GTA Mortgages and Real Estate Introduction


The objective of this blog is to cover the real estate market in the Greater Toronto Area. It is my goal to educate, inform and stimulate readers on topics like financing, interest rates, debt consolidation, investing, property analysis, new developments and regulatory changes. Tips and explanations will be posted on a diversity of issues affecting the markets in Ontario and Canada. Market news and events will be discussed along with future predictions. Discussion and questions are encouraged.

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Getting back on track with your monthly mortgage payments – Know your option


Have you always been current on your monthly mortgage payments but are you unsure about your ability to make the timely payments with your present financial condition? If answered yes, you need not worry as there are multiple options that can help you get back on your present mortgage loan payments. Missing a mortgage loan payment can have an adverse impact on your personal financial life as your house is used as collateral to the loan. When you can’t repay the loan, it is most likely that the lender will foreclose your home to recuperate the money that they owe. If you’re worried about your options, here’s help for you. You can either go for a refinance loan or modify your home loan in order to  your home ownership rights. Read on to know your options when it comes to repaying your secured loan payments.

1. Don’t ignore your money problems: You must not ignore your money problems
initially as this will push you deeper into the debt hole. If you’re going through a credit
crunch and you’re not being able to make timely payments on your mortgage loan,
make sure you take the right steps towards your finances that can get you out of this
situation. The more you avoid your loan, the more likely you’ll be to lose your home to a
foreclosure.

2. Contact a HUD counsellor: If you visit the website of HUD, you’ll see that there is a list of housing counsellors who can assist you and give you various options that can prove to be beneficial for your present financial state. They do not charge consumers with any fees but provide them with appropriate options that can help them repay their mortgage loan on time. You just have to tell them about your present financial status and the problems that you’re facing with your original mortgage loan.

3. Opt for refinance mortgage: When you fall back on your monthly mortgage payments, you can even opt for refinance mortgage loan so that you can utilise the proceeds of the new loan and use it in paying off the principal amount on your original loan. All you have to do is to shop around for the mortgage rates so that you choose a loan with the best rate in the market. The refinance mortgage can be used to repay the original loan amount and you can save your home from a forced foreclosure.

4. Modify your home loan: Another way out is to opt for home loan modification. You
just have to contact your mortgage lender and a financial consultant and tell him about
your financial hardship. The consultant will work in the best way possible and make sure
that the new terms and conditions of the loan suit your present financial affordability.
As they’re into the business for a long time, it is most likely that they’ll have enough
experience in getting the best deal for you. Take guidance from them so that you can get
your loan modified with the best terms and conditions.

Therefore, if you’re struggling with your mortgage payments, make sure you get your loan modified or go for a refinance mortgage loan. Know your options and value them so that you immediately get back on the right financial track and get rid of your secured loan worries.

This article is courtesy of Mortgage Cases. For more information please send me an email at wpianka@tmacc.com.

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Toronto Mortgage Alliance Mortgage Rates for Week of Oct. 2nd, 2011


TERM POSTED OUR RATES*
6 Month 4.45% 4.45%
1 Year 3.60% 2.75%
2 Year 3.95% 3.09%
3 Year 4.35% 2.79%
4 Year 5.04% 2.89%
5 Year 5.54% 3.29%
7 Year 6.44% 4.49%
10 Year 6.80% 4.79%
Variable Rate 2.40%
Prime Rate 3.00%
BenchMark Rate 5.39%
Cost per $1000 $4.88

* Cost per $1000 based on 5yr fixed term rate compounded semi-annually.
* Rates may vary provincially and are subject to change without notice OAC.

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Home Fall and Winter Maintenance Calendar


Fall is the time to get your home ready for the coming winter, which can be the most gruelling season for your home. During winter months, it is important to follow routine maintenance procedures, by check your home carefully for any problems that may arise and taking corrective action as soon as possible.

Home Fall Maintenance

  • Check fireplace and chimney, service or clean if needed.
  • Clean range hood filter
  • Clean leaves out of eavestroughs
  • Check roofing and flashing for signs of wear or damage
  • Close outside hose connection
  • Close windows, skylights
  • Clean and reactivate heat recovery ventilator, if it was turned off
  • Winterize landscapping
  • Test space heating system
  • Close vents to crawl spaces
  • Test your smoke alarm. Change the batteries at least once a year

Home Winter Maintenance

  • Clean or replace furnace filter
  • Check/ clean heat recovery ventilator, wash or replace filter
  • Clean humidifier and turn it on if needed
  • Check exhaust fans
  • Ensure that air intake, exhausts and meteres are clear of snow
  • Clean range hood filter
  • Check basement floor drain
  • Do safety checks: fire escape routes, fire extinguishers, doors and window locks
  • Ensure gas valve is clear of ice and snow

Home Annual Maintenance

  • Dust or vacuum electric baseboards
  • Vacuum ducts behind warm air and return air grilles
  • Test plumbing shut off valve on hot water tank; drain water from tank
  • Check and if needed, oil door hinges
  • Lubricate garage door motor, chain, etc
  • Check attic for signs of moisture in summer and fall
  • Check septic system: clean if needed (usually about every 3 years)

Home Two – Five Year Maintenance

  • Check and repair driveway cracks
  • Check and repair chimney cap and the caulking between cap and chimney, re-caulk as necessary
  • Refinish wood surfaces, including window frames and doors

For more information on home maintenance send me an email at wpianka@tmacc.com or check out this article on Tips & Repair

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Bank of Canada Maintains Overnight Rate at 1% as Predicted


The Bank of Canada today announced that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 1 1/4 per cent and the deposit rate is 3/4 per cent.

The global economic outlook has deteriorated in recent weeks as several downside risks to the projection in the Bank’s July Monetary Policy Report (MPR) have been realized. The European sovereign debt crisis has intensified, a broad range of data has signalled slower global growth, and financial market volatility has increased sharply. Recent benchmark revisions show that the U.S. recession was deeper and its recovery has been shallower than previously reported. In combination with recent economic data, this implies that U.S. growth will be weaker than previously anticipated. The Bank of Canada expects that American household spending will be even more subdued in the face of high personal debt burdens, large declines in wealth and tough labour market conditions. Fiscal stimulus in the United States will also soon turn into material fiscal drag. Acute fiscal and financial strains in Europe have triggered a generalized retrenchment from risk-taking and could prompt more severe dislocations in global financial markets. Resolution of these strains will require additional significant initiatives by European authorities. Growth in emerging-market economies has been robust, although its rate and composition will be affected by weakness in major advanced economies. While commodity prices have declined owing to diminished global growth prospects, they remain relatively high.

Largely due to temporary factors, Canadian economic growth stalled in the second quarter. The Bank of Canada continues to expect that growth will resume in the second half of this year, led by business investment and household expenditures, although lower wealth and incomes will likely moderate the pace of investment and consumption growth. The supply and price of credit to businesses and households remain very stimulative. However, financial conditions in Canada have tightened somewhat and could tighten further in the event that global financial conditions continue to deteriorate. Net exports are now expected to remain a major source of weakness, reflecting more modest global demand and ongoing competitiveness challenges, in particular the persistent strength of the Canadian dollar.

Slower global economic momentum will dampen domestic resource utilization and inflationary pressures. The Bank of Canada expects total CPI inflation to continue to moderate as temporary factors, such as significantly higher food and energy prices, unwind. Core inflation is expected to remain well-contained as labour compensation growth stays modest, productivity recovers, and inflation expectations remain well-anchored.

Reflecting all of these factors, the Bank has decided to maintain the target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. In light of slowing global economic momentum and heightened financial uncertainty, the need to withdraw monetary policy stimulus has diminished. The Bank will continue to monitor carefully economic and financial developments in the Canadian and global economies, together with the evolution of risks, and set monetary policy consistent with achieving the 2 per cent inflation target over the medium term.

Information note on Bank of Canada:

The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is 25 October 2011.

A full update of the Bank’s outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published in the MPR on 26 October 2011.

THIS ARTICLE WAS TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM THE BANK OF CANADAWEBSITE. FOR OTHER ARTICLES REGARDING INTEREST RATE MEETINGS READ HERE.

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Toronto Mortgage Alliance Mortgage Rates for Week of Sept. 4th, 2011


TERM POSTED OUR RATES*
6 Month 4.45% 4.45%
1 Year 3.60% 2.75%
2 Year 3.95% 3.15%
3 Year 4.35% 3.09%
4 Year 5.04% 3.09%
5 Year 5.54% 3.34%
7 Year 6.44% 4.49%
10 Year 6.80% 4.79%
Variable Rate 2.30%
Prime Rate 3.00%
BenchMark Rate 5.39%
Cost per $1000 $4.91

* Cost per $1000 based on 5yr fixed term rate compounded semi-annually.

* Rates may vary provincially and are subject to change without notice OAC.

Toronto Mortgage Alliance Mortgage Rates for Toronto 

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Revised CREA Resale Housing Forecast


The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has revised its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®)  Systems of Canadian real estate Boards and Associations for 2011 and 2012.

Sales activity and home prices remained strong in the second quarter. As a result CREA revised its national forecasts for sales activity and average price a little higher. Sales are expected up be up around 1% over last year and reach 450, 800 in 2011. A decrease in sales is now expected for 2012 with about 447,700 units due to affordability going down as prices rise. Overall increases in British Columbia and Ontario have offset the decrease in Quebec, Manitoba and Newfoundland.

“While there had been some talk of potential interest rate increases, that hasn’t happened,” said Gary Morse, CREA President. “In fact, mortgage interest rates have actually come down, and are now expected to remain low for the remainder of this year and into 2012. It’s a great opportunity to purchase a property with financing at very favourable rates.”

The average home price is expected to rise to #363,500 or 7.2% in 2011. This represents and increase from the previous estimates as it reflects the continued growth in Vancouver and the acceleration of the Ontario, specifically Toronto condo market. Home prices are now expected to stabilize in 2012.

For more information on the Toronto market please send me an email at wpianka@tmacc.com

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Canadian Home Sales Stable in July


Mid August CREA released their staistics for the month of July. Overall the news was what was expected. Home sales remained stable in July, as this year more homes are expected to change hands than last year. Below is an article taken from the CREA website.

Reprinted from CREA News

OTTAWA – August 16, 2011 – According to statistics1 released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national resale housing activity was stable on a month-to-month basis in July following an uptick in June.

Highlights:
• Sales activity was stable from June to July, but posted a big year-over-year gain due to weakened demand in July 2010.
• Year-to-date sales continue to run in line with the ten-year average.
• The number of newly listed homes inched up by less than one per cent from June to July.
• The national housing market remains firmly entrenched in balanced territory.
• The national average price posted the largest year-over-year gain since April 2010, but was below where it stood in June.
• Upward skewing of the national average price is diminishing due to fewer expensive sales and a declining share of national activity in Vancouver and Toronto.

National home sales activity held steady in July 2011 compared to the previous month, with just over half of local markets posting month-over-month gains.

Major markets that saw gains compared to June include Edmonton, Montreal, as well as Newfoundland and Labrador. Activity also held steady in Toronto, while Vancouver recorded a small decline.

“The continued stability in national sales activity shows that homebuyers remain confident about the soundness of investing in a home,” said Gary Morse, CREA’s President. “Mortgage interest rates are low and keeping home affordability within reach, making it an excellent time for buyers to take advantage of very favourable financing. Prices and affordability evolve differently among local markets, so buyers and sellers should consult their local REALTOR® to better understand how the outlook for housing supply, demand, and prices is shaping up in their housing market.”

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity came in 12.3 per cent above national levels reported one year earlier. This increase reflects weakened activity in July 2010, when levels for the month reached their lowest point since 2002.

A total of 284,537 homes have traded hands via Canadian MLS® Systems so far this year. This stands just 1.6 per cent below levels in the first seven months of last year, and continues to run in line with the ten-year average.

The number of newly listed homes edged up by less than one per cent from June to July. New listings were down in 60 per cent of local markets, but increased in many large urban centres including Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Ottawa.

The national housing market remains firmly planted in balanced territory. The national sales-to-new listings ratio, a measure of market balance, stood at 51.8 per cent in July, which is little changed from 52.3 per cent in June.

Based on a sales-to-new listings ratio of between 40 to 60 percent, about three in every five local markets in Canada were balanced in July. Half of the remaining markets may be classified as sellers’ markets, with a sales-to-new listings ratio of above 60 per cent.

The number of months of inventory stood at 6.1 months at the end of July on a national basis, which is little changed from the end of June (6.0 months). The number of months of inventory represents the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity, and is another measure of the balance between housing supply and demand.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in July 2011 stood at $361,181, which is the lowest level since January. While up 9.3 per cent from its year-ago level, the increase reflects a short-lived decline in the average price following the introduction of the HST in B.C. and Ontario, and tighter mortgage regulations earlier in 2010.

“Earlier this year, the national average price was being skewed upward by sales in some expensive Vancouver neighbourhoods, but this factor is now diminishing,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “Upward skewing of the national average price is also shrinking due to overall sales trends in Vancouver, and most recently in Toronto. Their market shares as a percentage of provincial and national sales activity are declining from the elevated levels seen in the first half of the year.”

“Changes in the national average home price are open to being misinterpreted,” added Klump. “They often signify changes in the mix of sales activity across and within local markets, rather than a rising or falling price trend for typical homes in a specific market.”

“The national share of sales activity in some of Canada’s more expensive urban centres may retreat further from elevated levels recorded earlier this year, resulting in an easing trend for the national average home price,” he added. “Even so, the stability of Canada’s housing market will likely continue to stand in stark contrast to further expected volatility in financial markets.” 

PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national MLS® sales information from the previous month.

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighborhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas.

Statistical information contained in this report includes all housing types.

MLS® is a co-operative marketing system used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 100,000 REALTORS® working through more than 100 real estate Boards and Associations.

Further information can be found athttp://www.crea.ca/public/news_stats/media.htm.

Reprinted from CREA News

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Strong Economy Sees Numbers Boosted


Reprinted from the Toronto Sun.

August 26, 2011 — As one of the world’s most diverse cities, Toronto welcomes nearly 100,000 newcomers to Canada each year. These people have chosen Toronto to begin building a better life. A report released recently by CIBC World Markets confirmed that the reasons for embracing Toronto are well founded.

The report assessed the performance of Canada’s largest cities in the first quarter of this year, and while Toronto didn’t come out on top in any individual category, the cumulative effect gave Toronto top position in the report’s ranking of Canadian cities.

The Toronto Real Estate Board’s figures on July’s resale housing market are testament to the strength of our local economy.

A total of 7,992 homes changed hands in July, representing a 23 per cent increase over the 6,564 sales from a year ago.  While sales were robust in July, it is important to note that the sharp increase is relative to July 2010, when higher lending rates, new mortgage regulations and misconceptions about the Harmonized Sales Tax dampened activity.

Including July transactions, there have been 55,863 transactions so far this year, within 1.3 per cent of last year’s performance.  Total sales for the year are expected to move above the 2010 total by the end of August.

Sales activity in the 905 Region outpaced that of the City of Toronto last month, with year-over-year increases of nearly 25 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

The amount of time it took to sell a home, on average, declined compared to last year.  Homes that sold this past July were on the market for an average of 26 days – down by 21 per cent from an average of 33 days a year ago.  This decline in selling time is largely due to a dip in listings in comparison to last year.  Less supply has led to more competition amongst home buyers, which has decreased the decision time for offers.

Tighter market conditions continued to drive strong annual growth in the average selling price.  The average price of a resale home in the GTA increased by almost 10 per cent year-over-year to $459,122.  Gains were slightly stronger in the city’s surrounding area, with the 905 average price climbing 11 per cent to $448,612.  The average price in Toronto increased seven per cent to $475,717.

Jason Mercer, the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis suggested that market may become more balanced in the second half of the year: “We did see some year-over-year improvement in new listings in July, but sales continued to grow at a faster clip.  As we move toward the end of 2011 and into 2012, expect more households to list their home for sale, prompted by the strong price growth reported during the first half of 2011.”

Homeownership remains affordable in the Greater Toronto Area.  Low mortgage rates and steady income growth have kept homebuyers confident in their ability to purchase and pay for a home over the long term.  This is why the number of transactions and the average selling price has continued to grow.  However, some of our REALTOR® Members serve consumers in the City of Toronto putting their clients at a disadvantage. Consumers could be doing even better with the repeal of the backbreaking and unfair upfront costs brought about by Toronto’s additional land transfer tax.  Mayor Rob Ford has promised to do away with the tax.  All Members of the Toronto Real Estate Board, especially residents in the 416 area code, look forward to the fulfillment of this promise.

With the recent volatility of the financial markets, the strength of home ownership has become a great topic for discussion. Variations can occur but your home is where you enjoy your family and friends. Living in the Greater Toronto Area is a very wise long term investment with lots of options in terms of housing type and neighborhoods.

Reprinted from the Toronto Sun.

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Rate Prediction for Wed, Sept. 7th, 2011 BofC Meeting


On Wednesday the Bank of Canada meets again to discuss what the monetary policy will be for the next few months. During this meeting, the overnight lending rate is also set. The last meeting kept the rate unchanged at 1%, with signs that it would be going up shorty to cool off a hot real estate market and rising consumer debt.

Over the past few days weak economic numbers and a 0.1% GDP decrease in the second quarter have lead economists to predict rates will remain the same. I agree, especially since uncertainty in Europe, poor US job report, hurricane Irene, and Japanesse earthquake recovery have contributed to overall world economic troubles. This is great news for anyone who has a variable interest rate on their mortgage, line of credit, or student loan. While major banks like RBC and TD have raised their variable rates, not all lenders have followed.  Great variable rates are still available, for more information give me a call at 416 909 5044.

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Get Protected Today


Mortgage Alliance has just recently added a “No Questions Asked” insurance benefit to you our customer. This is a great product and opportunity for you in case for whatever reason you didn’t acquire mortgage protection insurance at the time your mortgage transaction was completed. I am now able to offer you a quick and easy way to ensure your mortgage is insured and your family is protected with no medical questions. Everyone is guaranteed acceptance excluding any pre-existing conditions.
We all know that protecting yourself with mortgage insurance is the right thing to do but sometimes life just gets in the way and we just keep putting it off.  Let me show you how easy and affordable it is to have your mortgage protected regardless of who you currently have your mortgage with.  It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind and ensure your family will always have a home.
 Call or email me today for a quote and let me help you get the mortgage protection coverage you need.
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