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Stress Test Rule Changes Confirmed

Breaking Mortgage News The current rule for mortgage approvals is that you must qualify as if the interest rate is 4.79% or your contract rate plus 2%, whichever is higher. This is known as the stress test rate. Its purpose is to determine if someone can still afford their home even if rates were to rise. Effective June 1st, 2021, the stress test rate is being raised to 5.25% on both insured and uninsured mortgages. It is estimated that this increase will decrease homebuyers’ purchasing power by around four to five percent. Unfortunately, as of June 1st, most pre-approvals under the previous stress test will no longer be accepted and you must qualify at the new rate. If you currently have a pre-approval with Valko Financial, please call our office at (519) 745-8019 to review the amount that you are qualified for. We are still committed to arranging mortgage financing for the purchase of your …
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Weak April Jobs Report Reflects Canadian Lockdown

Original Source:  Dr. Sherry Cooper, DLC   Canada’s Jobs Recovery Impaired by Third-Wave Virus Restrictions   This morning, Statistics Canada released the April 2021 Labour Force Survey showing a major deterioration in the jobs market following the third-wave Covid containment measures. Employment fell by 207,100 (-1.1%) in April, and the unemployment rate rose 0.6 percentage points to 8.1%.Employment declined in both full-time (-129,000; -0.8%) and part-time (-78,000; -2.3%) work. The number of employed people working less than half their usual hours increased by 288,000 (+27.2%). The number of Canadians working from home grew by 100,000 to 5.1 million. Total hours worked fell 2.7% in April, driven by declines in educational services, accommodation and food services, and retail trade. The labour underutilization rate, which captures the full range of available people who want to work, rose 2.3 percentage points to 17.0% in April. The number of Canadians unemployed for 27 weeks or more–the long-term unemployed–increased to 486,000. This group might well be the most scarred by the pandemic in terms of their job prospects and …
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OSFI Proposes Rule Changes to The Stress Test

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) recently proposed a mortgage rule change to help slow down the overheated housing market. The current rule for mortgage approvals is that you must qualify as if the interest rate is 4.79% OR the contract rate plus 2%, whichever is higher. This is referred to as the Stress Test. The OSFI is proposing that on uninsured mortgages (mortgages with 20% down or more), the stress test rate is increased to 5.25% OR the contract rate plus 2%, whichever is higher. Below is an example of how much income it would take to qualify for a $300,000 mortgage at no stress test, the current stress test, and the proposed changes. The OSFI is inviting industry stakeholders to submit feedback on the rule changes by May 7th, 2021. OSFI will reveal its final plan for the rule changes on May 24th, 2021, with an enactment date of June 1st, 2021. As a heart-centred team that advocates for fair …
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Housing Continued to Surge in February

Click here for the full article by Dr Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist at Dominion Lending Centres. Today the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released statistics showing national home sales hit another all-time high in February 2021. Canadian home sales increased a whopping 6.6% month-on-month (m-o-m), building on the largest winter housing boom in history. On a year-over-year (y-o-y) basis, existing home sales surged an amazing 39.2%. As the chart below shows, February’s activity blew out all previous records for the month.  The seasonally adjusted activity was running at an annualized pace of 783,636 units in February. CREA’s revised forecast for 2021 is in the neighbourhood of 700,000 home sales. Strong demand notwithstanding, sales may be hard-pressed to maintain current activity levels in the traditionally busier spring months absent a surge of much-needed new supply. However, that could materialize as current COVID restrictions are increasingly eased and the weather starts to improve. The month-over-month …
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Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate at 0.25%

The Bank of Canada announced today that the overnight rate of 0.25% will hold. The Bank rate and deposit rate will hold at 0.50% and 0.25% respectively. The overnight rate is the interest rate at which major financial institutions borrow and lend money amongst themselves. The lower the overnight rate is, the less expensive it is for Canadian consumers to borrow money. Canada’s economy continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, exemplified by a GDP growth of 9.6% in the final quarter of 2020. GDP growth in the first quarter of 2021 is also expected to be positive, contradicting early forecasts in January. Consumers and businesses adapting to current restrictions and the continued surge of the housing market are key contributors to the recovery of the economy. While the economy has improved, there still remains economic slack given the uncertainty of the virus and the journey to economic growth. The …
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Strong Canadian Economic Growth in Q4 and January

This morning’s Stats Canada release showed that economic growth in the final quarter of last year was a surprisingly strong 9.6% (annualized). The surge in growth in January was even more interesting, estimated at a 0.5% (not annualized) pace. If these numbers pan out, it means that Canada did not suffer a contraction during the second wave and ensuing lockdown. The January figure is noteworthy in that retail sales plunged as nonessential stores were closed in key parts of the country as we faced surging numbers of COVID cases. The strength came from resources, housing and government spending and the mild weather likely helped. At its last meeting in January, the Bank of Canada (BoC) estimated that Q4 growth would come in at 4.8% (half the actual 9.6% pace) and that there would be a net contraction in Q1 of this year. The strength in Q4 emanated from very hot …
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Market Interest Rates are Rising Almost Everywhere

Longer-Term Yields are Rising Despite Central Bank Inaction While central banks hold overnight rates at record lows, anchoring short-term interest rates and the prime rate, mid-to-long-term government yields have been rising since early this month. As the chart below shows, the 5-year Government of Canada bond, upon which mortgage rates are generally tethered, are currently at 0.69%, up 27 basis points since January 29th. This is the highest 5-year yield since late-March 2020.  Canadian bond yields have increased more than in the US, perhaps due to the surge in commodity prices, most notably oil, which has climbed 16.9% in just the past month, taking the year-to-date gain to 27%.Growing government debt arising from fiscal measures to cushion the blow of the pandemic and stimulate the economy has set the stage for higher government bond yields in much of the developed world. Inflation concerns are mounting. In a rare move, yesterday Statistics Canada revised …
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Kitchener is The 8th Most Expensive City for Rent in Canada

Image via Padmapper According to a recent study by Padmapper, Kitchener is one of the most expensive cities to rent in Canada. The report shows that the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Kitchener is $1,390, positioning them at 8th place in the nation. For a two-bedroom apartment, the average rate of rent is $1,670. This is up two positions from a previous report which shows that rent is increasing at a rate of 5.3% every year. Kitchener comes in just ahead of Hamilton and Montreal on the list. Rounding out the top three is Burnaby, Toronto, and Vancouver. For the full report from Padmapper, click here.

A Semi-Detached Home in Kitchener Sells for $300K Above Asking Price

A semi-detached home in Kitchener just sold for $300,000 above the asking price. The Kitchener-Waterloo real estate market is clearly not slowing down for the time being. Located in Kitchener’s Laurentian West neighbourhood, the home was listed for $500,000. 53 offers later, it sold for $801,000. According to the story covered by CTV News Kitchener, residents in the area were not surprised, citing the booming housing market in the Region of Waterloo. Kitchener-Waterloo is a very attractive region for people looking to move out of bigger cities. Statistics Canada recognized Waterloo Region as one of the fastest-growing places, population-wise, in the country. “It’s just driving up that purchase price,” said Nicole Pohl, president of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors. “We just do not have enough supply and, when there’s high demand, that’s just the reality of economics.” What are your thoughts on the surging housing market in Waterloo Region? Comment …
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Housing Continued to Surge in January

The housing market is still on the rise across Canada according to a recent press release from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Although supply continues to be an issue, home prices still remain strong and are expected to be for the entirety of 2021. Read below for an in-depth analysis from Dr. Sherry Cooper, the Chief Economist at Dominion Lending Centres. Click here to read the Original Article from Dr. Sherry Cooper. Today the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released statistics showing national home sales hit another all-time high in January 2021. Canadian home sales increased 2.0% month-on-month (m-o-m) building on December’s 7.0% gain. On a year-over-year (y-o-y) basis, existing home sales surged 35.2%. As the chart below shows, January activity blew out all previous records for the month. The seasonally adjusted activity was running at an annualized pace of 736,452 units in January, significantly above CREA’s current 2021 …
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