HAARUUN DHUBAT (YAHOO FINANCE) - Maybe it's the sky-rocketing home prices in key markets, but Canadians are saying sayonara to the traditional way of buying a home and are either going in alone or doubling up with friends or relatives.
A quarter of Canadians who’ve bought a home in the last two years made the significant financial move on their own, while four in ten Canadians believe purchasing a home with friends and family is a great way to access the housing market, according to a survey by TD.
Jesse Vorona is one of those ‘solo’ buyers. He recently purchased his first property in the Greater Toronto Area because he was more than comfortable going it alone.
"I like to call the shots when it comes to my investments,” Vorona told Yahoo Canada Finance.
Households comprising of single Canadians make up 27.6 per cent of all homes, according to Statistics Canada. And it looks like young, single women are dominating the solo route in Canadian cities. Women, especially those in their 20s, represent one-third of all condo sales in Montreal and Toronto, according to the Globe and Mail newspaper. Single women are more likely than men to be solo first-time home buyers thanks to changes in income levels and demographic shift, according to RBC's 19th annual Homeownership Poll.
"Women are being more cautious than men, weighing cost, affordability and job security before buying a home," Marcia Moffat, head of home equity financing for RBC, said in a recent release.
But there are those who are less comfortable making the investment without a safety net or financial support. Toronto resident Mike McCann went the non-traditional route, purchasing a property with multiple buyers because of the security it offered.
“For larger properties I would work within a partnership for financial reasons,” McCann says.
If you are buying alone or with a partner, many of the guiding principles that exist for traditional, nuclear families still apply. For instance, you need to know how much you are comfortable spending and what your budget will look like once home-associated costs are accounted for.
"Once homebuyers set their budget and down payment, they can take their prospective monthly mortgage payment for a test-drive and 'pay' into a TFSA or savings account," says Michelle Snow, associate vice president, retail products at TD in a release.
"This two-fold solution allows the homebuyer to see how comfortable the monthly mortgage payment is before locking in, and save for a larger down payment at the same time. For co-purchasers, it opens the line of communication to talk about how these monthly payments will work after the purchase."
Communication will be key in any alternative purchasing plan, especially when it comes to the purchase price, which is a motivating factor for pooling capital and seeking alternative home buying strategies in the first place.
“I think it is predominantly due to an increase in property prices and tighter lending requirements,” Snow says of the influx of co-purchasers.
For example, 96 per cent of Ontario-based home buyers consider the price of the home the most important factor when purchasing property, according to research from the Real Estate Council of Ontario. The national average purchase price for a single-family home in Canada now sits at $406, 372, which is a 10 per cent increase from the same month year-over-year (February), according to theCanadian Real Estate Association.
From an ownership standpoint, buying a home by yourself or with a group isn’t necessarily better than what has been traditionally observed in the Canadian housing market says Chris Allen a Toronto-based realtor.
Then again “If you have the capital then absolutely go ahead and put it in your name and finance the property yourself or with your friends and family,” says Allen. “The trend with ‘team buying’ is a good thing if you’ve done your due diligence with your friend, you don’t want to get into a business relationship without nailing down all of the facts.”
Consider this before you buy a home with your group of besties: If you are buying a home there should be some legally-binding agreement that protects home buyers from one of the other members leaving the arrangement, cautions certified financial planner Margaret Richards.
“[Traditionally] if you are married there is family law to protect you,” says Richards.
Following the annual review of its insurance products and capital requirements, CMHC will increase its mortgage loan insurance premiums for homeowner and 1 – 4 unit rental properties effective May 1, 2014.
The increase applies to mortgage loan insurance premiums for owner occupied, self-employed and 1-to-4 unit rental properties, including low-ratio refinance premiums. This does not apply to mortgages currently insured by CMHC.
CMHC’s capital management framework is consistent with international practices and Canadian guidelines for mortgage insurers. Increased capital targets are consistent with Canadian and international industry trends and makes the financial system more stable and resilient.
“The higher premiums reflect CMHC’s higher capital targets” said Steven Mennill, CMHC’s Vice-President, Insurance Operations. “CMHC’s capital holdings reduce Canadian taxpayers’ exposure to the housing market and contribute to the long term stability of the financial system.”
For the average Canadian homebuyer requiring CMHC insured financing, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment. This is not expected to have a material impact on the housing market.
Effective May 1st, CMHC Purchase (owner occupied 1 – 4 unit) mortgage insurance premiums will increase by approximately 15%, on average, for all loan-to-value ranges. CMHC reviews its premiums on an annual basis and, going forward, plans to announce decisions on premiums in the first quarter of each year. The homeowner premium increase follows changes CMHC made to its portfolio insurance product earlier this year.
As Canada’s national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable, and affordable housing solutions that will continue to create vibrant and healthy communities and cities across the country.
For additional highlights please see attached backgrounder and key fact sheet.
Information on this release:
Charles Sauriol, Media Relations
TARA PERKINS (GLOBE & MAIL) – Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest mortgage lender, has quietly cut some of its mortgage rates this weekend. The move appears to be part of a broader dip in rates, although economists generally still expect an increase in 2014.
Five-year fixed mortgage rates rose industry-wide for much of 2013, from their low of 2.64 per cent in April to their high of 3.39 per cent in September, according to Alyssa Richard, the chief executive officer of RateHub.ca. They edged down a bit later in the fall but had generally been steady at around 3.25 per cent since then.
RBC is now cutting its two-, three-, four– and five-year fixed mortgage rates each by 10 basis points. In an emailed statement, the bank said that some mortgage lenders have recently been pricing at lower rates, prompting it to move.
Royal Bank is often a price leader when it comes to mortgages, and other big banks frequently follow suit after it changes its prices. Its five-year fixed mortgage rate is now 3.69 per cent.
Mortgage prices tend to follow changes in five-year government bond yields because of the impact that those yields have on banks’ funding costs. The yield on five-year government of Canada bonds has fallen from 1.95 per cent on December 31st to 1.71 per cent on January 16th, according to Bank of Canada data, although it fluctuated during that time.
Canadian bond yields tend to follow U.S. bond yields. Yields began rising last May after U.S. employment numbers came in much better than expected, raising hopes for the U.S. economy. Then they shot up further after U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke suggested the central bank could start tapering its asset-buying program, a signal that he thought the economy’s health was improving.
While the U.S. central bank has begun tapering, December jobs numbers and some other recent data have been disappointing, and caused bond yields to fall.
Most economists still expect that both yields and mortgage rates will tick up gradually through 2014, as the U.S. economy improves and the central bank continues to back off of its asset-buying program, known as quantitative easing.
But as Ms. Richard points out, it is possible that the U.S. economy will prove to be weaker than expected, and that could result in further decreases in bond yields and mortgage rates.
Royal Bank of Canada, which normally issues a press release when it changes its mortgage rates, made this move quietly, simply posting the new rates on its site. The news was reported this weekend by the blog Canadian Mortgage Trends.
Bank of Montreal dropped its five-year rate to 2.99 per cent early last year, spurring a price battle that angered Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Mr. Flaherty has taken numerous steps, such as tightening the mortgage insurance rules, to prevent consumers from taking on too much mortgage debt. Policy-makers have been trying to warn consumers that, at some point, rates will rise.
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