With mortgage rule changes in full swing both federally and provincially, now more than ever, it is critical to get all your ducks in a row ahead of shopping for a new home.



 Borrowing money has become a more difficult process in recent years. Lenders require a lot more documentation than in the past.

If you have full-time employment, most lenders require your Notice of Assessments (NOA), pay stub and letter of employment. Getting this upfront could save you lots of time and headaches. If you’re self-employed, using bonus income, writing off expenses, and declaring any additional income, will require you to provide two years’ worth of your Notice of Assessments to verify your income. If you don’t have a copy of your NOAs handy, qualifying for a mortgage is going to take a little more time now as you have to request documentation from CRA and could take up to 4 weeks.


Treasure your Credit Score

Your credit score plays a vital role in being approved for a mortgage. Being mindful of paying bills on time, not going over the limit, keeping your credit limits to reasonable amounts are all part of important requirements you need to a hearing in order to keep a healthy score.

Tips to help you understand How to Improve Your Credit Score

The higher your credit score the lower the interest rate you will be eligible for when getting a mortgage. Below are a few quick tips that can help you improve your credit score:


  • Pay off all outstanding debt
  • Keep your number of credit cards to a minimum
  • Check your credit report accuracy on a yearly basis
  • Limit the number of loans, lines of credit or credit cards you apply for
  • Maintain low-to-moderate balances
  • Never borrow more than you can afford
  • Always pay your bills on time


Get Pre-Approved


Work with a mortgage professional or your bank to secure a pre-approval. They will take your income, down payment, closing costs etc. and do a calculation to determine how much you can qualify for. Keep in mind that the approval does not automatically mean you get a home. Once you have a firm sales agreement in place, the lender will still have to do an assessment on the property you are wanting to purchase to ensure it meets all of their requirements. Too, they will verify all your documents to ensure the application you provided is correct. This would involve calling your employer, checking pay stubs, collecting bank statements. So, the more of this part of the application they can do up front, the easier it will be when you find your dream home!

Don’t forget about the New Mortgage Stress Test


In October 2017 Canada made further changes to the mortgage and housing rules and introduced the so called “stress test” to all candidates applying for a mortgage. Previously only applicants with less than 20% or fewer than a 5-year mortgage term had been subject to these rules. The stress test helps identify if you could still afford your mortgage if you were to go through an increase in interest rates, loss of employment and other financial circumstances.

For uninsured home buyers (purchasers who have a down payment of 20% or greater) the minimum qualifying rate is based on either the Bank of Canada’s 5-Year Benchmark Rate (BOC) or the current rate offered by the lending institution plus 2%. Whichever is greater.


Purchasers putting down less than 20% (or insured home buyers), must qualify on the BOF 5-Year Benchmark Rate or the current rate offered by the lending institution (without adding the extra 2%) – whichever is greater.

So if your lender offers a rate of 3.49%, given that you put down less than 20 %, you would have to use the 5.34% benchmark rate in your stress test. If you make a 20% down payment or more and your lender offers a rate of 2.99%, you will have to qualify using a rate of 4.99%.

Although the new mortgage rules were implemented to protect the housing industry and keep Canadian’s debt in check, the changes also mean you may have to lower your purchase price.


For example: If you have a household income of $87,000 and made a down payment of 20%. Before the new rules went into effect, you would have been able to afford a maximum purchase price of $508,069 (based on a 2.99% rate). Now, because of the new mortgage rules, you’ll have to qualify at the BOF 5-Year Benchmark rate. Meaning your potential maximum purchase price would now be $393,716, which works out to 22.5% less than under the previous rules. 


Fixed Vs Variable Rates – Which is Right for You


Over the past year, the Bank of Canada has continued to raise its overnight benchmark rate. These increases have many home buyers wondering if they are better off with a variable or fixed rate.


Fixed rates are starting to rise, however, they offer steady monthly payments while a variable rates remain lower but are riskier.


Overall, we do need to keep in mind that we are still in a historically low-interest rate environment. For a rule of thumb; consumers that are risk averse, feel more secure with a fixed rate mortgage knowing each month what their payment will be and budget accordingly.


For consumers that can tolerate more risk with fluctuating rates, a variable might still be the best solution given the current rates keeping in mind that the variable rate can be locked into a fixed rate with most lenders at any time. Some variable rate clients also choose to stay in a variable while having their lender withdraw the mortgage at the posted fixed rate, thus having more go towards the principle of their mortgage. Too, there are blended rate mortgages available with some lenders to consider whereby half of the mortgage is variable and the other half is fixed.


Whichever way you decide to choose, it is very important to have a mortgage review every year with your lender to ensure you are still in the best product and saving the most amount of money. 

Get in touch with us to discuss the best opportunities for you in this market. We are never too busy to find the right strategy for you.


604- 729-5646


Property Sales continue  to slow down across the Metro Vancouver Real Estate Market.


According to the Vancouver Real Estate Board, the total sale of homes in November remains below historical averages. With total sales of 1,608 the Vancouver Real Estate Board recorded a 42.5 per cent decrease from November 2017 as well as a further decrease in sales in comparison to October 2018 with a 18.2 per cent decline.


The housing market hasn’t seen a comparable decrease for the month of November since 2008.

Home buyers remain patient in pulling the trigger on the perfect home, allowing the number of available homes for sale to go back to typical historical level. This has resulted in prices coming down across all property types says Phil Moore, the REBGV president.


The MLS system recorded 3,461 newly listed homes in Metro Vancouver in November, which is a 15.8 per cent decrease compared to November 2017 when 4,109 were listed with the Multiple Listing Service. The number of homes listed in November has also decreased when compared to October 2018, with 4,873 homes being listed.


Currently, the total number of homes available for sale on the MLS system in Metro Vancouver is 12,307, recording a 40.7 per cent increase compared to November 2017 when only 8,747 homes were listed for sale and a 5.2 per cent decrease in comparison to October 2018.


The property sales-to-active ratio for detached homes is currently 8.9 per cent, 14.7 per cent for townhomes and 17.6 per cent  for apartments. Therefore detached homes remain in a   buyer’s market with townhomes now also entering into a buyer’s market, and apartments remaining in a balanced market. Overall the sales-to-active ratio for all property types is 13.1 per cent.


When the sales-to-active ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period, downward pressure on homes occurs, while home prices climb when the ratio exceeds 20 per cent over several months.


According to Moore, home prices have been on the decline over the past 6 month depending on the type of property. Analysts will watch the first quarter of 2019 to see if demand picks up as its usually very active in the spring.


The current benchmark price for all property types in Metro Vancouver is $1,042,100 which is a 1.4 per cent decrease compared to November 2017 and a 1.9 per cent decrease to October 2018.


Detached home sales have further declined in comparison to the previous year, the Vancouver Real Estate Board records a 38.6 per cent decrease with 516 detached sales in November 2018 compared to 841 detached sales recorded in November 2017. The benchmark price is $1,500,100 documenting a 6.5% decrease from November 2017 and 1.6 per cent decrease compared to October 2018


Apartment sales are similar, recording an even higher decrease, 46.3 per cent, compared to the previous year, with 810 sales in November 2018 compared to 1,508 sales in November 2017.  The benchmark price is currently $667,800, representing a 2.3 per cent increase compared to November 2017.


Meanwhile townhomes sales too record a decrease in sales, down to 282 sales in November 2018 compared to 446 sales in November 2017. The benchmark price for an attached home is $818,500.




Discover if your individual neighbourhood and price band is either a Buyer, Seller or balanced market. Email us to receive the current market stats for November 2018. 


Get in touch with us to discuss the best opportunities for you in this market. We are never too busy to find the right strategy for you.


604- 729-5646

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