10 Mar

Is Today The Right Day To Buy Yourself A Home?


Posted by: Peter Puzzo

Q. Is today the right day to buy yourself a home?

A. Today is the right day assuming one has found a specific property that works for them on all levels.

This question arises on a near daily basis within our social circles and most of the chatter around the topic is largely noise. The noise needs to be blocked out so that you can evaluate your own personal circumstances fairly.

If the conversation is about an owner occupied property which one plans to reside at for at least the next 7-10 years, then arguably yes the right time to buy is today.

Over a 7-10 year horizon, the day to day, even the month to month gyrations of the market will tend to resemble those of a small yo-yo on a large escalator. Some ups and downs although with the lows often not dropping below the second last high. This is true of nearly any major urban 25-year chart of Real Estate Values.

There are some key considerations that will dictate not only the continued value but perhaps, more importantly, your own ability to stay put for that magic 7-10 year time frame.

-Recreational amenities
-Distance from workplace
-Potential basement suite revenue
the list goes on…

Getting all of these variables aligned is something that takes dedication on the part of the both the buyer and their Realtor. The hunt itself can easily consume a few months or more, and for some may result in over 100 viewings. This is more than enough to juggle without also trying to ‘time the market’ on that perfect home.

Speaking of timing; consider allowing for a small overlap during which you have access to both the current residence as well as the new one. Being able to install new flooring throughout, complete interior painting, or upgrade kitchens and bathrooms, without having to live in the middle of the disruption is well worth an extra month of rent or the marginal costs of bridge financing. The costs involved are surprisingly lower than most clients expect.

Keep in mind during your search that the MLS #’s are an imperfect indicator of what is happening today in the market, as in literally ‘today’, MLS data reflects purchase contracts that were negotiated 30, 60, 90 or even 120 days prior to the completion date which was itself in the previous months report. In other words, by the time the MLS data indicates a trend one way or another said trend has in fact been in motion for as long as 6 months and could be either reversing or ramping up further.

Where then to get the most accurate data?

Talk to front line folks, Realtors, Brokers, Appraisers, etc. for a better handle on up to the minute trends. Ask an Industry Expert – like your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

Short term fluctuations in values and/or interest rates are themselves not the key factors in many people’s decision to buy, instead it is finding that perfect combination of all the factors that create a home within a community and the realization that homeowners win in the long run by owning, not by sitting on the sidelines.

It is all about finding a place you can call home for the duration. To be able to plant roots and become a part of a community. Home ownership will undeniably continue to be a part of living the Canadian dream.

Perhaps the (short term) timing will feel imperfect, as it did for presale buyers in 2007, whose completion dates were set for Spring 2009. However 7-10 years later most will be glad that they bought when they did. In fact, many were smiling again as soon as the Spring of 2010.

Home ownership remains the one true forced savings plan, and one of the best investments we make socially as it provides an individual and/or a family with a certain sense of security, stability, and community. Block out the noise and do what is right for you.

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Dustan is part of DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts based in Coquitlam, BC.

17 Feb

Financing Solution – Home Equity Line Of Credit


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


Financing Solution – Home Equity Line Of Credit

The Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) lets you split up your mortgage debt and borrow against your equity at low rates.

The unique feature of this mortgage product is that you can slice the pie (the mortgage balance) into various segments. All of it is registered against the subject property title as just one charge. This gives you the ability to diversify your risk in the marketplace.

If you had a $480,000 outstanding mortgage against a property (with 20% equity or a value of $600,000) you could divide it up into different segments. For example, you might place $200,000 in a variable-rate mortgage, $200,000 as fixed term and $80,000 line of credit.

Spreading the risk across different markets helps you plan for the future, as there are different governing bodies controlling different aspects of the marketplace.

Variable-rate mortgages and lines of credit (LOCs) are based on the prime lending rate and controlled by the Bank of Canada. Fixed rates are based on bond yields and dictated by the lenders themselves. Most other lenders follow the trends of the major chartered banks in Canada.

There are two types of line of credit in Canada: secured (registered against real estate) and unsecured (guaranteed by one’s promise to repay). I can only assist with secured LOCs. The secured LOC means less risk for the lender as it is based on the market value of the home to a maximum of 80% loan-to-value. Therefore the rate is lower and the borrowing ceiling is higher.  On secured LOCs the rate is Prime (2.70%) +0.50% which is 3.20%.  This means that if you had a primary residence with a market value of $500,000 free and clear of any other type of mortgage then you could secure a $400,000 HELOC against it at 3.20%.

Unsecured LOC rates vary depending on the lender, but a safe starting range is 5-7%. And on unsecured LOCs, lenders tend to forward much less than secured LOCs; they range from $5,000-$40,000.

Here is an example of a client I recently assisted. We were able to obtain a HELOC mortgage product from a Canadian charter bank.

  • Current residence (located in the Greater Vancouver area) appraised at $1.15MM.
  • Current mortgage balance, $445,000.
    Maximum loan limit, $920,000 (80% of market value: 1,150,000 x 80%).
    They opted to secure the current outstanding balance of $445,000 into a variable-rate mortgage at Prime-0.45% or 2.25%.
    The additional equity of $475,000 was set up for access across 3 different LOCs; one at $159,000 and two at $158,000.
    These clients now have access to $475,000 for any future needs: renos, emergency, investment opportunities, post-secondary education for their children.

But while a HELOC  allows for product diversification and long-term planning, it is not for everyone. It can be a bad idea if it’s just used as access to easy cash. One needs to possess high self-discipline, as the funds are extremely accessible. Using the home as a piggybank can backfire disastrously.

A HELOC is also not available to all homeowners. There must be enough equity in the home before a lender will consider it.

Please contact your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to discuss the potential of structuring a HELOC mortgage product against your home.

Michael Hallett


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Michael is part of DLC Producers West Financial based in Coquitlam, BC.



9 Feb

10 First Time Homebuyer Mistakes


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


Ten Things In a Real Estate Transaction That Can Affect Your MortgageIf you’re on the hunt for your first home and want to have a smooth and successful home purchasing experience avoid these common first-time home buying mistakes.

1. Thinking you don’t need a real estate agent

You might be able to find a house on your own but there are still many aspects of buying real estate that can confuse a first-time buyer. Rely on your agent to negotiate offers, inspections, financing and other details. The money you save on commission can be quickly gobbled up by a botched offer or overlooked repairs

2. Getting your heart set on a home before you do your homework

The house that’s love, at first sight, may not always be what it seems, so keep an open mind. Plus, you may be too quick to go over budget or may overlook a potential pitfall if you jump in too fast.

3. Picking a fixer-upper because the listing price is cheaper

That old classic may have loads of potential, but be extra diligent in the inspection period. What will it really cost to get your home where it needs to be? Negotiating a long due-diligence period will give you time to get estimates from contractors in case you need to back out.

4. Committing to more than you can afford

Don’t sacrifice retirement savings or an emergency fund for mortgage payments. You need to stay nimble to life’s changes, and overextending yourself could put your investments – including your house – on the line.

5. Going with the first agent who finds you

Don’t get halfway into house hunting before you realize your agent isn’t right for you. The best source: a referral from friends. Ask around and take the time to speak with your potential choices before you commit.

6. Diving into renovations as soon as you buy

Yes, renos may increase the value of your home, but don’t rush. Overextending your credit to get it all done fast doesn’t always pay off. Take time to make a solid plan and the best financial decisions. Living in your home for a while will also help you plan the best functional changes to the layout.

7. Choosing a house without researching the neighbourhood

It may be the house of your dreams, but annoying neighbours or a nearby industrial zone can be a rude awakening. Spend time in the area before you make an offer – talk to local business owners and residents to determine the pros and cons of living there.

8. Researching your broker and agent, but not your lawyer

New buyers often put all their energy into learning about mortgage rates and offers but don’t forget that the final word in any deal comes from your lawyer. As with finding agents, your best source for referrals will be friends and business associates.

9. Fixating on the lowest interest rate

Yes, a reasonable rate is important, but not at the expense of heavy restrictions and penalties. Make a solid long-term plan to pay off your mortgage and then find one that’s flexible enough to accommodate life changes, both planned and unexpected. Be sure to talk your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to learn more.

10. Opting out of mortgage insurance

Your home is your largest investment so be sure to protect it. Mortgage insurance not only buys you peace of mind, it also allows for more flexible financing options. Plus, it allows you to take advantage of available equity to pay down debts or make financial investments.


Marc Shendale


Genworth Canada – Vice President Business Development

27 Jan

Upgrading Your Home: Refinance Plus Improvements Mortgage Option


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


Purchase Plus ImprovementsWhen it comes to mortgages and renovations it is important that you have your financing in place before you take the sledgehammer out of the garage! Lenders do not like coming into play halfway through a renovation. Planning is essential to ensure you will have enough funds to cover the renovation costs.

Did you know there are mortgage products available that may help you with the costs of renovations above the 80% loan-to-value refinancing rule? The Refinance Plus Improvements Mortgage is a great way to incorporate the costs of improvements into your mortgage.

Here’s a list of typical Refinance Plus Improvements Guidelines:

1. The improvement funds above the 80% loan-to-value mark for the current as-is market value of your home will be held back by the lender until your renovations are complete.

2. Lending value is based on an Appraisal that states the As-Is Complete Value

3. You will need quotes upfront for the proposed improvements

4. You may need additional funds to pay deposits to contractors

5. Do not start demolitions before an Appraisal is done

6. Funds available are typically limited to 20% of the current appraised value up to $40,000 (ask a mortgage broker about other mortgage options if you require more funds)

7. Renovations typically will need to be completed within 90 days from the date the mortgage completes

8. You must meet the lender’s credit and debt servicing requirements

Stay on Budget and on Time by Following these 5 Simple Steps:

1. Finalize the design before you start!

2. Contact Suppliers to make sure that they have the materials you have chosen in stock or that they can be delivered quickly

3. Obtain quotes from 2 or more reputable contractors

4. Apply and secure any permits that are required before your mortgage completion date

5. Give your contractor a deadline to ensure you don’t go over the allotted time to complete the improvements

Start the renovation planning by contacting your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional first!


Kathleen Dediluke


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Kathleen is part of DLC Integrity Mortgage BC based in Nanaimo, B

20 Jan

Summary Of The New Mortgage Market


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


Summary of the New Mortgage MarketThere have been a lot of changes in the mortgage market over the past few months so many Canadian’s plans regarding homeownership may have shifted quite a bit from last year.

First, new qualification rules came to pass in October where even though actual contract rates are sitting at about 2.79% all Canadians have to now qualify at the Bank of Canada Benchmark rate of 4.64% to prove payments can still be met when rates go up in the future. That has taken about 20% of people’s purchase power out of the equation.

The second round of rules were implemented at the end of November with the government requiring banks to carry more of the cost or lending having to do with how they utilize mortgage insurance and the level of capital they have to have on reserve. This means it is more costly for banks to lend so they are passing some of that cost to Canadians.

We now have a tiered rate pricing system based on whether you are “insurable” and meet new insurer requirement to qualify at 4.64% with a maximum 25-year amortization (CMHC, Genworth, Canada Guaranty are the 3 insurers in Canada) or are “uninsurable” where you may have more than 20% down but can’t qualify at the Benchmark rate or need an amortization longer than 25-years to qualify or are self-employed so can’t meet traditional income qualification requirements. Canadians who are uninsurable will be charged a premium to their rate of anywhere from 15-40bps. So your rate would go from 2.79% to 2.94% at the very least.

Then in BC there was the announcement of the BC HOME Partnership Program (BCHPP) in January. We have finally had some clarification on how this works but the benefits are not as grand as the BC Government would like them to appear.

The BCHPP is a tool to assist First Time Homebuyers supplement their down payment by the government matching what they have saved up to 5% of the purchase price. While this may help some clients bring more money to the table we have to factor a payment on that “loan” into the debt-servicing mix so they will actually qualify for less by way of a mortgage. They have more of a down payment but can not get as high a mortgage so it’s very close to a wash.

Lastly, as of mid-January, CMHC announced they are increasing mortgage insurance premiums on March 17th. Genworth and Canada Guaranty are likely to follow. The insurance premiums are based on a percentage of the mortgage amount requested and how much you have to put down. For people with 5% down the premium will go from 3.60% to 4.00% and if you want to take advantage of the BCHPP program the premium will go from 3.85% up to 4.5%

What does this all mean? Overall it is more costly and more confusing to get a mortgage today than we have seen in many years. With the complexity of the new mortgage market, now more than ever buyers need someone with extensive knowledge to help them sort through their options – such as your local Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional.

If we can be of assistance to you or someone you know, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Kristin Woolard


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Kristin is part of DLC National based in Port Coquitlam, BC.

11 Jan

5 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Shopping For A Mortgage


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


5 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Shopping For a MortgageAvoid these 5 common mistakes, and you will have no problem getting your mortgage faster, more efficiently, and with a clear understanding of the process:

1. Thinking banks are the first and best place to go for a mortgage

Mortgage brokers can often beat the bank rates by using different lending institutions. The bank is limited to one lender, but if you use a mortgage broker, they have the option to shop for you with multiple lenders to find you the best product.

2. Not knowing your credit score

Your credit score is a HUGE factor in your mortgage application. The first thing lenders look at is your history and your score—then from there they build your file.

You should know where you stand because so much of your lending availability is tied to your credit score. In mere minutes, a mortgage broker can help you obtain a copy of your credit report, and go through it to ensure the information is correct.

3. Shopping with too many lenders

When you shop from institution to institution you will have your credit score pulled multiple times. Lenders typically frown upon this and it may interfere with your mortgage application. If you go to a mortgage broker though, your score is pulled ONE time only.

4. Not keeping your taxes up-to-date

Plain and simple: If you are self-employed or the mortgage application is requiring a 2-year income average to qualify (utilizing overtime wages and/or bonuses) and you haven’t filed your taxes and kept them up to date, you cannot get a mortgage. Lenders will ask for your notice of assessment if your tax filings are not up to date, and you will not get your mortgage until they are filed properly and a Notice of Adjustment from the latest year it is received.

5. Not understanding that the real estate market you qualify in TODAY will adjust in the future.

Rates may be at an all-time low right now, but new rules, government regulation, and changes when you are up for renewal can change the circumstances. You must be able to carry your mortgage payment at a higher rate or with new laws imposed.

Remember, securing a mortgage isn’t always about getting the best deal. It’s about getting a home you want and establishing yourself as a homeowner. That means not overextending yourself and taking your qualifying amount to the maximum. Leave some breathing room because no one knows what the future may hold!

But one thing’s for sure – you should contact a mortgage professional at Dominion Lending Centres!

Geoff Lee


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Geoff is part of DLC GLM Mortgage Group based in Vancouver, BC.

6 Jan

Canada Shows Unexpected Strength With Job Surge and Trade Surplus


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


Canada's Jobs Report Dwarfs ForecastsDecember’s jobs report was unambiguously strong showing employment gains of 53,700 (0.3%), the result of gains in full-time work. Finally, for the first time this year, full-time jobs outpaced part-time. The unemployment rate increased 0.1 percentage points to 6.9% as more people entered the labour force. This is evidence that the economy may be absorbing the slack that’s kept interest rates near record lows.

Full-time positions rose 81,300 in December from the previous month, the biggest gain since March 2012, and even after taking away 27,600 part-time jobs, the total employment gain of 53,700 shattered the economist forecasts for a small decline.

For 2016 as a whole, employment grew by 1.2%, compared to a growth rate of 0.9% in 2015. Payrolls rose by 214,000 last year, the fastest December-to-December growth since 2012.

Quebec and British Columbia posted job gains in December, while there was little change in the other provinces. In 2016, BC recorded the fastest employment growth rate among the provinces for the second consecutive year, up 3.1%. The gains were evenly split be tweet full- and part-time work and spread across many industries.

In another report, Canada’s trade balance returned to surplus in November for the first time since September 2014, moving from a $1.0 billion deficit in October to a $526 million surplus in November. Exports rose 4.3% on the strength of increased exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products as well as record exports to countries other than the US. Imports were up 0.7%, mainly on higher imports of energy products.

The data may signal Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz’s long-awaited economic revival is finally on solid ground. Poloz has stressed ahead of his Jan. 18 rate decision that there is still plenty of slack in the job market which may be adding to divergence with a recovering US economy.

The job gain made the fourth quarter the best since 2010 and turned 2016 into a breakout year from some of the slowest hiring since World War II. The trade surplus means struggling energy and manufacturing companies may contribute to growth aided by debt-fueled consumer spending on houses and cars.This would be just in time to help offset what is likely to be a slowdown in housing in Canada this year in the wake of federal government mortgage initiatives to tighten mortgage credit conditions.

Provincial Unemployment Rates in December In Descending Order (percent)
(Previous months in brackets)

 Newfoundland and Labrador        14.9 (14.3)
— Prince Edward Island                        10.7 (10.8)
— New Brunswick                                      9.4   (8.7)
— Alberta                                                        8.5   (9.0)
— Nova Scotia                                            8.3   (8.0)
— Quebec                                                       6.6   (6.2)
   — Saskatchewan                                         6.5   (6.8)
— Ontario                                                       6.4   (6.3)
— Manitoba                                                   6.3   (6.2)
— British Columbia                                   5.8   (6.1)
US Payrolls Rise As Wages Increase The Most Since 2009
US non-farm payrolls rose 156,000 in December. While below economists forecast, this was a solid gain pointing to an economy at close to full employment. The jobless rate ticked up to 4.7% as the labour force grew. Worker shortages have become more prevalent in the US, putting upward pressure on wages. The job market will continue to boost consumer spending in 2017.


According to Bloomberg News, the latest payrolls report brought the advance for 2016 to 2.16 million, after a gain of about 2.7 million in 2015. The streak of gains above 2 million is the longest since 1999, when Bill Clinton was president.

Among the details of the December report, the participation rate, which shows the share of working-age people in the labor force, increased to 62.7%, from 62.6%. It has been hovering close to its lowest level in more than three decades largely as a result of demographic changes.
Some measures of labor-market slack showed improvement. Americans who are working part-time who would rather have a full-time position fell to 5.6 million.The underemployment rate — which includes part-time workers who’d prefer a full-time job and people who want to work but have given up looking — dropped to 9.2% from 9.3%.

Bottom Line: There is little doubt that the Fed will continue to hike interest rates this year. The Trump administration takes office on January 20 and has promised to cut taxes, increase spending on infrastructure and cut regulations. This fiscal stimulus will likely boost economic activity in 2018 and lead to higher budget deficits. The bond markets have already sold off in anticipation of such moves, pushing mortgage rates higher in Canada.


Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
Sherry is an award-winning authority on finance and economics with over 30 years of bringing economic insights and clarity to Canadians.


28 Dec

Why Michael Jackson Died Broke And How To Learn From His Mistakes


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


Why Michael Jackson Died Broke and How To Learn From His MistakesThe King of Pop made the best-selling album of all time, Thriller (which came out 34 years and two days ago!), with sales of around 65 million copies. Yet in spite of the huge revenues he continued to receive from such recordings, Michael Jackson died broke. How could this be? The answer to this question reveals some important lessons for anyone who wants to achieve long-term financial freedom.

Michael’s main problem was that as his income dwindled in recent years, he never changed his spending habits. In 2005, a forensic accountant testified that Michael was spending $20-30 million more per year than he earned and was in debt by as much as $285 million. In 2001, he borrowed $200 million from Bank of America just to stay afloat. His 2,600 acre private estate, Neverland, cost $5 million a year to maintain and faced repossession twice.

Unfortunately, Michael didn’t understand the difference between good debt and bad debt. Borrowing money to pay for living expenses and possessions that never pay a return is bad debt. It may give you short-term pleasure, but it offers no long-term value.

Instead of buying the latest big screen TV and taking exotic cruises, set more money aside so you can eventually start investing in assets that will increase in value over the long term. Good debt is things that will generate income for you over time. Some examples are borrowing to pay for post-secondary education, seminars, books, retirement investments, strategic renovations to your home, or the purchase of a revenue property.

It’s true that Michael did choose some good debt, like buying the rights to 259 Beatles’ tracks. Today, his estate has an estimated value of over $2 billion.

Here’s the key lesson you want to implement. Live within your means and set aside at least 10% of your income to invest in cash flow producing assets. Do this, and you will never have to lose any precious sleep worrying about how you will make ends meet.

If you would like some tips on using the equity in your home to start investing in return-producing assets—so you can enjoy financial security, talk to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional. We can offer objective advice and give you access to innovative, affordable financing so you can position yourself for an abundant future.

Alisa Aragon


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Alisa is part of DLC Canadian Mountain View based in Maple Ridge, BC

19 Dec

Home Sales Cool In November, While Prices Still Rise


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


Home Sales Cool in November, While Prices Still RiseThis morning, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released its national real estate statistics for November showing the largest monthly decline in activity since August 2012. The number of home resales now stands at its lowest level since September 2015. Activity was down on a month-over-month basis in about two-thirds of all local markets, including Vancouver and Toronto. This suggests that recent efforts by the federal government to cool the nation’s housing market is having an impact.

“November was the first full month in which the expanded stress-test was in effect for home buyers with less than a twenty percent down payment,” said CREA President Cliff Iverson. “The government’s newly tightened mortgage regulations have dampened a wide swath of housing markets, including places not targeted directly by the government’s latest regulatory measures. The extent to which they pushed first-time home buyers to the sidelines varies among housing markets. All real estate is local, and REALTORS® remain your best source for information about sales and listings where you live or might like to in the future.”

“Canadian housing market results for November suggest that Canada’s housing sector is unlikely to be as strong a source for economic growth as compared to before mortgage regulations were recently tightened,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Housing activity generates a lot of spin-off spending, which makes its weakened prospects an additional source of uncertainty as regards the outlooks for Canadian economic and job growth.”

Finance Minister Morneau announced measures to tighten qualifications for fixed rate mortgage loans and to restrict the insurability of these loans in early October. In addition, foreign exemption from capital gains taxes on Canadian real estate were limited to primary residences.

Another bit of uncertainty has been injected into the Canadian housing market by the surge in long-term interest rates around the world since the Trump election. This has put modest upward pressure on Canadian mortgage rates. As well, the US Federal Reserve hiked overnight rates by 25 basis points yesterday and has suggested that the pace of rate increases next year could be a bit more rapid than earlier expected. Even though the Bank of Canada will not follow the Fed in hiking interest rates anytime soon, mortgage rates here are tied to five-year government bond yields, which have increased sharply in the past month or so since the US election, and will continue to be impacted by US bond market movements.

The decline in activity was driven by a sharp fall in British Columbia, falling 3.4% in Vancouver. Sales in Toronto were down 2.4%.

Number of Months of Inventory

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between housing supply and demand. It represents the number of months it would take to completely liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.
There were 4.8 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of November 2016–up from a six-year low of 4.5 months in October, and the highest level of inventory since March 2016.

The number of months of inventory is at a record low in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario, ranging between one and two months in Hamilton-Burlington, Oakville-Milton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Brantford, the Niagara Region, Barrie and nearby cottage country. It has slipped to below one month in the Durham Region, Orangeville, Oakville-Milton, Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge. It stands at about one month in Toronto.

According to Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Director of Market Analysis, “Seller’s market conditions continued to prevail as buyers of all home types experienced intense competition in the marketplace. Until we experience sustained relief in the supply of listings, the potential for strong annual rates of price growth will persist, especially in the low-rise market segments.”

Prices Continue to Rise

The Aggregate Composite MLS House Price Index (HPI) rose 14.4% y-o-y last month, down a bit from 14.6% in October reflecting a slowdown in single-family home price appreciation.

This price index, unlike those provided by local real estate boards and other data sources, provides the best gauge of price trends because it corrects for changes in the mix of sales activity (between types and sizes of housing) from one month to the next.

The Fraser Valley (+29.7%) posted the largest y-o-y gain in November, while gains of around 20% were recorded in Greater Vancouver (+20.5%), Victoria (+20.6%) and Greater Toronto (+20.3%). Vancouver Island also registered a double-digit increase in home prices (+16.8% y-o-y).

By contrast, home prices were down 4% y-o-y in Calgary, and edged lower by 1.2% y-o-y in Saskatoon. As a result, home prices are off their 2015 peaks in these markets by 5.5% and 3.9% respectively.
Meanwhile, home prices posted y-o-y gains in Regina (+5.4%), Ottawa (+3.4%), Greater Montreal (+3.1%) and Greater Moncton (+3.5%).

Home Sales Cool in November, While Prices Still Rise



Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
Sherry is an award-winning authority on finance and economics with over 30 years of bringing economic insights and clarity to Canadians.


2 Dec

Ten Steps Of The Homebuying Process


Posted by: Peter Puzzo


Ten Steps of the Homebuying Process

Starting the journey to home ownership can be overwhelming and stressful. But with a little planning, you’ll get the home that’s right for you. A home that strikes a balance between your “wish list” items and the practical realities of the property, location and the housing market. Before you know it, you’ll have a place to call your very own. A place to entertain. A place to decorate. A place to raise a family. It really is an exciting time!

To help keep you on track; below is a step-by-step guide to buying your first home.

STEP 1 – Build a Budget

An effective budget will map out your plan to set aside money for your down payment and additional costs. It will also help determine the price of property you can afford.

STEP 2 – Investigate Mortgage Options

There are many different types of mortgages. If you don’t have the 20% down payment for a conventional mortgage, you can get a high ratio mortgage, combined with mortgage default insurance, that allows for a smaller down payment. You should be pre-approved for a mortgage before you start house hunting.

Consult with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to discuss what options are available to you and learn more about how to get started.

STEP 3 – Choose a Realtor

Your realtor will play a vital role in your home buying experience. The best realtor will be a combination of a Personal Advisor, Consultant, and Negotiator. He/she will show you homes that match your criteria, guide you through the homebuying process, negotiate the best possible price for your home and deliver your closing documentation.

STEP 4 – Get a Lawyer

It’s important to hire a lawyer who specializes in real estate. You could find yourself in a bidding war for the home you want, and it doesn’t hurt to have a lawyer look over any offer to purchase before you submit it. A real estate lawyer will also conduct a title search and check for outstanding taxes and liens on the property.

STEP 5 – House Hunting

* Create a wish list

House hunting can be a lengthy process. To save yourself time, know exactly what you want in a home beforehand. Think about your immediate needs, future plans and lifestyle. When you look at homes, you may be tempted to concentrate on the home, but don’t forget to ook at the whole property: the lot, the neighbourhood, the surroundings. How close is the home to facilities and services important to you?

* Bring your checksheet

When you’re ready to begin shopping for a home – often called “house hunting” – bring along this House Hunting Checksheet. You may end up seeing multiple homes in one day. This checksheet will help you compare and keep track of the homes you visit. And help you remember the features you did or didn’t like.

STEP 6 – Make the Offer

Your agent presents the offer to the seller. This document includes the price, conditions, deposit and closing date. The seller either accepts, rejects or counters the offer (also called “signing back” the offer).

STEP 7 – Home Inspection or New Home Warranty

Hiring an inspector is voluntary, but it’s a smart idea for resale homes. You can choose to make your offer to purchase the home conditional on the outcome of your inspection. If your inspection reveals major problems, you can negotiate those repairs with the seller before your deal closes, or legally withdraw your offer.

What is a New Home Warranty?

New Home Warranties are typically used when you buy a brand new home. The builder provides a New Home Warranty to cover things like deposits and completion dates, along with labour and materials for at least one year after the home was built. It also protects you against structural problems for a minimum of five years.

STEP 8 – Finalizing the Deal

Finalizing the deal will include the final approval of your mortgage, a meeting with your lawyer to finalize details like insurance and conditions, and the results of a title search.

STEP 9 – Moving Preparations

There’s a lot to do before you move. Line up utilities and other services like phone, cable and internet. If you rent, you must give your landlord notice. Also, forward your mail to your new address and hire a moving company. Preparing these things well in advance will help you make a smooth transition to your new home.

STEP 10 – Closing Day

This is the day you legally get possession of the house. Your lawyer completes the paperwork (so the home is in your name), payments are finalized and you receive the deed and the keys. Congratulations on your new home!

Marc Shendale


Genworth Canada – Vice President Business Development