of credit secured by homes will come into force on April 18, 2011.

Information courtesy of the Department of Finance Canada Website.

If I can answer any more of your questions or concerns, please let me know.

Karen Guy, REALTOR®

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605O 250.768.8001

Monday, January 17, 2011

Karen Guy - West Kelowna Realtor ~ New Mortgage Rules

OTTAWA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty unveiled changes Monday morning to mortgage lending rules that would see Ottawa stop backing home loans greater than 30 years and make it more difficult for households to use their property to access financing.

The changes, as reported by the National Post on Sunday, emerged as worries escalate among Bay Street leaders and the Bank of Canada about the record levels of household indebtedness, and how conditions could deteriorate unless pre-emptive action was taken.

The key change announced is that mortgages with amortization periods longer than 30 years will no longer qualify for government-backed mortgage insurance, which is required for buyers with less than a 20% down payment on a home. The previous limit was 35 years.

Also, Mr. Flaherty lowered the maximum amount Canadians can borrow against the value of their homes, to 85% from 90%, on a refinancing; and removed federal government backing for home equity lines of credit, or so-called HELOCs, whose popularity soared in the past decade with growth double that of mortgage debt.

"Canada's well-regulated housing sector has been an important strength that allowed us to avoid the mistakes of other countries," Mr. Flaherty said at a media conference. "The prudent measures announced [Monday] build on that advantage by encouraging hard-working Canadian families to save by investing in their homes and future."

Executives at Bank of Montreal applauded the government's move.

“The actions announced are prudent, measured, responsible and timely,” said Frank Techar, president of personal and commercial banking at Bank of Montreal.

The changes will be implemented in stages, with adjustments on amortization and refinancing limits coming into force on March 18. Government backing on HELOCs will be removed as of April 18.

The government said exceptions would be allowed after the new measures come into force when needed to satisfy a home purchase or sale and financing agreement struck before the March and April in-force dates.

The minimum down payment, at 5%, will remain as is. Further, there are no plans to target condominium purchases by requiring monthly condo fees be added to the list of expenses that is measured against income to decide whether a buyer can afford a mortgage.

Analysts at Scotia Capital said in a morning note the changes had been anticipated for some time. “We remain of our long-held belief that Canada is tapped out on housing and household finance variables that are all at cycle tops, in contrast to the U.S. that has already moved well off cycle tops and may be creating some pent-up demand,” said economists Derek Holt and Gorica Djeric.

The changes to the country’s mortgage rules -- the second in as many years -- emerge amid rising concern about the record levels of household debt, which measured as a ratio of money owed to disposable income nears a startling 150% as of the third quarter of last year. That surpasses the level of debt held by American households, whose appetite for borrowing helped stoke the financial crisis of a few years ago.

The Bank of Canada recently warned debt levels are growing faster than income, and the risk posed by consumer indebtedness to the domestic economy would continue to escalate without a “significant change” in how consumers borrow and banks lend.

Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said policymakers have a “responsibility” to look at the benefits of pre-emptive action. Joining the chorus have been chief executives at the big banks, most notably Ed Clark at Toronto-Dominion Bank, in publicly advocating for tougher mortgage standards.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper acknowledged his government was considering changes to the rules governing mortgages.

In February of 2010, Mr. Flaherty moved to toughen up the mortgage rules amid worries that Canada was in the midst of a housing market bubble. The reforms, since introduced, compelled borrowers to meet standards for a five-year fixed-rate mortgage, even if the buyer wanted a shorter-term, variable rate loan; reduced the amount Canadian can borrow against their home, to 90% of the property value from 95%; and require purchasers of rental properties to issue a 20% down payment as opposed to 5%. The moves played a role, observers say, in slowing down real estate activity.

The Scotia Capital analysts suggested government regulation was the way to go in terms of curbing household appetite for credit as opposed to the Bank of Canada raising interest rates, which they said would be “imprudent” at this time.

The central bank issues its latest rate statement on Tuesday and it is expected to hold its benchmark rate at its present 1% level as signs indicate the economy may be benefiting from renewed business and consumer confidence in the United States.

Stewart Hall, economist at HSBC Securities Canada, said the extraordinarily low-rate environment “provides all the incentive to consumers to borrow and spend and none of the incentive to save. You can try to [regulate] that away but that is apt to be fraught with significant frustration.”

Karen Guy, REALTOR®

I am the GUY that will make a difference!

Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Thursday, January 13, 2011

West Kelowna Realtor Karen Guy ~ BCREA Latest Stats

Record Home Prices for 2010
Vancouver, BC – January 13, 2011. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province declined 12 per cent to 74,640 units in 2010. The annual average MLS® residential price rose 8.5 per cent to a record $505,178 in 2010.

"Tighter credit conditions and expended pent-up demand curbed home sales during the first half of 2010,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “However, low mortgage interest rates and improved economic conditions buoyed home sales in the latter half of the year.” MLS® residential unit sales declined 40 per cent January through July before climbing 43 per cent by the end of the year, on a seasonally adjusted basis.
"The inventory of homes for sale peaked at 53,375 units in May before declining 14 per cent to 46,000 units by December,” added Muir. “The combination of fewer active listings and increased consumer demand has improved market conditions in many areas."
MLS® residential sales declined 25 per cent to 4,258 units in December from a near record level of 5,703 units in December 2009. After a 15 per cent increase in unit sales between October and November, a further 1 per cent increase was recorded in December on a seasonally adjusted basis. The average MLS® residential sales price was a record $523,990 in December, up 6 per cent from December 2009.

Karen Guy, REALTOR®

I am the GUY that will make a difference!
Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty
C 250.878.3605 O 250.768.8001

Kelowna Real Estate Agent West Kelowna Karen Guy Realtor