ARE YOU IN A VARIABLE RATE MORTGAGE? ME TOO.

General Antonio Del Pellaro 31 Jan

Are you in a Variable Rate Mortgage? Me too.

If you’re in a fixed rate mortgage, this news does not impact you. Mind you ‘impact’ is too strong a word to use for the subtle shift that occurred Jan 17, 2018.

Short Version

The math is as follows:

A payment increase of ~$13.10 per $100,000.00 of mortgage balance. (unless you are with TD or a specific Credit Union, in which case payments are fixed and change only at your specific request)

i.e. – A mortgage balance of $400,000.00 will see a payment increase of ~$54.40 per month

Personally, we are staying variable, for a variety of reasons…

Long Version

Qualification for variable rate mortgages has been at 4.64% or higher for some time. This required a household income of greater than $70,000.00 for said $400,000.00 mortgage .

Can 99% of said households handle a payment increase of $54.40 per month? Yes.

Will 99% of households be frustrated with this added expense? Yes.

Ability and annoyance are not the same thing.

Have these households enjoyed monthly payments up to $216.80 lower than those that chose a fixed rate mortgage originally? Yes.

Are 99% still saving money over having locked into a long term fixed from day one? Yes.

Should I lock in?

A more important question is ‘why did we choose variable to start with’? And this may lead to a critical question ‘Is there any chance I will break my mortgage before renewal’?

The penalty to prepay a variable mortgage is ~0.50% of the mortgage balance.

The penalty to prepay a 5-year fixed mortgage can increase by ~900% to ~4.5% of the mortgage balance. A massive increase in risk.

There are many considerations before locking in, many of which your lender is unlikely to discuss with you. It’s to the lenders advantage to have you locked into a fixed rate, rarely is it to your own benefit.

At the moment decisions are being made primarily out of fear. Fear of $13.10 per month per $100,000.00

What about locking into a shorter term?

Not a bad idea, although this depends on two things:

Which lender you are with as policies vary.
2. How many years into the mortgage term you are.

If your net rate is now 2.95%, and have the option of a 2-year or 3-year fixed ~3.00% – this may be a better move than full 5-year commitment.

Do not forget the difference in prepayment penalties, this is significant.

Bottom line – Know your numbers, know your product, stay cool, and ask your Dominion Lending Centres Broker.

These are small and manageable increases.

P.S.

It was a bit disappointing to see logic and fairness fail to enter the picture, after the last two Federal cuts to Prime in 2015 of 0.25% each the public received cuts of only 0.15% each time.

Every single lender moved in unison, not one dropped the full 0.25%.

Amazingly, not a single lender saw fit to increase rates by the exact same 0.15% on the way back up. Every lender has instead increased by 0.25% – a full 100% of the increase passed on to you, the borrower.

Not cool man, not cool at all.

We share all the pain of increases, and get only part of the pleasure of decreases.

I am disappointed by this, not surprised, but disappointed.

Written by : DUSTAN WOODHOUSE

FOR RENTAL PROPERTIES, CASH (FLOW) IS KING

Investment Properties Antonio Del Pellaro 31 Jan

Ask pretty much anybody about mortgages and the first, sometimes only thing they want to talk about is the interest rate. In my business as a Mortgage Professional, my job is to educate clients that while interest rate is definitely a cornerstone of your mortgage decision, it is not the only factor to consider when agreeing to sign a mortgage commitment. In many cases, the lowest interest rate does not represent an ideal fit, especially when the actual mortgage isn’t aligned with customer’s stage of life, priorities, or long-term outlook. Rental properties are a prime example of mortgage situations where basing a decision solely on the rate is often short-sighted and in some cases detrimental to the long term viability of one’s investment.

Rental properties can be a lucrative way to diversify investments, build passive income and long term net worth. They can also be costly, rigid and very problematic if you don’t choose the right property, area, tenants and MORTGAGE PRODUCT. Like any investment you are going to do your research before buying – RIGHT? And you are going to take your time and screen potential tenants vs taking the first Kijiji reply from @fraudster.com offering a cash deposit higher than you have specified – RIGHT? I’ll leave that part up to you. Where I come in is ensuring that the mortgage product you are using allows you the most flexibility on your payments and overall investment. The best way to ensure that your rental investment does not become a sucking vampire on your personal bank account is to minimize the cash outlays you are obligated to make.

Enter the Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).
In my 10-plus years of doing mortgages and owning investment property, the HELOC is far and away my favourite product for investment properties.

First & foremost – CASH-FLOW. HELOC’s allow you the option of making interest-only payments monthly. The monthly payments on a standard $200K mortgage using current 5 yr fixed rate of 3.39% for example are $987. Interest only payments would be about $650. That’s a cash flow difference of $340. Think of a vacancy – they happen. That’s $340 of your own money that you don’t have to pull out of personal savings to cover while your investment income is stalled.

Having the ability to scale back or minimize your cash outlays can be the difference between good and bad when it comes to an extended vacancy, renovation or unforeseen expense such as a repair or insurance claim. This very feature has allowed me to take the time needed to properly screen potential tenants when I have a vacancy and not rush into leasing to the very first interested reply. I can tell you that one of the worst mistakes that can be made with a rental is to scramble to get tenants in so they can start paying rent only to find out you picked the wrong people.

HELOC’s also offer a number of additional features:

Fully open – imagine somebody comes along offering you top dollar for your investment property. A HELOC is fully open meaning it can be paid off immediately without restriction or early payout charges. You can accept the offer and cash out immediately without seeing profits eroded by penalty charges and fees. With a standard mortgage you may have a payout penalty ranging from 3 months interest into the tens of thousands depending on mortgage type & institution (cringe if you have a fixed mortgage with one of the Big 5 Canadian banks).

Revolving – so you’re an investment property wizard and the cash you are making has allowed you to pay down the HELOC we set-up dramatically. You can use the available space on your current HELOC towards the purchase of another property. Keep your personal savings and investments in tact and don’t have to ask permission to access the equity. That’s the beauty of revolving credit.

The main (only) drawback to a HELOC over a standard, amortizing mortgage is that the interest rate tends to be slightly higher (about .50%). To me this argument rings hollow. Since your rental property is essentially a business, the interest that you pay on a mortgage is eligible to be written off for tax purposes. Given the strict criteria involved in qualifying for mortgages these days, I’m willing to bet most people with rental properties are already showing income that has them in an elevated tax bracket. That means that every extra dollar of profit reported on tax returns gets annihilated by CRA. Sometimes increasing an individual’s interest expense actually helps them bring their reported profits on rentals close to breaking even and honestly that’s why we have accountants (SIDE NOTE: please use an accountant if you are going to play in the investment game).

Finding lenders who offer HELOCs on rentals isn’t easy, especially if you are wanting only 20% downpayment (80% LTV). Most lenders these days want more meat on the bone (equity) for rental properties. There are definitely good lenders out there doing rental HELOCs at 80% LTV. That’s where a call to your trusted Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional and the proper strategy can pay off in spades.

Post written by: SHAUN SERAFINI