September 23, 2021

Most expensive Canadian condo sold for $40 million in Vancouver

It is not surprising that the most expensive condo sale in Canada would happen in Vancouver. A Middle Eastern royal paid a whopping $40 million for a penthouse suite and the unit underneath in the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel.

It's a record amount with the deluxe penthouse suite selling for $25 million and the other unit putting the total sale over the top, according to the Vancouver Sun. The condo sits in Coal Harbour, an area known for its pricey properties.

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August 19, 2021

Mortgage investment corporations could be in for a fall: report

If you are like most investors hungry for yield, you likely have at least one real estate investment trust stashed away somewhere.

The shine has come off REITs recently, however, as bond yields have started to tick upwards. This has  prompted prospective buyers to worry about the impact that rising rates will have on REITs mortgage costs down the road.

Despite this, yield starved investors are hoping that mortgage investment corporations won't be hit in the same way. But tread carefully here, warns Hamilton Capital Managers analyst Rob Wessel in a recent report. Most MICs are riskier than you might think.

Unlike REITs, which buy income-producing properties and then use the rents to pay distributions to investors, MICs are generally more interested in funding land development and real estate construction, and they attract retail investors by offering much higher yields as a result, often in the range of 7 to 8 per cent.

A typical borrower might be someone who owns a multi-residential property owner and needs short-term cash for construction, for instance -- a loan the big bank simply can't be bothered with.

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July 25, 2021

Should you be locking in your mortgage sometime soon?

Over the last few weeks, longer-term fixed rates have jumped by roughly half a percentage point.

The fixed-rate five-year closed mortgage, which was once as low as 2.99%, has risen steadily in the past few weeks and is closer to 3.5% at most banks. That may not seem like a big difference but it means a larger payment.

Even though rates aren't expected to jump significantly until next year, if you're coming up for renewal then it may be time to at least work in higher rates into your budget.

Mortgage debates used to centre around whether to go fixed or variable but the discussion these days is often not whether to lock in a rate but for how long? Most people choose a 5-year term. But is that the best option? You could, for instance, lock up a 7-year rate ... or even a 10-year term.

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July 24, 2021

More Canadians carrying debt

Nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes...and now debt.

According to a new report from BMO Bank of Montreal, more Canadians are carrying a household debt load (83 per cent) compared to 74 per cent in 2012.

The survey found that mortgage debt was the main source of debt for many Canadians followed by car loans and funding education.

The study also found that the average monthly debt payment has declined, dropping from $1,138 to $986.

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July 04, 2021

Rise in interest rates expected in 2014

Buying your first home is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make.

While 31 per cent of first-time homebuyers expect interest rates to stay the same over the next five years, that just may not be the case, according to market projections.

BMO Economics reports that interest rate hikes are expected in the second half of 2014.

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May 31, 2021

Canadians in market to buy condos

CondoWell we're movin' on up. To the east side. To a deluxe apartment in the sky.

The Jeffersons lived the high life, and according to a new report from BMO Bank of Montreal one-third of Canadian homebuyers are looking to purchase a condominium in the next five years.

But what is it that is attracting buyers to the condo lifestyle?

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May 30, 2021

Just how much will it cost to get out of your current mortgage?

Interest rates are down sharply, which means your existing mortgage rate is likely higher than prevailing rate. Is this then a good time to renegotiate?


With a five-year fixed rate now around 2.7% in some spots, the savings can be significant – particularly if you’re still far away from paying things off.

But while the improved interest rate you might get is tempting, it's important to calculate how much you'd pay in penalties and how long it would take you to recoup the cost of financing. 

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May 29, 2021

Are tougher mortgage rules keeping you out of the market?

Canadians end up paying off their mortgages in about two-thirds of the time originally intended, according to research from The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals.

Looking at mortgages paid off over the past three years, the original amortization length was roughly 18  years but, on average, homebuyers ended up with an actual amortization length of just less than 12 years. In other words, we can handle debt pretty well, according to CAAMP's view.

Nonetheless, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tightened mortgage rules four times in the last five years amid concern that oversupply in some markets could lead to a sharp drop in prices.

The group feels the government's recent changes — raising the minimum down payment for mortgages insured through the government-backed CMHC and lowering the amount of time borrowers have to pay them back to 25 years (it was as high as 40 years only five years ago) — is overdone and is preventing many potential homebuyers from entering the market.

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May 22, 2021

Home buying looks good for most Canadians

1099196_67954355Thinking of buying a new home? You may not be alone in your thoughts.

According to the BMO Housing Confidence Report, nearly half of Canadian homeowners intend to buy a property in the next five years signalling a high level of confidence in the housing market.

Despite reports of a cooling down in market, in our eastern Ontario neighbourhood 'For Sale' signs are popping up everywhere. The houses are only staying on the market a few weeks -- if that.

It seems that everyone on our street is catching the moving bug after witnessing their next-door-neighbours packing up and heading for larger homes in desirable neighbourhoods.

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May 14, 2021

Canadians are sold on safe neighbourhoods

1302218_50183007When it comes to buying a new home, the majority of Canadians are sold on safe neighburhoods.

There's a lot to consider when looking for a new home besides the price and the features it has to offer.

In fact, a safe neighbourhood is the big sell for homebuyers, according to a survey by BMO Bank of Montreal.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...