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Many BC homeowners reportedly planning to leave province soon – CMP – REMAX

-Many BC homeowners reportedly planning to leave province soon-

Pandemic impacts and affordability concerns rank high among the reasons for moving out…

A significant share of British Columbian homeowners are planning to leave the province within the next five years, raising the possibility of even more supply entering the red-hot market during that period, according to RE/MAX.

Citing data from Insights West, RE/MAX said that 17% of the province’s homeowners are thinking of selling their home in the next two years, while 29% are considering doing so in the next five years.

Of those planning to sell their homes, 10% are considering downsizing, 11% want to relocate somewhere else in BC, and 9% are planning to move to another province altogether in search of more affordable housing.

“The relentless climb of real-estate prices in BC, and in Metro Vancouver in particular, has resulted in many homeowners weighing their options for cashing out,” said Steve Mossop, president of Insights West. “The option to downsize or move to a different location… in order to take advantage of the equity in their existing home has many weighing the alternatives.”

For 36% of BC’s homeowners, a major driver of the decision to move out was the financial impact of the pandemic. Affordability concerns ranked high on the list as well, with 72% of respondents saying that housing prices will likely continue rising over the next 12 months and lasting well into the next two to five years.

Anxiety surrounding “the likelihood of higher interest rates is also prevalent among BC residents,” RE/MAX said.

Low Rates Help Borrowers Pay Mortgage at Record Pace – Canadian Mortgage Trends

Home prices may be astronomical in certain parts of the country, but historically low mortgage rates are allowing borrowers to pay off their mortgages faster than ever.

At today’s average rates, 61% of a new homebuyer’s very first mortgage payment is going towards principal repayment, according to data from Edge Realty Analytics.

In the early 2000s, that percentage was 26.5%. The change is even more drastic when looking back at the 1990s, where just 11.9% of a homebuyer’s first payment went towards paying down the principal, or the 1980s, when that percentage was a minuscule 4.6%.

The result is a much faster build-up of equity over a short period of time, so long as interest rates remain low.

After the first five years of mortgage payments, today’s homebuyers borrowing at today’s prevailing rates will have paid back more than a fifth of their mortgage (16.5%). Here’s a look at how that compares to past decades:

 

Mortgage payments

(Courtesy: Edge Realty Analytics)

 

“Homeownership represents a very aggressive forced saving program,” Mortgage Professionals Canada noted in its annual consumer report.

As a result (and even before we consider the impact of price growth) housing equity is built very rapidly,” the report noted. “This excellent ‘net affordability’ goes a long way to explaining why homebuying activity has remained strong in Canada and why a large majority of Canadians see homeownership as financially better than rentingdespite the rapid runup in house prices and the higher burden of mortgage (principal plus interest) payments.”

(Source: Mortgage Professionals Canada)

 

Not only have low interest rates allowed borrowers to repay their mortgages more quickly, but it’s also kept housing moderately “affordable” despite the 38.4% run-up in average home price in the past 12 months.

“If it were not for the extremely low interest rate, most cities in Canada, especially Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Montreal, would be in overvalued territory,” Alberta Central chief economist Charles St-Arnaud wrote in a recent analysis. “It means that the main driver for affordability is the record low level of interest rates.”

But Rates Won’t Stay Low Forever

All good things must come to an end, and that goes for ultra-low mortgage rates.

The Bank of Canada has made it abundantly clear that it expects to start raising interest rates by late next year.

How much rates will increase in the Bank’s next rate-hike cycle is anyone’s guess. But for what it’s worth, markets are pricing in at least eight 25-bps hikes over the next five years, which would bring Canada’s overnight rate to 2.25%, up two percentage points from its current record-low of 0.25%.

But even a more modest rise in rates of as little as 100-150 basis points could “push the valuation metrics into overvalued territory,” St-Arnaud noted, making today’s still somewhat “affordable” housing market patently unaffordable for most.

“Our simulations show that many cities in Canada will struggle with housing affordability as interest rates increase,” he added. “A 150-bps increase in mortgage rates could be enough to generate significant headwinds on some housing markets and house prices.”

Have more mortgage questions or concerns? Call our office today at 250 753 2242 and we can help with all of your mortgage questions!

 

“LIKE” our Facebook page or “SHARE” this post to be entered into our quarterly draw for a $150.00 gift card!!!

 

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We thrive off of your continued support and client referrals. Let us reward you for helping us get our name out into the community! Please mention who referred you or how you heard from us, when filling out your mortgage application. The name you give us will also be entered into the same draw for coming in to see us!

 

We are open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Kevin Decker can also be reached after hours at 250 619 2262 and Jason Barudin can be reached at 250 668 2203.

CANADA’S HOUSING MARKET – 2021 FORECASTS – CANADIAN MORTGAGE TRENDS

CANADA’S HOUSING MARKET – 2021 FORECASTS – CANADIAN MORTGAGE TRENDS

The Canadian real estate market defied gravity last year in spite of a global pandemic and nationwide lockdowns.

The year ended with the seasonally adjusted MLS Home Price Index up 13% year-over-year and the average house price surpassing the $600,000 mark.

“It’s official, despite all the challenges, 2020 was a record year for Canadian resale housing activity,” Costa Poulopoulos, Chair of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), declared.

But where do prices go from here?

Will prices finally fall, as many have been predicting since early last year? Will they moderate and return to more sustainable growth, or is it still full-steam ahead?

Nobody knows for sure, of course. But we’ve compiled a rundown of some of the many (and varied) 2021 house price forecasts to get an idea of what some of the smart minds in the industry think.

We’ve also included some previous 2020 forecasts, where possible, to illustrate the fallibility of forecasting.

In case we need a reminder of how “off” forecasts can sometimes be, one need not look further than CMHC’s prediction of a 9% to 18% decline from pre-COVID prices by the end of 2020. That was a forecast that, at least so far, hasn’t aged well.

CREA

·         2021 forecast: +9.1%

·         2020 forecast: +6.2%

·         Commentary: “(We are) anticipating healthy housing price growth in 2021, with move-up and move-over buyers continuing to drive activity in many regions across the Canadian housing market. An ongoing housing supply shortage is likely to continue, presenting challenges for homebuyers and putting upward pressure on prices.”

CMHC

·         2021 forecast: -9% to -18% (pre-COVID peak-to-trough decline)

·         The agency first released this forecast last spring at the height of the first wave of the pandemic. While the timeframe has been been pushed out, CMHC continues to stand by this forecast.

·         2020 forecast: an average MLS Price of between $506,200 and $531,000

·         Commentary: “When I say I stand by our forecasts, it’s really with respect to what are the broad trends we expect moving forward,” CMHC Chief Economist Bob told reporters in September. “When I look at the housing market there are a tremendous number of risks.”

Real Estate Firms

Royal LePage

·         2021 forecast: +5.5%

·         2020 forecast: +3.2%

·         Commentary: “Across the country, a large number of hopeful buyers intent on improving their housing situation were not able to find the home they were looking for this year, as the inventory of properties for sale came nowhere near to meeting surging demand. With policy-makers all but promising record-low, industry-supportive interest rates to continue, we do not see this imbalance improving (this) year. The upward pressure on home prices will continue.”

RE/MAX

·         2021 forecast: +4% to 6%

·         2020 forecast: +3.7%

·         Commentary: “(We are) anticipating healthy housing price growth in 2021, with move-up and move-over buyers continuing to drive activity in many regions across the Canadian housing market. An ongoing housing supply shortage is likely to continue, presenting challenges for homebuyers and putting upward pressure on prices.”

The Banks

RBC

·         2021 forecast: +8.4%

·         Commentary: “We see little that will stop activity or prices from reaching new heights in the year ahead…Yet we also expect cooling signs to emerge, which will come into fuller display in 2022. The main restraining factors will be a lack of supply, waning pandemic-induced market churn, a modest creep-up in interest rates and an erosion of affordability. Call it a 2022 soft landing.”

TD

·         2021 forecast: +5.8%

·         TD is calling for an initial plunge in home prices of 7% in early 2021, before recovering in the latter part of the year to post an overall year-over-year price gain.

·         Commentary: “Canadian prices will likely drop through the first half of 2021 by around 7%, before regaining some traction later (in the) year. While this sounds like a big hit, it would still leave the upward trend in prices, established prior to the pandemic, in place. Some added pressure on prices could emerge on the supply side. Case in point, the end of mortgage deferral programs is likely to spark some additional supply on the market.”

CIBC

·         2021 forecast: +2.4%

·         This is based on an average of the bank’s upside case of an 11.2% price gain vs. its downside case of a 6.9% decline over the next 12 months.

National Bank of Canada

·         2021 forecast: -5.2%

·         This is based on an average of the bank’s upside case of a 1.5% price decline in 2021 vs. its downside case of a 9.9% decline.

·         Commentary: “We were pleasantly surprised by the performance and house prices so far during the pandemic. Although in our forecasts, particularly in the pessimistic case, we don’t assume strength in the housing market. I think for the macroeconomic scenarios, and that which goes into generating our allowances, you can consider those scenarios quite prudent.”

BMO

·         2021 forecast: +6.6%

·         This is based on an average of the bank’s quarterly MLS Home Price Index forecasts, ranging from +11.6% in Q1 to +0.5% by Q4.

·         Commentary: “We expect the market to lose some momentum in the months ahead, as tighter mobility restrictions, the small back-up in long-term yields, the ongoing absence of immigration, and still-soft employment conditions will weigh. To be clear, we don’t look for a reversal in the broader (housing) market, just some moderation from (December’s) extraordinary results. After all, ‘stay at home’ doesn’t translate to ‘don’t buy a home.’

Scotiabank

·         2021 forecast: +0.4%

·         Commentary: “The delay of some activity into H2-2021, when we had already expected widespread inoculation to lift economic growth, likely means stronger second-half activity than we previously anticipated. Rock-bottom interest rates, ongoing federal and provincial fiscal supports, and the current supply-demand tightness should also contribute to home price gains over the medium-term.”

Credit Rating Agencies

Moody’s Analytics

·         2021 forecast: -7% (peak-to-trough decline)

·         Commentary: “The housing market will no longer be able to escape the poor condition of the labour market as vacancy and delinquency rates rise in 2021…Fortunately, the declines will be brief and the restoration of robust job growth in 2022 along with Canada’s strong demographics will put a floor under the housing market.”

Fitch Ratings

·         2021 forecast: -5%

·         Commentary: “We attribute the expected decline to lower demand caused by elevated levels of unemployment and increasing affordability issues…Although we expect delinquencies to increase in 2021, we do not expect the level of delinquencies, distressed sales or foreclosures to increase to the levels seen in the U.S. during the financial crisis.”

 

Have more mortgage questions or concerns? Call our office today at 250 753 2242 and we can help with all of your mortgage questions!

 

“LIKE” our Facebook page or “SHARE” this post to be entered into our quarterly draw for a $150.00 gift card!!!

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/midislandmortgagenanaimo

We thrive off of your continued support and client referrals. Let us reward you for helping us get our name out into the community! Please mention who referred you or how you heard from us, when filling out your mortgage application. The name you give us will also be entered into the same draw for coming in to see us!

 

We are open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Kevin Decker can also be reached after hours at 250 619 2262 and Jason Barudin can be reached at 250 668 2203.

Ten Home Design Trends Here To Stay For 2021 – Forbes

When it comes to interior design, 2021 isn’t too different from 2020.

Unlike Chip and Joanna Gaines, the pandemic has been the biggest influence on interior design that no one asked for. At the beginning 2020, designers were touting two-tone kitchens and bold colors as the next big trends. Little did anyone know that practical amenities like home offices, gyms and bidets would end up being the most important design trends of 2020.

Still, while the new year presents a new opportunity to refresh our homes, in certain ways it still feels as if we’re stuck in 2020. Many locations are still under stay-at-home orders, remote work has become the norm, and some children aren’t yet back in school full-time. And while we’ll see some new looks for the home this year, many of the trends influenced by the pandemic are here to stay for 2021.

Home Gyms         

         

If something positive can be taken away from the pandemic, it’s that we all need to be mindful of our heath and lifestyle choices. Gyms have not reopened everywhere and many people have adapted to home fitness routines. So, having a space to exercise couldn’t be more important, especially to Asha Kai, CEO of activewear brands Cor and Ultracor. “These days, being active is not an option— it’s essential for mental health,” she says.

Before the pandemic, Kai built a gym on the first floor of her Los Angeles home. She had more than enough equipment to stay fit when she couldn’t make her regular Pilates class.

When COVID shut everything down, it became her only option. “In the midst of running two national brands and raising three kids, working out must stay a priority if I want to perform at my best. Since the pandemic has restricted access to gyms and studios, I feel incredibly fortunate to have a home gym to keep me in shape.”

However, if you don’t have a large amount of space or a separate room, that doesn’t mean home workouts are out of the question. Personal trainer and podcast host, Doug Bopst believes extra square footage or investing in expensive equipment isn’t necessary. “You can just corner off a section of your basement, family room, or office with dumbbells, resistance bands, and a ball. Then expand off of that,” he says.

Purchasing portable cardio equipment is another option. “I advise people to buy a brand new rowing machine. Aim to spend somewhere around $900. You can lean it up against the wall when it isn’t being used to save space,” he says.

To make a home gym area blend in with your decor scheme, store dumbbells, resistance bands, and other equipment in a cube-style bookcase with bins. This unit from Wayfair is available in several shades of wood so you can coordinate it with your furniture.

Home Offices

Because technology has made the large, corporate office unnecessary in many ways, home offices are now considered a “must-have.”

“For those fortunate enough to work from home this past year, a home office or work-from-home zone has become essential. Even as business and offices reopen, many companies have made a conscious shift to a work-from-home hybrid model that only requires employees to come into the office a few days a week,” says Justina Blakeney, founder of Jungalow. “We’ll see a rise in home offices and creative solutions to create work zones. For example, if renovations are out of reach, people may take off sliding closet doors and turn a guest bedroom closet into an office.”

While most people are forced to adapt the space they currently have, it’s likely many new homes will be built with home office spaces. In homes undergoing renovations, we’ll likely see built-in desks, sectioned off alcoves, and other areas converted into workstations.

Elevated Outdoor Spaces

 “In 2020, people were spending more time in their yards for health and safety reasons. Many were sitting on their patios for the first time, socializing at a distance in their backyards, or watching birthday parades from their front yards, says Blakeney.

She predicts indoor spaces will continue to inspire outdoor design with outdoor rugs and dining sets becoming popular choices for most backyards. The same can be said for fire pits and other outdoor heat sources which have become essential in cooler climates.

Nature-Inspired Designs

The natural world has been a major influence on design in recent years. “More than ever, we’re craving a renewed bond with nature and the outdoors. Organic materials and pure textiles showcase nature’s beauty, structure, and irregularities,” Rebecca Breslin, Senior Design Manager at Wayfair Professional tells me. “Earth tones, organic shapes and textures, woven rattan, and reclaimed materials speak to our need for sustainable design and everyday wellness.”

The prominence of plants is another example of nature-inspired design. “In the past couple of years, it’s been houseplants everywhere,” says Danielle Blundell, Home Director of Apartment Therapy. “Everybody is bringing in trees, they have windowsill gardens— maybe they have an herb garden, but it’s just plants on plants on plants. And I don’t think that’s going anywhere.”

However, Blundell sees this aesthetic evolving in 2021 through the incorporation of biophilic motifs, “It’s an emphasis on flora and fauna. In the past, we’ve seen cutesy florals and very springy palates. This time around, it’s a little bit earthier, a little bit moody.”

Gallery Walls

The gallery wall is on its way to becoming a classic and isn’t likely to fall out of favor any time soon. However, according to HomeGoods Style Expert and Interior Designer, Beth Diana Smith, there is an overall shift towards making this design choice more meaningful and intentional than in previous years. “[In 2020], we saw a greater focus on cultural design tied to embracing one’s ethnicity, background, and traditions, which I hope will continue far past 2021.”

Smith recommends framing old family photos and keepsakes using a mix of metal and wooden frames, in a variety of sizes and styles, which are easy to find at stores like HomeGoods. “The gallery wall will tell the story of your family and heritage, and the varying frame styles will help to showcase different stages of your family and life.”

Uplifting Art

Brightly colored and whimsical art was a trend that picked up in 2020 to contrast the stark reality of life. Although 2021 feels like a better year already, an overall gravitation towards bright colors is likely here to stay, according to Alix Greenberg, founder of ArtSugar. “Sales for our acrylic mountable smiley faces, and colorful pieces that pop soared, illustrating that when people are stuck at home, at very least, they want to feel joy. As the new year begins and as we come closer and closer to the end of this pandemic, the feel-good art trend isn’t going away.”

Walnut Wood

Walnut wood, which many people associate with mid-century modern design has fallen in and out of style for the past decade, but it’s back and likely here to stay. “When we launched in 2011, walnut was our calling card— its rich, deep browns and dramatic grain patterns gave every customer a unique, one-of-a-kind look,” says Molly McDermott Walsh, Vice President of Marketing at Semihandmade. “Walnut’s popularity has ebbed and flowed over the past ten years, but it definitely seems to be enjoying a moment again now, as reflected in our 2020 sales.”

Art Deco

New York City and Paris based interior designer Alexander Doherty is a proponent of art deco style, which had a revival in 2020. This style will continue to remain popular because of how well it integrates into contemporary spaces. “It is ideal for new construction, like many homes in New York City that live in glass tower buildings. Art deco is a style that will incorporate itself very easily into homes with little architecture. It is key to be able to give a nod to the past while utilizing modern elements.”

For those looking to integrate more of this style into their current abodes, he suggests combining a variety of materials, styles, and time periods to create a unique layered look.

Bidets

With toilet paper shortages across the country in 2020, many Americans had no choice but to look into an alternative that some previously considered too European for their personal tastes. The bidet is currently having a moment.

From the hard installation of fixtures to less design forward toilet seat attachments, the bidet will continue to trend this year. “I think the toilet paper gate of 2020 scared us all and we have been getting a couple of inquiries about our thoughts on bidets,” Tiffany Leigh of Tiffany Leigh Design tells me.

Finishing Touches

COVID dragged out and delayed many renovations. But in 2021, these projects are finally coming to fruition. After a long wait, artist and designer Elizabeth Sutton reveals there is an overall trend of doing whatever it takes to achieve the perfect aesthetic. “People had been in the process of completing their spaces and forgetting finishing touches like decorative objects and art, once their furniture arrives. But this year, as well as the end of last year, I’ve seen a lot of art purchases, adding new rugs and painting walls to add vibrancy into homes.”

After all, if we’re spending so much time in one place, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be perfect.

Have more mortgage questions or concerns? Call our office today at 250 753 2242 and we can help with all of your mortgage questions!

 

“LIKE” our Facebook page or “SHARE” this post to be entered into our quarterly draw for a $150.00 gift card!!!

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/midislandmortgagenanaimo

We thrive off of your continued support and client referrals. Let us reward you for helping us get our name out into the community! Please mention who referred you or how you heard from us, when filling out your mortgage application. The name you give us will also be entered into the same draw for coming in to see us!

 

We are open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Kevin Decker can also be reached after hours at 250 619 2262 and Jason Barudin can be reached at 250 668 2203.

 

What Is Financial Literacy?

What Is Financial Literacy?

According to the Wikipedia definition, Financial literacy is the possession of the set of skills and knowledge that allows an individual to make informed and effective decisions with all of their financial resources. Which at its core is basically the ability to understand how money works.

Importance of Financial Literacy

Financial literacy is important because it’s one of the things that will impact just about every aspect of a person’s life. Whether young or old, single or married, our finances play a key role.  Developing financial literacy involves learning and practicing a variety of skills related to budgeting, managing and paying off debts, understanding the importance of savings and understanding credit and investment products.

Budgeting Basics

Creating and maintaining a budget is one of the most basic aspects of staying on top of your finances. And the good news is you don’t need to be a math wiz to make this happen. With the prevalence of online resources and apps to help make budgeting easier, the hardest part might just be picking which budget resource to use.

Importance of Savings

Saving plays an important role in long term financial planning but for many it often becomes low on their priority scale. When you are young, it can be easy to ignore things like retirement since it seems so far off in the future. The reality is saving money is important because it helps protect you in the event of a financial emergency. Additionally, saving money can help you pay for large purchases, avoid debt and reduce your financial stress.

Credit and Debt

Credit can be an extremely useful tool, if it’s managed correctly. Making the wrong decisions when it comes to finances could end up costing you more than just dollars and cents. A number of studies have demonstrated a cyclical link between financial worries and mental health and in turn poor mental health can negatively impact on physical health.  It’s important to grasp the concepts of good credit practices as early on as possible, whether it’s understanding The making of a credit score and why it matters or recognizing the difference between good debt and bad debt.

Want to Improve Your Financial Literacy Skills?

Using financial tools and calculators can help you stay informed and engaged in your financial outlook. Among these tools there are some great Budget Planners where you can create your budget and receive personalized tips and suggestions to improve your financial situation. A Financial Goal Calculator is designed to help you manage your debt and savings goals by understanding how different pay down amounts will impact the timeline for your goals. A Credit Card Payment Calculator can help you find out how long it will take to pay off your credit card and explore options to pay it back faster. As I often say with mortgages, the right credit card can also make a difference so I would also recommend checking out a Credit Card Comparison Tool to compare credit card interest rates, annual fees, rewards and other features.

While I recommend speaking with a mortgage professional for expert advice, if you are looking for general information these Mortgage Calculators can help you:

  • Get an idea of the maximum mortgage amount you qualify for based on your income.
  • Compare payment frequencies (weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly and monthly).
  • Discover how many years you can shorten your amortization and how much interest savings you will realize by making a prepayment (lump sum) on your mortgage.
  • Compare renting and buying based on your current monthly rent, funds towards your down payment and your desired monthly payment if you purchased a home.

 

Have more mortgage questions or concerns? Call our office today at 250 753 2242 and we can help with all of your mortgage questions!

 

“LIKE” our Facebook page or “SHARE” this post to be entered into our quarterly draw for a $150.00 gift card!!!

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/midislandmortgagenanaimo

We thrive off of your continued support and client referrals. Let us reward you for helping us get our name out into the community! Please mention who referred you or how you heard from us, when filling out your mortgage application. The name you give us will also be entered into the same draw for coming in to see us!

 

We are open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Kevin Decker can also be reached after hours at 250 619 2262 and Jason Barudin can be reached at 250 668 2203.

Mid-Island Mortgage & Savings Ltd. & the Christmas Angels…

Mid-Island Mortgage & Savings Ltd. & the Christmas Angels…

Every year our team at Mid-Island Mortgage & Savings Ltd. Nanaimo work with Volunteer Nanaimo and their Christmas Angels program to sponsor a family in need within the local community. Here are some photos from this year’s gift haul for the amazing family…

If you would like to sponsor a family next year through the Christmas Angels you can contact Rita at the Volunteer Nanaimo offices by email at vnanaimo@gmail.com. 

Have mortgage questions or concerns? Call our office today at 250 753 2242 and we can help with all of your mortgage questions!

 

“LIKE” our Facebook page or “SHARE” this post to be entered into our quarterly draw for a $150.00 gift card!!!

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/midislandmortgagenanaimo

We thrive off of your continued support and client referrals. Let us reward you for helping us get our name out into the community! Please mention who referred you or how you heard from us, when filling out your mortgage application. The name you give us will also be entered into the same draw for coming in to see us!

 

We are open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Kevin Decker can also be reached after hours at 250 619 2262 and Jason Barudin can be reached at 250 668 2203.

 

-Thank you Essential Service Workers!-

Today’s Mortgage Interest Rates: Rates Smash Another Record Low – According To Forbes

Today’s Mortgage Interest Rates: Rates Smash Another Record Low – According To Forbes

Mortgage rates made history again this week. Interest rates on the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage sunk 12 basis points to 2.72%, a historical low.

Covid-19 outbreaks across the country overshadowed the news of strong vaccine candidates from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna, as any approved vaccine may still be months away from reaching most Americans. And, another potential shutdown without any stimulus package in sight has caused the economy to wobble, depressing bond yields and mortgage rates.

 

Housing Remains Resilient Despite Economic Turbulence

The surprisingly strong housing market is just one more example of how 2020 is truly unique.

Low mortgage rates are certainly one driver of strong home sales this year. The average commitment rate (that’s the interest rate minus fees and mortgage points) for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 2.83% in October, down from 2.89% in September, according to Freddie Mac. In contrast, the average commitment rate for 2019 was 3.94%.

Existing home sales shot up for the fifth consecutive month in October, rising 26.6% year-over-year, amid political and economic turmoil. Some 6.85 million home sales were the highest since November 2005, says Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting at the Mortgage Bankers Association.

“The housing market has only strengthened since the pandemic-induced lows in the spring. MBA’s mortgage application data show similar trends, with early signs that the increase in sales will continue. Purchase applications have now increased year-over-year for more than six months,” Kan says.

What might be most surprising is that sales remain strong as home prices continue to rise. The median existing-home price in October, according to the National Association of Realtors, was $313,000, nearly 16% higher than the same time last year. First-time homebuyers made up 32% of all sales in October.

“Considering that we remain in a period of stubbornly high unemployment relative to pre-pandemic levels, the housing sector has performed remarkably well this year,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “The surge in sales in recent months has now offset the spring market losses.”

 

Housing Shortage Persists

Instrumental in keeping home prices up is the pronounced shortage of homes for sale and lagging new construction. Although housing starts in October were up 6.7%, it’s still not enough to keep up with demand.

The number of homes for sale fell from the previous month to 1.42 million, which is about 2.5 months’ worth of inventory at today’s buying pace, a record low.

Expensive materials coupled with a shortage of land are two main hurdles builders are facing. High tariffs on Canadian lumber have contributed to the exorbitant cost of materials.

 

30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgages

The average rate for the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage dove 12 basis points to 2.72%, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey. A basis point is one one-hundredth of a percentage point. Last week it was at 2.84%. This time last year, the 30-year fixed was 3.66%.

Borrowers with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage of $300,000 with today’s interest rate of 2.72% will pay $1,219.96 per month in principal and interest (taxes and fees not included). The total interest paid over the life of the loan will be $139,186.19. That same mortgage taken out a year ago would cost an additional $55,479.20 in interest over the life of the loan.

 

15-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgages

The average interest rate on the 15-year fixed mortgage slid 6 basis points 2.28%.

This time last year, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage was at 3.15%.

Borrowers with a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage of $300,000 with today’s interest rate of 2.28% will pay $1,969.45 per month in principal and interest (taxes and fees not included). The total interest paid over the life of the loan will be $54,500.57.

 

5/1 ARMs

The average rate on a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage plunged 26 basis points to 2.85%, down from 3.11% last week.

Last year, the 5/1 ARM was 3.39%.

ARMs are home loans that have an interest rate that fluctuates with the market. In the case of 5/1 ARMs, the first five years have a fixed rate and then switch to a variable rate after that. That means when the average rate rises or falls, so will your rate.

Traditionally, ARMs have lower interest rates than fixed-rate options, making them an attractive choice for borrowers who plan to sell before the fixed period expires.

 

What Low Rates Mean for Borrowers

Mortgage rates are at record lows, so this could be an opportune time for many folks who want to save money on their home loan or refinance their existing mortgage.

Borrowers who want to get the lowest rate should make sure their credit is in good shape. Lenders reserve their ultra-low rates for those with a strong credit profile, as this is a major indicator that borrowers are at low risk for late payments or default. In fact, borrowers with lower credit scores can be charged one percentage point or more than borrowers with very good or excellent scores.

Before you apply for a mortgage, check your credit score. One way you can improve your score relatively quickly is to pay down debt. You also can request credit for paying monthly bills on time, such as your internet or utility bills.

In addition to your credit score, lenders will look at your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI. This is your total monthly debt divided by your gross monthly income. It’s basically a snapshot of how much you owe versus how much you earn. The lower your DTI, the better chances you have of getting a lower interest rate. Most lenders require a minimum DTI of 43% just to qualify for a mortgage or refinance.

Finally, studies have shown that people who shop around tend to get lower rates than those who get a mortgage from the first lender they talk to. Know what the current average interest rate is as well as what your credit score, income, debt and expenses are before you start applying. If lenders offer you a rate that’s higher than you expected, be sure to ask them why so you can begin improving those areas to qualify for a lower rate.

 

Have more mortgage questions or concerns? Call our office today at 250 753 2242 and we can help with all of your mortgage questions!

 

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We are open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Kevin Decker can also be reached after hours at 250 619 2262 and Jason Barudin can be reached at 250 668 2203.

 

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The Bank of Mom & Dad