July 27, 2021

Why rent when you can buy?

Although it varies widely from city to city, the upfront cost of buying a home is only a little more than renting in some areas of the country.

Which means, with interest rates still relatively low, this might be the time to seriously evaluate the decision of whether to rent or own, say realtors.

Let's say you’re renting now for $1,300 per month. Assuming a mortgage rate of $5.25%, $1,300 will be equivalent to a monthly payment on a mortgage of $218,000, based on a 25-year amortization.

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July 02, 2021

Duped, woman now on the hook for mortgage fraud

A Toronto woman is on the hook for $95,000 after failing to realize she was being tricked into a mortgage fraud.

Angela Isaacs accepted $6,000 to co-sign a stranger's mortgage and signed the documents without actually reading them, according to the Toronto Star. The house was then flipped and she was stuck with the bill.

What’s worse, the Ontario Superior Court ruled that she owes 6.3 per cent annual interest on the $95,000 loss going back two years, as well as $13,500 in legal fees incurred by the lender, the Royal Bank of Canada.

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June 16, 2021

Will Wal-Mart's banking push into Canada succeed?

Newly-licensed Wal-Mart Canada Bank may have started out with a rewards MasterCard this week, but the low-price retailing giant is really setting its sights on the big banks’ hold on other products such as loans and mortgages.

Good luck with that.

Canadian Tire tried the same thing but ending up selling its struggling mortgage portfolio to the National Bank last year. And Citbank just abandoned the Canadian mortgage business as well.

And while brands like President's Choice and ING do have a sliver of market share, it's going to be an uphill climb for the often-crticized discounter, despite its 318 stores and a deserved reputation as a category killer in other areas.

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May 20, 2021

Hybrid mortgages catching on with homebuyers

It's the question Canadian homeowners continue to obsess over: Should I stay fixed or go variable?

Historically, borrowers have saved money by choosing a variable mortgage. But a pending upswing in interest rates, which can only move higher as the economic recovery takes hold, has some consumers looking to lock in at still low fixed rates.

Then why not do both by taking out a hybrid mortgage

Hybrids – sometimes known as 50/50 mortgages – include a mix of fixed-rate and variable-rate elements within a single mortgage. You get the best of both worlds, argue supporters: the security of fixed repayments with the flexibility of a variable rate. 

A good way to go? Well, some people seem to think so. 

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May 13, 2021

Mortgage market tightening up for self-employed

You'd think being a self-employed professional or running an established small business would make someone an appealing prospect for a mortgage.

Truth be told, many successful individuals don’t fit traditional mortgage lending criteria.

Without an established stream of pay stubs or a confirmation letter from an employer, lenders have few of the traditional assurances that you can handle your mortgage obligations.

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May 03, 2021

Homebuyers “comfortable” with level of mortgage debt: study

81 per cent of recent homebuyers are “comfortable” with the level of their mortgage debt, reports Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

In fact, more than two-thirds of them plan to pay off their mortgage early, CMHC says.

Great idea. Even with today's relatively low mortgage rates, it's really tough to find an investment that’s guaranteed to yield a higher after-tax return than you'd get by paying your mortgage down.

But not everybody actually gets around to it.

Which means with the prospects of higher interest rates, servicing rising debt could become more difficult for those homeowners who’ve been a tad optimistic about their future prospects, warns TD economist Benjamin Tal.

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March 31, 2021

Time to lock in that mortgage?

Canadians accustomed to rock bottom mortgage rates have some thinking to do.

Although a bit sooner that some predicted, mortgage rates have finally begun to rise, with both Royal Bank and TD Canada Trust the first out of the gate. 

The biggest jump is in the five-year fixed closed rate, which moves from 5.25% to 5.85% at both banks – the level every lender will reach before the Easter holiday. 

Most mortgage specialists expect that this is just the beginning of several small jumps that will hike the cost of home ownership throughout the balance of this year.  

So, is now the time to lock in to a fixed rate? 

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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...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...