Mortgage insurance rule changes…how will they affect you?

New mortgage insurance rules.

In October and November this year the Government of Canada made changes to mortgage insurance requirements. Mortgage insurance is provided by three companies in Canada. The biggest provider of mortgage insurance is CMHC a crown corporation. This insurance is paid for by the borrower and protects the lender in case of default. It reduces the lenders risk therefore enabling consumers to purchase homes with as little as 5% down.
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How the recent rate cuts may impact mortgage regulations

With the latest Bank of Canada (BoC) rate cut to 0.50% comes a reminder that many would like us to believe our housing market is tenuous. Once again there is a lot of discussion about just how overheated our market is and the dire circumstances many current home buyers are likely to find themselves at renewal time.

First, let’s think about why the Bank of Canada decided to cut interest rates once again last week. In January the BoC surprised many of us and cut the overnight rate in response to a rapid decline in oil prices. This time around it did so because the Canadian economy has not rebounded the way the Bank had hoped.

In an effort to stimulate spending, the Bank used one of its levers to lower the cost of borrowing. In doing so the value of the loonie further decreased thereby making imports more expensive and exports cheaper. The hope is that foreigners will both invest in and buy Canadian goods. The caveat to that appears to be Canadian real estate where many economists and policy makers would prefer that no additional investment takes place. The problem is, it’s hard to have it both ways. Continue reading “How the recent rate cuts may impact mortgage regulations”

Over Half of Canadian Retirees Are in Debt, but That Doesn’t Have to Include You

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A recent poll done by CIBC and Harris/Decima has found that 59% of Canadian retirees are still in debt. Worse yet, the poll finds that 55% of people that carry debt into retirement have seen their debt levels either increase or remain unchanged over the past year.

As you can imagine, it only becomes more difficult to repay your debt once you have lost the bulk of your income due to retirement. So it stands to reason that every effort should be made to repay your debt before retirement, right? Easier said than done, of course, but it is possible. The earlier you start paying down your debt the better, but there are options, even if you are on the cusp of retirement. Continue reading “Over Half of Canadian Retirees Are in Debt, but That Doesn’t Have to Include You”

Flaherty Tightens Canadian Mortgage Rules.

Come July 9th, the CMHC will no longer insure mortgages with amortizations longer than 25 years, and will further limit the amount a homeowner can refinance their mortgage to 80%, down from 85%.

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In a statement Thursday, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced a number of new mortgage lending rules. Come July 9th, the CMHC will no longer insure mortgages with amortizations longer than 25 years, and will further limit the amount a homeowner can refinance their mortgage to 80%, down from 85%.

The Harper government has now reduced the maximum amortization three times. In 2008, they reduced the maximum amortization from 40 to 35 years, and in 2011 they reduced it again to 30 years. In July, it will be decreased once more to 25 years, eliminating the last vestiges of the extended amortizations introduced by the CMHC in 2006.
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How to Compost

Make your Backyard Greener

Composting is an easy, inexpensive way to ensure your planting soil is getting the nutrients it needs. Compost and leave and grass mulches improve soil texture, prevent erosion, better hold moisture and encourage healthy plant growth. A healthy yard often means a healthy home – less opportunities for water to seep in through the foundation or stagnate in areas where it could lead to rot.

How to compost is simple. Your local municipality or town site should provide compost bins for a subsidized fee – about $35 for a new bin. If not, they will be available at most home hardware shops or you may locate a gently used one on a sell site such as kijiji. Alternatively, you may wish to craft your own Continue reading “How to Compost”

Calgarians Rank City Housing C+, Neighbourhoods B-

Recent Survey Finds Vast Majority of Calgarians are Happy – and Satisfied with Financial Well Being

The Calgary Foundation released its 2011 Vital Signs this week, an ‘annual community checkup that measures the vitality of the community, identifies significant trends, and assigns grades in 12 areas critical to quality of life.’

According to the 2011 report, Calgarians graded most issues the same or as slightly improved over last year. Safety, arts and culture, learning, and work all received B grades; citizen engagement, health and wellness, financial well being and neighbourhoods B-; getting around took a C; and housing, aging population and environmental sustainability garnered a C+.

Despite these rather average grades, an overwhelming 91% of participants described themselves as happy Continue reading “Calgarians Rank City Housing C+, Neighbourhoods B-“

Four Year Fixed Rates Down 40 Basis Points

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As of Monday the best mortgage rate available on a four-year term came down 0.40% to dip under prime rate and station at 2.99%. This was the first mortgage rate change to be seen at CanEquity since the second week of September, wherein the best variable rate available rose 0.20%, while the two-year fixed rate, the three-year fixed rate and the five-year fixed rate saw declines of 10 to 50 basis points (0.10-0.50%).

A qualified mortgage broker can help you deduce if the financing you are requesting to attain is indeed fitted to your budget.

The next interest rate announcement will be made by the Bank of Canada on October 25, and on October 26 the fall Monetary Policy Report will be issued.

Home Energy Audits: Government Rebates to Fix up your Home

It’s a win-win situation: renovate your home, improve energy efficiency, lower your monthly bills and get up to $5,000 back in an ecoENERGY grant to pay for a portion of it. That’s exactly what the Government of Canada is offering through the ecoENERGY Home Retrofit Program, which was extended June, 6 2011.

In order to qualify for rebates, homeowners must contact a local energy advisor to book their home energy audit. These can be found by calling Service Canada (1-800-622-6232) or conducting a quick Internet search for energy auditors in your area. HomePerformance, for instance, provides energy audits in British Columbia and Ontario while Alberta Energy Audit provides eco-energy evaluations for both residential and commercial properties located in Calgary.

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Wall Street: From New Amsterdam to this Quarter’s Close

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For more than 400 years Manhattan has been the site of big trades, big gains and big losses. The island was originally purchased in 1626 from the Lenape Native Americans for a sum of 60 Dutch guilders, the equivalent of roughly $24, by the Walloon director-general Peter Minuit. At this time the city was hailed New Amsterdam.

Four decades later the Dutch lost the island to the English but gained another island, Run – one of the smallest of the Banda Islands of Indonesia – after a century of struggle over its ownership. The island was coveted for its nutmeg trees, from which both the spice nutmeg and mace were traded globally. Just before the Treaty of Breda was signed, following the end of the second Dutch-Anglo War of 1665-1667, the Duke of York renamed New Amsterdam New York. Unfortunately, in 1817, the Dutch monopoly on spice trade was ended when nutmeg trees that were sent and planted on various British colonies began yielding.

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Investing for Young People Part 3: Differentiating Mutual Funds

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Perhaps jumping into the stock market has turned out to be more of a chore than you and your child anticipated. If savings bonds and GICs are not offering the rates of return you and your child would like to see their savings yielding, mutual funds are a promising alternative.

At current Canadians have well over 1,200 different mutual funds to select from. How do you know which is right for you? Here is some general information on the various types of mutual funds available in Canada.

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