Where Will Rising Interest Rates Hurt Most?.

Financial literacy Arlind Anamali 2 Sep

Rising inflation combined with a strengthening post-pandemic economy gives both reason and opportunity for the Bank of Canada (BOC) to further raise interest through to the end of 2022 and beyond.

The 1% increase to the benchmark overnight rate in early July was a wake-up call that they were not bluffing and are prepared to act aggressively. Depending on how inflation trends, we could be looking at interest rates that are 1% or 2% higher within the next year.

Before jumping into the effects of higher interest rates, we should clarify one common point of misunderstanding about the prime rate and the BOC overnight rate. The prime rate is the basis for most variable rate loans, including mortgages and lines of credit. It is determined by the major banks and currently sits at 4.7%; 2.2% higher than the BOC overnight rate. Although these two rates are different, the key takeaway is that the prime rate moves in lockstep with any changes to the BOC rate, usually within a few days.

Now that we have that out of the way, just how will future interest rate hikes affect your debts?

Variable rate mortgages
The percentage of Canadians holding a variable rate mortgage surged in 2021 and now stands at about 50%. Any rise in the BOC rate is met by an equal rise in variable rate mortgages, so the impact is very clear and takes effect quickly. A 1% increase will add around $200 to the monthly payment on a $500K mortgage. Keep in mind that the interest rate has already rose 2.25% since the beginning of 2022!

Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
HELOCs usually have a variable interest rate that will rise in conjunction with any BOC rate hikes. A $100,000 balance carried on your HELOC will cost you about $20 more in interest each month for every 0.25% increase by the BOC.

Credit card debt
The interest rate on your credit card and how it can be adjusted are outlined in your cardholder agreement. There is usually little correlation between credit cards rates and the rates set by the central bank. However, credit card rates are already so astronomically high that it is unlikely you would even notice a 1% increase! Our advice is to attack any outstanding credit card balance ASAP.

Personal lines of credit
There are fixed and variable rate options out there. If you selected the lower variable rate when you signed your agreement, expect to pay more going forward on any outstanding balance.

Car loans
Most car loans in Canada are fixed, but the average fixed rate is rising quickly and now sits about 5.25%. While not common, variable rate cars loans are loans are available and your payment could be affected by interest rate hikes.

Student loans
There are provincial and federal student loan programs with different interest options so the effect of rate hikes will vary. The default choice for Government of Canada student loans is variable interest “at prime” with a fixed rate option at “prime + 2%”. The point is mute right now as interest charges are currently suspended, but variable rate student loan holders will see a significantly higher payment when interest charges resume in April of 2023.

Most of us will be paying more interest as we move through 2022 and into 2023. A mortgage or some other debt may be inevitable and not all debt is bad, but it’s important to understand your interest expense and adjust your repayment priorities accordingly. For powerful personal finance education and training with immediate results, check out the complimentary livestreams each week from Enriched Academy. View the schedule and sign up for upcoming sessions on their events page.

Understanding Your Mortgage Rate.

Financial literacy Arlind Anamali 5 Apr

When it comes to mortgages, one of the most important influencers is interest rate but do you know how this rate is determined? It might surprise you to find out that there are 10 major factors that affect the interest you will pay on your home loan!

Knowing these factors will not only prepare you for the mortgage process, but will also help you to better understand the mortgage rates available to you.

credit score

Not surprisingly, your credit score is one of the most influential factors when it comes to your interest rate. In fact, your credit score determines if you are able to qualify for financing at all – as well as how much. In order to qualify, a minimum credit score of 680 is required for at least one borrower. Having higher credit will further showcase that you are a reliable borrower and may lead to better rates.

loan-to-value (ltv) ratio

This ratio refers to the value of the amount being borrowed as a percentage of the overall home value. The main factors that impact LTV ratios include the sales price, appraised value of the property and the amount of the down payment. Putting down more on a home, especially one with a lower purchase price, will result in a lower LTV and be more appealing to lenders. As an example, if you were to buy a home appraised at $500,000 and are able to make a down payment of $100,000 (20%), then you would be borrowing $400,000. For this transaction, the LTV is 80%.

insured vs. uninsured

Depending on how much you are able to save for a down payment, you will either have an insured or uninsured mortgage. Typically, if you put less than 20% down, you will require insurance on the property. Depending on the insurer, this can affect your borrowing power as well as the interest rates.

fixed vs. variable rate

The type of rate you are looking for will also affect how much interest you will pay. While there are benefits to both fixed and variable mortgages, it is more important to understand how they affect interest rates.  Fixed rates are based on the bond market, which depends on the amount that global investors demand to be paid for long-term lending. Variable rates, on the other hand, are based on the Bank of Canada’s overnight lending rate. This ties variable rates directly to the economic state at-home, versus fixed which are influenced on a global scale.

location

Location, location, location! This is not just true for where you want to LIVE, but it also can affect how much interest you will pay. Homes located in provinces with more competitive housing markets will typically see lower interest rates, simply due to supply and demand. On the other hand, with less movement and competition will most likely have higher rates.

rate hold

A rate hold is a guarantee offered by a lender to ‘hold’ the interest rate you were offered for up to 120 days (depending on the lender). The purpose of a rate hold is to protect you from any rate increases while you are house-hunting. It also gives you the opportunity to take advantage of any decreases to your benefit. This means that, if you were pre-approved for your mortgage and worked with a mortgage broker to obtain a ‘rate hold’, you may receive a different interest rate than someone just entering the market.

refinancing

The act of refinancing your mortgage basically means that you are restructuring your current mortgage (typically when the term is up). Whether you are changing from fixed to variable, refinancing to consolidate debt, or just seeking access to built up equity, any change to your mortgage can affect the interest rate you are offered. In most cases, new buyers will be offered lower rates than refinancing, but refinancing clients will receive better rates than mortgage transfers. Regardless of why you are refinancing, it is always best to discuss your options with a mortgage broker to ensure you are making the best choice for your unique situation.

home type

Among other things, lenders assess the risk associated with your home type. Some properties are viewed as higher risk than others. If the subject property is considered higher risk, the lender may require higher rates.

secondary property (income property/vacation home)

Any secondary properties or those bought for the purpose of being an income property or vacation home, will be assessed as such. The lender may deem these as high risk investments, and you may be required to pay higher interest rates than you would on a principal residence. This is another area where a mortgage broker can help. Since they have access to a variety of lenders and various rates, they can help you find the best option.

income level

The final factor is income level. While this does not have a direct affect on the interest rate you are able to obtain, it does dictate your purchasing power as well as how much you are able to put down on a home.

It is important to understand that obtaining financing for a mortgage is a complex process that looks at many factors to ensure the lender is not putting themselves at risk of default. To ensure that you – the borrower – is getting the best mortgage product for your needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to a DLC Mortgage Broker today! Mortgage brokers are licensed professionals that live and breathe mortgages, and who have access to a variety of lenders to ensure you are getting the best rates. Mortgage brokers can also assess your unique situation and find the right mortgage for you. Their goal is to see you successfully find and afford the home of your dreams and set you up for future success!

Investment Properties.

Financial literacy Arlind Anamali 9 Mar

So, you are looking to purchase a second property! Congratulations! This is a great opportunity for you to expand your financial portfolio and ensure stability for the future. However, before you launch into this purchase there are a few things you should know, depending on which type of second property you are looking to purchase.

SECOND PROPERTY WITH INTENTION TO RENT

Buying a property for the purpose of renting it out to someone else comes with different qualifying criteria and mortgage product options than traditional home purchases. Before you look at purchasing a rental property, there are a few things to consider:

  1. The minimum down payment required is 20% of the purchase price, and the funds must come from your own savings; you cannot use a gift from someone else.
  2. Only a portion of the rental income can be used to qualify and determine how much you can afford to borrow. Some lenders will only allow you to use 50% of the income added to yours, while other lenders may allow up to 80% of the rental income and subtract your expenses.
  3. Interest rates usually have a premium when the mortgage is for a rental property versus a mortgage for a home someone intends on living in. The premium can be anywhere from 0.10% to 0.20% on a regular 5-year fixed rate.

Rental income from the property can be used to debt service the mortgage application, but do bear in mind that some lenders will have a minimum liquid net worth requirement outside of the property. Also, if you do eventually want to sell this property it will be subject to capital gains tax. Your accountant will be able to help you with that aspect if you do decide to sell in the future.

VACATION PROPERTY

While vacation properties are not always the perfect investment, they are popular options for people who want to get away from it all and build memories in! If you’re motivated to head down that road, buying a vacation property is essentially like purchasing a second home.

If you are considering buying a unit within a hotel as a vacation spot (known as “fractional ownership”), it is important to note that if there is any mention of using your vacation home to provide rental income it will be treated like an investment property.

SECONDARY PROPERTY

Most people are trained to stay out of debt and don’t tend to consider using the equity in their home to buy an investment property, but they haven’t realized the art of leveraging. If you’re using equity from your primary residence to buy a secondary property, keep in mind that the interest you’re using is tax deductible. Consider that you’re buying an appreciating asset, and if you put a real estate portfolio and a stock portfolio side-by-side, they don’t compare.

WHO IS A GOOD CANDIDATE?

You might be surprised to learn that you don’t need to make six figures to get in the game. Essentially, you just have to be someone who wants to be a little smarter with their down payment. Before taking on a secondary property remember that the minimum down payment is 5% of the purchase price – unless you are intending to rent, in which case it is 20% down.

When it comes to purchasing a secondary property, whether for investment or rental or vacation, it can be a great opportunity! As your mortgage broker I can work with to find the best solution for your unique needs.

AIR BNB ON YOUR MIND?

More and More Canadians are hopping on the short-term rental train as Air bnb’s popularity has sky-rocketed over the last few years. It’s not a bad way to earn extra money, but don’t forget there are a few things to consider:

  • Check strata/city bylaws
  • Contact your insurance provider to get correct coverage
  • Talk to your mortgage broker to see if a short-term income property can affect your approval
  • Consider tax implications, and talk to an accountant.

The more services you provide as a host, the greater the chance that your rental operation will be considered a business.

 

Staying Out of the Penalty Box.

Mortgage Tips Arlind Anamali 11 Feb

When it comes to mortgages, it is easy to focus on the rates and your current situation, but the reality is that life happens and when it does, rates won’t be the only thing that matters.

First and foremost, the most important thing to remember is that a mortgage is a contract. That means that there is a penalty involved if the contract is ever broken. This is something that every homeowner agrees to when you sign mortgage paperwork, but it can be easy to forget – until you’re paying the price.

why break your mortgage?
You’re probably wondering why you would ever break your mortgage contract? Well, you might be surprised to find out that 6 out of 10 mortgages in Canada are broken within 3 years and there are typically nine common reasons that this happens:

Sale and purchase of a new home
To utilize equity
To pay off debt
Cohabitation, marriage and/or children
Divorce or separation
Major life events (illness, unemployment, death of a partner)
Removing someone from title
To get a lower interest rate
To pay off the mortgage
It is always important to think ahead when signing a mortgage agreement, but not everything can be planned for. In that event, it is important to understand the next steps if you do indeed need to break your mortgage.

calculating penalties
Typically, the penalty for breaking a mortgage is calculated in two different ways. Lenders generally use an Interest Rate Differential calculation or the sum of three months interest to determine the penalty. You will typically be assessed the greater of the two penalties, unless your contract states otherwise.

INTEREST RATE DIFFERENTIAL (IRD)
In Canada there is no one-size-fits-all rule for how the Interest Rate Differential (IRD) is calculated and it can vary greatly from lender to lender. This is due to the various comparison rates that are used.

However, typically the IRD is based on the following:

The amount remaining on the loan
The difference between the original mortgage interest rate you signed at and the current interest rate a lender can charge today
In this case, these penalties vary greatly as they are based on the borrower’s specific mortgage and the specific rates on the agreement, and in the market today. However, let’s assume you have a balance of $200,000 on your mortgage, an annual interest rate of 6%, 36 months remaining in your 5-year term and the current rate is 4%. This would mean an IRD penalty of $12,000 if you break the contract.

Ideally, you will want to be aware of what your IRD penalty would be before you decide to break your mortgage as it is not always the most viable option.

THREE MONTHS DIFFERENCE
In some cases, the penalty for breaking your mortgage is simply equivalent to three months of interest. Using the same example as above – balance of $200,000 on your mortgage, an annual interest rate of 6% – then three months interest would be a $3,000 penalty. A variable-rate mortgage is typically accompanied by only the three-month interest penalty.

When it comes to making the payment, some lenders may allow you to add this penalty to your new mortgage balance (meaning you would pay interest on it). You can also pay your penalty up front.

Whenever possible, if you can wait out your current mortgage term before making a change to your mortgage, it is the best way to avoid being stuck in the penalty box. If you cannot avoid a penalty, do note that, while only calculators can be great tools for estimates, it is best to call your lender or mortgage broker directly for the accurate number in the case of determining penalties.

If you are unsure about getting the best penalty terms, reach out to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker today! They can help you find the best mortgage product for you.

How to Teach Your Kids About Money.

General Arlind Anamali 8 Sep

“You’re teaching them way too young,” joked the man next to me and my three girls at the bank machine; clearly he assumed we were taking out cash, and thought it would be funny to tease me about that. “No, man,” I teased back warmly; “I teach my girls to make deposits.” He laughed, I laughed, and then I invisibly high-fived myself for actually teaching my kids how to do just this. Because it’s a skill, isn’t it, to be confident and capable in money and its management.

And too often, the learning curve feels steep even for ourselves, let alone to share the key messages with our kids.

The thing is, that teaching our kids to use and value money for the powerful tool that it is, is one of the most empowering gifts we can give them, from even an early age. How do you do it? It’s so much easier than you think; even if you grew up with a distorted view or approach to wealth and personal finance, here are our top five teaching tools for parents and kids to learn to speak the language of money, and develop a healthy attitude towards money straight away.

“It’s not too late to start right now!”

1. ALLOWANCE IS A TEACHING TOOL
Use it. Allowance is a fantastic hands-on learning tool to teach the actual process of money management. (Don’t give your kids money for chores – chores are a part of family life, and it is an expectation that they participate in them.) Give allowance because it shows your kids how to be responsible for their own saving, spending, and sharing, and give them the wide berth to make bad decisions in spending it; better to learn the lesson that the glow in the dark Beanie Boo was a bust as a seven year old, than to realize that the car they bought at 21 was a lemon.

Get them familiar with the pattern of reserving part of their money to share with others, to cultivate a spirit of generosity, and to reserve part for saving – this is crucial in developing a pattern and attitude of “I don’t spend all my money once I get it.”

2. MONEY IS A LANGUAGE
Speak it. If you are someone who grew up with a bitter taste in your mouth about money, more than likely there were messages and feelings of shame associated with it; stop that cycle with your kids, and open up the conversation in all of the age appropriate ways. Talk about saving for the mini Golden Doodle you all want as a family pet. Talk about the $25 budget at the toy store for their friend’s birthday present. Talk about the cost difference between a dance class and the competitive dance team. And have each of these conversations in a frank and open way, not of guilt or shame, just in a way that draws attention and awareness to the fact that there is an energetic cost to everything we do.

Are you into stocks? Show them bits of your portfolio, especially the visual charts, and let them in on the secret pattern that over time, it always goes up. Each of these micro-conversations plants an essential seed that you can continue to grow over the course of your child’s lifetime.

3. THE BANK IS AN EXPERIENCE
Take them. Chances are, unless you’re keeping your cash in a jar under your bed, the bank is the hub of your personal financial transactions. Include your kids in this area of daily life: let them not only “press the buttons” at the ATM, but take them to the teller, get them familiar with the processes behind daily banking, let them count cash when it comes out, and let them fill deposit envelopes with bills and cheques. Teach them to look at the balance on the receipt and say “thank you” for what’s there.

Let them know how grateful you are to have this wonderful tool in your life that enables a whole lot of freedom, and how it got there.

4. THE IMPORTANCE OF PAYING YOUR BILLS
And pay them together. There is something deliciously analog about getting a paper bill in the mail. I kid you not, when my girls see a bill in the mailbox, they actually say “Yessss! Bills are here!” Why? Because we have carved out a ritual in which we sit together one on one and pay our bills together. Show your kids to find the vendor, the amount due, and to circle that amount and write “Paid on [date].” As they gather that info from the bill, you can enter it into your own online payment system.

Not only is this much needed and celebrated time together, but it’s another conversation about personal finance: why do we pay a hydro bill? Why is this utility bill higher in the winter? Can you imagine a world without internet – let’s happily pay that one! These conversations draw kids’ awareness to the daily happenings of life, and connect them to their own resources.

If your attitude towards bills is “man, I’m so grateful to have a house that is heated in the winter and cool in the summer, with a one click connection to anywhere the world,” suddenly the entire experience is a joy for you, too. And where there is gratitude and joy, there is the cultivation of more gratitude and joy.

5. SOME THINGS ARE WORTH THE WAIT
So wait, and teach patience and a mentality of “earned, not given.” One of the greatest parenting challenges our generation faces is exactly this: how on earth do we teach patience and process while we live in an instant, on-demand world? Well, we simply teach it.

Just because we can access something instantly doesn’t mean we should; you know from your own experience how sweet a victory it is when you buy something with your own money, or hold something in your hands you know is irreplaceable. These feelings are part of healthy brain development, and in their absence we cultivate a near constant dopamine rush of instant gratification that becomes stronger, and harder to fulfill over time. It’s ok to say “no” to things, to hold out, and to appreciate the consumption of less, not more.

Children thrive when they feel like they are a real part of our family life, and respected enough to be included. Having these grown up conversations distilled into a child friendly way shows your kids that you have confidence in their abilities to handle it, and that they are valued members of your tribe. And in the same breath, you are teaching them an incredibly valuable life skill they will continue to hone and use over the course of their lifetime.