Milton Real Estate

December 2020 Market Statistics

December 2020 Market Statistics

GTA REALTORS® Release December Stats

Despite an unprecedented year due to COVID-19, including necessary public health restrictions and uncertainty surrounding the economy, Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported over 95,000 home sales in 2020 – the third-best result on record. The average selling price reached a new record of almost $930,000.

“The Greater Toronto Area housing market followed an unfamiliar path in 2020. Following the steep COVID-induced drop-off in demand during the spring, home sales roared back to record levels throughout the summer and fall. A strong economic rebound in many sectors of the economy, ultra-low borrowing costs and the enhanced use of technology for virtual open houses and showings fuelled and sustained the housing market recovery,” said Lisa Patel, Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) President.

Highlights from 2020 include:

  • 95,151 sales were reported through TRREB’s MLS® System – up by 8.4 per cent compared to 2019. This included a record result for the month of December, with 7,180 sales – a year-over-year increase of 64.5 per cent.
  • Year-over-year sales growth was strongest in the GTA regions surrounding Toronto, particularly for single-family home types.
  • The average selling price reached a new record of $929,699 – up by 13.5 per cent compared to 2019. This included an average price of $932,222 in December – a year-over-year increase of 11.2 per cent. The strongest average price growth was experienced for single-family home types in the suburban regions of the GTA.
  • After a pronounced dip in market activity between mid-March and the end of May, market conditions improved dramatically in the second half of the year, with multiple consecutive months of record sales and average selling prices.

“While the housing market as a whole recovered strongly in 2020, there was a dichotomy between the single-family market segments and the condominium apartment segment. The supply of single-family homes remained constrained resulting in strong competition between buyers and double-digit price increases. In contrast, growth in condo listings far-outstripped growth in sales. Increased choice for condo buyers ultimately led to more bargaining power and a year-over-year dip in average condo selling prices during the last few months of the year,” said Jason Mercer, TRREB Chief Market Analyst.

Area  Average Selling Price Current Month Percent increase/decrease ytd Average DOM Current month
       
Milton  $                      860,487.00 14.9% 14
Oakville  $                   1,246,101.00 19.4% 23
Burlington  $                      899,511.00 14.2% 18
Halton Hills  $                      905,440.00 17.8% 17
Guelph  $                      638,487.00 16.0% 21
Mississauga  $                      881,769.00 16.0% 17
       

Milton Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 14.9%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +9.6 %

Oakville Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 19.4%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +11.5 %

Burlington Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 14.2%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +18.9 %

 

Halton Hills Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 17.8%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +19.7 %

Mississauga Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 16%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +0 %

Posted by Christine Pecharich in Blog Posts, Burlington, Georgetown, Guelph, Halton Hills, Market Reports, Milton, Mississauga, Oakville, Toronto
New Year, New Home? Set Homeownership Goals Whether You’re Buying, Selling, or Staying Put

New Year, New Home? Set Homeownership Goals Whether You’re Buying, Selling, or Staying Put

The start of a new year always compels people to take a fresh look at their goals, from health and career to relationships and finance. But with historically low mortgage rates, increased home sales and price growth, and a tight housing inventory, the time is right to also make some homeownership resolutions for 2021.

Home buyers, is this the year you work to improve your credit score, pay down some debt, or save for a down payment?

Home sellers, we’ve laid out plans for you to get top dollar for your property, including timing your home sale, making your property stand out from the crowd, and investing in your extra living space.

And even if you’re staying put for awhile, homeowners, you can resolve to improve your status quo by evaluating your home budget, finalizing your home maintenance schedule, or maybe investing in a second property.

So no matter your homeownership status, we’ve got some ideas and advice for you to make this year your best one yet. Read on to learn more.

 

HOME BUYERS

Resolution #1: Qualify for a better mortgage with a higher credit score.

Your credit report highlights your current debt, bill-paying history, and other key financial information. Importantly for your home-buying journey, it is also used by lenders and companies to calculate your credit score, which partly determines if you are qualified to obtain a mortgage. Therefore, before you start house-hunting, make sure your finances are in the best possible shape by checking your credit report and credit score, available directly from Equifax and TransUnion.1

Your credit score will be a number ranging from 300-900. Generally speaking, a credit score of 725 or higher is considered very good to excellent.2 If your score drops below 725, you might need to work at boosting your score for a few months before you begin house-hunting. Ways to do this are to pay your bills on time every month, keep your credit card balances low, and avoid applying for new credit.3

  

Resolution #2: Improve your credit health by paying down debt.

Do you have student loans, credit card debt, or car payments tying up your income each month? That debt is hurting your “buying power,” or the amount of home you can afford. Not only is it money that you can’t spend on your new home, but your debt-to-income ratio also affects your credit score, which we discussed above. The less debt you have, the higher your score and the better mortgage you can obtain.

If you can, pay off some debt in its entiretylike a low balance on a credit card. Then apply that “extra” money you previously paid on that credit card to pay off bigger debt, like a car loan. Even if you can’t pay off all (or any) of your debt in full, reducing the balances of each account will help you qualify for the best possible mortgage terms.

 

Resolution #3: Create a financial safety net before applying for a mortgage.

Don’t forget that buying a home requires some cash as well. The down payment depends on the home’s price, but the minimum is 5% for a purchase price of under $500,000, and closing costs range from 2-3%.4,5 You’ll also need money for moving expenses and any initial maintenance tasks that might pop up. And as the pandemic taught us, you never know when an unforeseen event might cause a job loss, drop in income, or health scare, so having some liquid savings will ensure that you can still pay your mortgage if a crisis occurs.

Dedicate some effort to building up your reserves. Cut down on unnecessary expenses, and consider having a portion of each paycheck automatically deposited into your savings account to avoid the temptation to spend it.

 

HOME SELLERS

Resolution #4: Decide on the right time to sell your home.

In a typical year, spring is when home sales spike in Canada. This might be the best time to take advantage of the price increase predicted by the Canadian Real Estate Association, which says, “The national average price is forecast to rise by 9.1% in 2021 to $620,400.”6

But sales price isn’t the only thing to consider. You might not be ready to sell your home yet because you don’t want to uproot your kids during the school year or because you need to tackle some minor upgrades before placing your home on the market.

This means that there is no one month or season that is the perfect time to sell your home. Instead, the right timeline for you takes into account factors such as when you’ll earn the highest profit, personal convenience, and whether your home is even ready to put on the market. A trusted real estate professional can talk you through your specific needs to clarify when to sell your home.

 

Resolution #5: Boost your home’s resale value by making your property shine.

Housing inventory is at historic lows across the country, and that means the market is fiercely competitive.7 Selling your home in 2021 has the potential to net you a huge return right now, and you can maximize that amount with some simple fixes to make sure your property outshines your neighbors’ for sale down the street.

In your home, you might need to tackle a minor remodeling project, such as upgrading the flooring or adding a fresh coat of paint. According to one remodeling impact report, simply refinishing existing hardwood floors recoups 100% of the cost at resale, and completely replacing it with new wood flooring recovers 106% of costs.8

Outside, you might consider improving your curb appeal by removing a dead bush, trimming a tree that blocks the front window, or power-washing your moldy driveway and sidewalks. In fact, real estate agents say cleaning the exterior of your house can add $10,000 to $15,000 to a home’s sale price.9 And improving a home’s landscaping may increase its value by 15 to 25%.10

A good agent should provide custom-tailored suggestions to ensure your property pops inside and out. Ask us about our local insider secrets that will make your home stand out from others on the market.

 

Resolution #6: Invest in your “extra” living space to meet current buyers’ needs.

Due to COVID-19, more people are staying at home to work, go to school, exercise, and stay entertained. And these lifestyle changes are showing up in home buyer preferences. For example, according to one study, buyers are looking more and more for homes with formal, outfitted home offices, private outdoor spaces, and updated kitchen appliances.11

So if you’ve got an underutilized room, consider turning it into an office, home gym, schoolroom, or multi-purpose room to meet current home buyer needs and attract better offers on your home. Got some underwhelming space outside? You could turn it into an outdoor entertainment area by adding a firepit, upgrading the patio furniture, or installing a grilling area. Be sure to consult with a local real estate professional before investing in a renovation, however, as each market’s buyers have different tastes.

 

HOMEOWNERS

Resolution #7: Evaluate your household budget to reflect financial changes.

After this past year, in particular, your financial picture may have changed. Maybe you were furloughed, had your hours reduced, or got a new job further from home. Perhaps you’ve kept the same job, but you’re now working remotely. A work-from-home arrangement could mean less money spent on gas, tolls, a professional wardrobe, and dining out for lunch.

But this could also mean new (or increased) expenses now that you’re working at home, such as new tech-related purchases, faster Wi-Fi, and higher energy bills. January marks the perfect opportunity to update your income and expenses and review last year’s spending habits, tweaking as needed for 2021.

For more specific ideas, contact us for our free report “20 Ways to Save Money and Stretch Your Household Budget.”

 

Resolution #8: Save money now (and earn more later) with a home maintenance plan.

Having a schedule of regular home maintenance projects to tackle will save you money now and in the long-term. You’ll avoid some surprise “emergency fixes,” and when you’re ready to eventually sell your home, you’ll get higher offers from buyers who aren’t put off by overdue repairs.

Even if nothing necessarily needs fixing right now, you can lower your energy costs by maintaining and upgrading your home. For example, consider upgrading some features to ENERGY STAR high-efficiency products. You could save 10% in energy costs if you switch out your gas broiler, and up to 45% if you change your windows!12,13

 For a breakdown of home maintenance projects to tackle throughout the year, contact us for our free report “House Care Calendar: A Seasonal Guide to Maintaining Your Home.”

 

Resolution #9: Invest in real estate for a better standard of living.

Even if you don’t plan on leaving your current residence, real estate is a great way to improve your quality of life in 2021.

Have cabin fever from the long quarantine? A vacation home in a getaway location you love lets you safely spread your wings. And if you have been looking for a second stream of income, an investment property might be your answer. Just be sure to consult with a real estate professional to get a realistic sense of a property’s true income potential.

Want more information on how a second property fits into your 2021 plans? Request our free report, “Move Up vs Second Home: Which One Is Right For You?”

  

LET US HELP YOU WITH YOUR 2021 GOALS

Without a plan and a support system, 73% of Canadians will break their new year’s resolutions.14 Whether you’re looking to buy, sell, or stay put in your home, it helps to connect with a trusted real estate agent to keep you motivated and on track.

As local market experts, we have the knowledge, experience, and networks to help you achieve your homeownership goals, whatever they may be. Reach out to us today for a free consultation and commit to a happy and prosperous new year.

 

 

 

Sources:

  1. Government of Canada –
    https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/credit-reports-score/order-credit-report.html
  2. Equifax –
    https://www.consumer.equifax.ca/personal/education/credit-score/what-is-a-good-credit-score/
  3. Government of Canada –
    https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/credit-reports-score/improve-credit-score.html
  4. RateShop –
    https://www.rateshop.ca/page-minimum-down-payment-in-canada
  5. Bank of Montreal –
    https://www.bmo.com/main/personal/mortgages/closing-costs/
  6. Canadian Real Estate Association –
    https://www.crea.ca/housing-market-stats/quarterly-forecasts/
  7. Canadian Mortgage Trends –
    https://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/2020/12/tight-market-conditions-keep-home-sales-and-prices-at-historical-highs/
  8. National Association of Realtors –
    https://www.nar.realtor/sites/default/files/documents/2019-remodeling-impact-10-03-2019.pdf
  9. House Logic –
    https://www.houselogic.com/save-money-add-value/add-value-to-your-home/adding-curb-appeal-value-to-home/
  10. Ottawa Citizen –
    https://ottawacitizen.com/life/homes/landscape-tips-to-increase-your-homes-value
  11. HomeLight –
    https://www.homelight.com/blog/top-agent-insights-for-q2-2020/
  12. Government of Canada –
    https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/spotlight-energy-efficiency/2020/10/21/23081
  13. Government of Canada –
    https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/spotlight-energy-efficiency/2020/11/26/winter-coming-top-tips-heat-your-home-less/23141
  14. Ipsos –
    https://www.ipsos.com/en-ca/three-ten-31-canadians-will-set-new-years-resolution-yet-three-quarters-73-eventually-break-them

 

Posted by Christine Pecharich in Blog Posts
November 2020 Market Statistics

November 2020 Market Statistics

GTA REALTORS® Release November Stats

The record pace of home sales in the fall continued with 8,766 sales reported in November by Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® through the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board’s (TRREB) MLS® System. This result was up by 24.3 per cent compared to November of last year.

Generally speaking, year-over-year growth in sales was stronger for single-family homes in the GTA regions surrounding the City of Toronto, but annual single-family growth rates remained robust in the ‘416’ area code as well. “Home buyers continued to take advantage of very low borrowing costs in November, especially those looking to buy some form of single-family home. Competition between buyers for ground-oriented homes has been extremely strong in many neighbourhoods throughout the GTA, which has continued to support double-digit annual rates of price growth,” said Lisa Patel, TRREB President.

The MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark was up by 10.6 per cent in November 2020 compared to November 2019. The average selling price for all home types combined was up by 13.3 per cent to $955,615.

Market conditions tightened in many single-family market segments in November, resulting in double-digit year-over-year increases in average selling prices for detached houses, semi-detached houses and townhouses.

In contrast to the single-family market segments, buyers continued to benefit from much more choice in the condominium apartment market compared to last year, particularly in the City of Toronto. The number of new condominium apartment listings in November was almost double that reported in November of last year. More options in the condo apartment market translated into a small year-over-year decline in the average condominium apartment selling price in the ‘416’ area code.

“The condominium apartment market is certainly more balanced than in previous years, with some buyers benefitting from lower selling prices compared to last year. However, this may be somewhat of a short-term phenomenon. Once we move into the post-COVID period, we will start to see a resumption of population growth, both from immigration and a return of non-permanent residents. This will lead to an increase in demand for condominium apartments in the ownership and rental markets,” said Jason Mercer, TRREB Chief Market Analyst.

Area  Average Selling Price Current Month Percent increase/decrease ytd Average DOM Current month
       
Milton  $                      921,143.00 14.3% 12
Oakville  $                   1,276,051.00 19.1% 23
Burlington  $                      948,924.00 13.7% 19
Halton Hills  $                   1,000,255.00 17.5% 14
Guelph  $                      665,264.00 14.1% 9
Mississauga  $                      899,942.00 16.4% 12
Toronto Central  $                      796,874.00 7.9% 18

Milton Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 14.3%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +7.7 %

Oakville Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 19.1%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +9.9 %

Burlington Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.7%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +17.1 %

Halton Hills Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 17.5%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +18.4 %

Mississauga Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  +16.4%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  -3.2 %

Toronto Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 7.9%

Number of Sales over this time last year:    -9.7%

 

Guelph Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  +14.1 %

Posted by Christine Pecharich
October 2020 Market Statistics

October 2020 Market Statistics

GTA REALTORS® Release October Stats

Home sales in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) were up again year-over-year for the fourth month in a row. Our Members made 10,563 sales as reported through the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board’s MLS® System in October 2020. This was up by 25.1 per cent compared to 8,445 transactions in October 2019.

Sales and new listings reached record levels for the month of October. However, year-over-year growth rates for sales and new listings diverged in some market segments. In the detached market segment, the pace of annual sales growth far outstripped growth in new listings. Conversely, the condominium apartment market segment experienced more than double the new listings compared to October 2019, whereas sales were only up by 2.2 per cent over the same period.

“Competition between buyers of single-family homes, and particularly detached houses, remained strong last month and continued to support double-digit annual rates of price growth in many GTA neighbourhoods. In contrast, condo buyers have benefitted from much more choice compared to last year. Pre-COVID polling had already pointed to an increase in investor selling in 2020. The pandemic only added to this trend with a stall in economic growth and a halt to tourism impacting cashflows for many investors,” said Lisa Patel, TRREB’s President.

The MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark was up by 10.8 per cent on a year-over-year basis in October 2020. The average selling price for all home types combined was $968,318 – up by 13.7 per cent compared to $851,877 in October 2019.

“Year-to-date home sales through October were above last year’s level. The economic recovery in some sectors coupled with low borrowing costs has kept home purchases top-of-mind for many GTA residents. With this being said, we have not accounted for all of the pent-up demand that resulted from the spring downturn. Expect record or near-record home sales for the remainder of 2020,” said Jason Mercer, TRREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

Area  Average Selling Price Current Month Percent increase/decrease Average DOM
Milton  $                     916,717.00 13.8% 14
Oakville  $                  1,313,481.00 18.9% 21
Burlington  $                     917,013.00 13.5% 15
Halton Hills  $                     935,612.00 16.4% 14
Guelph  $                     620,000.00 15.9% 10
Mississauga  $                     878,276.00 16.5% 16
Toronto Central  $                  1,147,600.00 12.1% 18

Milton Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.8 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  + 5.7  %

Oakville Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 18.9 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  + 8.1  %

Burlington Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.5  %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  + 16.9  %

Halton Hills Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 16.4 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  + 18.7  %

Mississauga Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 16.5 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 5.7  %

Toronto (Central) Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 12.1 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 8.6  %

Posted by Christine Pecharich in Burlington, Georgetown, Guelph, Halton Hills, Market Reports, Milton, Mississauga, Oakville, Toronto
September 2020 Market Statistics

September 2020 Market Statistics

GTA REALTORS® Release September Stats

Toronto Regional Real Estate Board President Lisa Patel announced that sales reported through

TRREB’s MLS® System by Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® amounted to 11,083 – a new record for the month of September. This result was up by 42.3 per cent compared to September 2019. Following a record third quarter, sales through the first nine months of 2020 were up by approximately one per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

“Improving economic conditions and extremely low borrowing costs sustained record-level sales in September, as we continued to account for the substantial amount of pent-up demand that resulted from the spring downturn. Further improvements in the economy, including job growth, would support strong home sales moving forward. However, it will be important to monitor the trajectory of COVID-19 cases, the related government policy response, and the impact on jobs and consumer confidence,” said Ms. Patel.

Year-over-year sales growth in September continued to be driven by ground-oriented market segments, including detached and semi-detached houses and townhouses. Annual growth rates were also higher for sales reported in the GTA regions surrounding the City of Toronto.

The September 2020 MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by 11.6 per cent year-over-year. The average selling price for all home types combined in September was $960,772 – up by 14 per cent year-over-year. Price growth was driven by the low-rise market segments. The relatively better supplied condominium apartment segment experienced a comparatively slower pace of price growth.

“On a GTA-wide basis, market conditions tightened in September relative to last year, with sales increasing at a faster pace than new listings. With competition between buyers increasing noticeably, double-digit year-over-year price growth was commonplace throughout the region in September, resulting in the overall average selling price reaching a new record,” said Jason Mercer, TRREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

Area  Average Selling Price Current Month  Percent increase/decrease Average DOM
Milton  $                      910,683.00 13.0% 22
Oakville  $                   1,419,482.00 18.0% 18
Burlington  $                      915,994.00 13.5% 18
Halton Hills  $                      938,970.00 15.2% 13
Guelph  $                      654,490.00 21.0% 10
Mississauga  $                      908,545.00 17.7% 16
Toronto Central  $                   1,134,524.00 12.1% 18

Milton Summary:
Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +1.5 %

Oakville Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 18%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  + 5 %

Burlington Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.5 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  + 10.1 %

Halton Hills Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 15.2 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  + 18.4  %

Mississauga Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 17.7 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 8.1 %

Toronto Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 12.1%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 9.7 %

Posted by Christine Pecharich
August 2020 Market Statistics

August 2020 Market Statistics

GTA REALTORS® Release August Stats

Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) President Lisa Patel announced that the strong rebound

in Greater Toronto Area (GTA) home sales continued with a record result for the month of August. GTA REALTORS® reported 10,775 residential sales through TRREB’s MLS® System in August 2020 – up by 40.3 per cent compared to August 2019.

Sales were up on a year-over-year basis for all major home types, both in the City of Toronto and surrounding GTA regions. It should be noted that the low-rise market segments, including detached and semi-detached houses and townhouses, were the drivers of sales growth. Condominium apartment sales were up on an annual basis for the second straight month but to a lesser degree.

“Increased demand for ownership housing has been based on improving economic conditions, in terms of monthly GDP growth and job creation, and the continuation of very low borrowing costs. In addition, fewer households have chosen to go on vacation as a result of COVID-19 and instead have remained in the GTA and been active in the housing market, satisfying pent-up demand from the spring,” said Ms. Patel.

Both the number of new listings entered into TRREB’s MLS® System during the month and the number of active listings at the end of the August 2020 were up on a year-over-year basis. While new listings were up strongly for all home types, growth in new condominium apartment listings far outstripped growth in the other market segments.

“Generally speaking, market conditions remained very tight in the GTA resale market in August. Competition between buyers was especially strong for low-rise home types, leading to robust annual rates of price growth. However, with growth in condominium apartment listings well-outstripping condo sales growth, condo market conditions were comparatively more balanced, which was reflected in a slower pace of price growth in that segment,” said Jason Mercer, TRREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by 11.1 per cent in August 2020 compared to August 2019. Over the same period, the overall average selling price was up by 20.1 per cent to $951,404. Annual detached and semi-detached sales growth was stronger in the comparatively more-expensive City of Toronto compared to the surrounding GTA regions, which helps explain why growth in the overall average selling price outstripped growth in the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark.

Milton Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 11.2 %

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 5.3 %

Oakville Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 15.7%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 2.7 %

Burlington Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.4%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +2.7 %

Halton Hills Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 15.2%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +12.1 %

Mississauga Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 17.3%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 13.8%

Brampton Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 14.2%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 3.4%

Toronto Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 12.3%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 12.6 %

Posted by Christine Pecharich
Lowest Mortgage Rates in History: What It Means for Homeowners and Buyers

Lowest Mortgage Rates in History: What It Means for Homeowners and Buyers

The interest rate on Canada’s most popular mortgage, the five-year fixed rate, has fallen to its lowest level in history. In early June, HSBC made headlines when it began offering Canadians a five-year fixed-rate mortgage below 2%. Multiple brokers followed suit, and some are now advertising even lower rates.1 And while many Canadians have rushed to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity, others question the hype. Are today’s mortgage rates really a bargain?

While discounted five-year fixed mortgage rates have hovered between 2% and 4% for the past decade, they haven’t always been so low.2 For a period of 18 years, from 1973 to 1991, the posted five-year mortgage rate never fell below 10%. At the time, the Bank of Canada was hiking interest rates to try to stem a rising tide of inflation. It’s hard to imagine now, but the five-year fixed rate peaked at over 21% in 1981.3 Fortunately for home buyers, inflation began to normalize soon after, sending mortgage rates on a downward trajectory that has helped make homeownership more affordable for millions of Canadians.

So what’s causing today’s five-year fixed rates to sink to unprecedented lows? Economic uncertainty.

Fixed mortgage rates move in sync with the yield offered on government-backed bonds.4 As the coronavirus pandemic continues to dampen the economy and inject volatility into the stock market, a growing number of investors are shifting their money into low-risk bonds. This increased demand has driven bond yields—and mortgage rates—down.1

Quantitative easing measures taken by the Bank of Canada are also helping to bring down mortgage rates. The federal bank dropped its overnight lending rate to .25%, and it continues to inject billions of dollars into the economy, giving financial institutions the confidence and ability to continue lending.1

 HOW LOW COULD MORTGAGE RATES GO?

No one can say with certainty how low mortgage rates will fall or when they will rise again. But the Bank of Canada has signalled its commitment to keeping the policy rate at its effective lower bound of .25% for the foreseeable future, and many economists expect it to remain there through 2022.4

The real estate technology firm Mortgage Sandbox compiled forecast data from Bank of Montreal, Central 1, Desjardins, National Bank, Royal Bank, Scotiabank, and TD Bank. According to their analysis, the consensus was that the fixed 5-year mortgage rate will rise modestly over the next two years, averaging between 2.3% and 2.88%.5

While forecasts may differ, many experts agree: Those who wait to take advantage of these unprecedented rates could miss out on the deal of a lifetime. Positive news about a vaccine or a faster-than-expected economic recovery could send rates back up to pre-pandemic levels.

  SHOULD I CONSIDER BREAKING MY CURRENT MORTGAGE?

If you have a variable rate or recently renewed your mortgage, you may already be enjoying the benefits of falling interest rates. But if you’re locked into a higher fixed-rate mortgage for the next several years, you’re probably wondering if it’s a good idea to refinance.

Reduced interest rates can save homeowners a bundle on both monthly payments and interest over the term of a mortgage. The chart below illustrates the potential savings when you decrease your mortgage rate by just one percentage point. When it comes to refinancing, the bigger the spread, the greater the potential savings.

 Estimated Monthly Payment On 5-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage

25-Year Amortization 

Loan Amount 3.5% 2.5% Monthly Savings Interest Savings Over 5 Years
$100,000 $499 $448 $51 $4,720
$200,000 $999 $896 $103 $9,441
$300,000 $1498 $1,344 $154 $14,161
$400,000 $1,997 $1,792 $205 $18,881
$500,000 $2,496 $2,240 $256 $23,601

Of course, you’ll need to factor in prepayment penalties and any fees associated with your new mortgage. In some cases, these can cost as much as 4% of the mortgage amount.6 You can use an online refinance calculator to estimate your potential savings, or we’d be happy to connect you with a mortgage professional in our network who can help you decide if refinancing is a good option for you.

 HOW DO LOW MORTGAGE RATES BENEFIT HOME BUYERS?

We’ve already shown how low rates can save you money on your mortgage payments. But if you can meet the mortgage stress-test requirements,* they can also give a boost to your budget by increasing your purchasing power.

For example, imagine you have a budget of $1,500 to put toward your monthly mortgage payment. If you take out a 5-year fixed-rate mortgage at 4.0% amortized over 25 years, you can afford a loan of $285,000.

Now let’s assume the mortgage rate falls to 3.0%. At that rate, you can afford to borrow $317,000 while still keeping the same $1,500 monthly payment. That’s a budget increase of $32,000!

If the rate falls even further to 2.0%, you can afford to borrow $354,000 and still pay the same $1,500 each month. That’s $69,000 over your original budget! All because the interest rate fell by two percentage points. If you’ve been priced out of the market before, today’s low rates may put you in a better position to afford your dream home.

On the other hand, rising mortgages rates will erode your purchasing power. Wait to buy, and you may have to settle for a smaller home in a less-desirable neighbourhood. So if you’re planning to move, don’t miss out on the phenomenal discount you can get with today’s historically-low rates.

(*This scenario assumes you can meet the current mortgage stress-test requirements.)

 HOW CAN I SECURE THE BEST AVAILABLE MORTGAGE RATE?

The best mortgage rates are typically reserved for only highly-qualified borrowers. So what steps can you take to secure the lowest possible rate?

    1. Consider a Variable-Rate Mortgage

 If you’re looking for the lowest rate possible, and you don’t mind the added risk, a five-year variable mortgage may be right for you. Even though the prime rate has held steady at 2.45% since April 10, lenders are gradually increasing their discount rates.1 And interest rates are expected to remain low at least through next year.

    2. Opt for a Closed Mortgage

 Closed mortgages usually come with hefty penalties if you opt to prepay or refinance your mortgage before the term ends. However, they offer lower interest rates than convertible or open mortgages. It’s important to note that not all closed mortgages are created equal. Before you commit, make sure you understand exactly how much you’ll be expected to pay should you need to break your mortgage mid-term.

    3. Give Your Credit Score a Boost

You may have heard that the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has raised its minimum credit score requirement from 600 to 680. And while there are plenty of banks willing to lend to borrowers with a lower score, their best rates go to those with excellent credit. Unfortunately, there’s no fast fix for bad credit, but you can take steps to give your score a boost before you apply for a loan:7

  • Dispute inaccuracies on your credit report.
  • Pay off debt, or spread it across multiple credit facilities.
  • Charge small amounts and then quickly pay off any dormant credit cards.
  • To lower your utilization rate, pay your credit card bill before the statement date

     4. Make a Large Down Payment

 You may be surprised to learn that the lowest advertised rates often go to insured borrowers who put down less than 20%. That’s because these “high-ratio borrowers” must pay for mortgage default insurance, which protects the lender from any financial loss. So while “conventional borrowers” who make a down payment of 20% may be charged a slightly higher interest rate, their total borrowing costs are lower because they don’t have to pay for mortgage default insurance.8 A down payment larger than 20% can bring down borrowing costs even further.

    5. Shop Around

 Rates, terms, and fees can vary widely amongst lenders, so do your homework. If you’re renewing an existing mortgage, start with your current lender. Then contact several others to find out which one is willing to offer you the best overall deal. But be sure to complete the process within 45 days—or else the credit inquiries by multiple mortgage companies could have a negative impact on your credit score.9

READY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE LOWEST MORTGAGE RATES IN HISTORY?

 

 

Mortgage rates have never been this low. Don’t miss out on your chance to lock in a great rate on a new home or refinance your existing mortgage. Either way, we can help.

 

We’d be happy to connect you with the most trusted mortgage professionals in our network. And if you’re ready to start shopping for a new home, we’d love to assist you with your search—all at no cost to you! Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

 

Sources:

  1. Canadian Mortgage Trends –
    https://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/2020/06/mortgage-rates-keep-setting-new-record-lows/
  2. Rate Hub –
    https://www.ratehub.ca/5-year-fixed-mortgage-rate-history
  3. The Globe and Mail –
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/the-market/remember-when-what-have-we-learned-from-80s-interest-rates/article24398735/
  4. Canadian Mortgage Trends –
    https://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/2020/07/bank-of-canada-hints-at-no-interest-rate-hikes-until-2023/
  5. Mortgage Sandbox –
    https://www.mortgagesandbox.com/mortgage-interest-rate-forecast
  6. Financial Post –
    https://business.financialpost.com/moneywise/with-mortgage-rates-bottomed-out-its-time-for-homeowners-to-take-advantage
  7. Canadian Mortgage Trends –
    https://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/2020/02/five-tips-increase-credit-score-quickly/
  8. Integrated Mortgage Planners –
    https://www.integratedmortgageplanners.com/blog/first-time-home-buyers/canadian-mortgage-rates-explained-why-a-smaller-down-payment-comes-with-a-lower-mortgage-rate-tuesday-morning-interest-rate-update-may-23-2017/
  9. Equifax –
    https://www.consumer.equifax.ca/personal/education/credit-report/understanding-hard-inquiries-on-credit-report/

Posted by Christine Pecharich
July 2020 Market Statistics

July 2020 Market Statistics

GTA REALTORS® Release July 2020 Stats

Toronto Regional Real Estate Board President Lisa Patel announces that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 11,081 sales through TRREB’s MLS® System in July 2020 – a 29.5 per cent increase over July 2019 and a new record for the month of July. On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, sales were up by 49.5 per cent compared to June 2020.

Year-over-year sales growth was driven by low-rise home types, particularly in the regions surrounding the City of Toronto. However, condominium apartment sales were also up on an annual basis, including in Toronto. Total new listings were also up strongly on a year-over-year basis by 24.7 per cent, but this annual growth rate was less than that of sales, which means market conditions tightened on average compared to July 2019. In addition, active listings at the end of July were down by 16.3 per cent.

“Sales activity was extremely strong for the first full month of summer. Normally we would see sales dip in July relative to June as more households take vacation, especially with children out of school. This year, however, was different with pent-up demand from the COVID-19-related lull in April and May being satisfied in the summer, as economic recovery takes firmer hold, including the Stage 3 re-opening. In addition, fewer people are travelling, which has likely translated into more transactions and listings,” said Ms. Patel.

The July 2020 MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 10 per cent compared to July 2019. The overall average selling price was up by 16.9 per cent year-over-year to $943,710. On a preliminary seasonally adjusted basis, the average selling price was up by 5.5 per cent compared to June 2020.

Price growth was strongest for low-rise home types, notably within the City of Toronto. Despite more balanced market conditions in the condominium apartment market segment, year-over-year price growth remained in the high single digits.

“Competition between buyers continued to increase in many segments of the GTA ownership housing market in July, which fuelled a further acceleration in year-over-year price growth in July compared to June. On top of this, we also experienced stronger sales growth in the more-expensive detached market segment, which helps explain why annual growth in the overall average selling price was stronger than growth for the MLS® HPI Composite benchmark,” said Jason Mercer, TRREB’s Chief Market Analyst.

 

Milton Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 9.9%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 11.3 %

Oakville Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.9%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 11.2 %

Burlington Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.5%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 2.9%

Halton Hills Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.5%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  +5.2 %

Mississauga Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 14%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 37.7%

Brampton Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 13.5%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 10.6%

Toronto Central Summary:

Average Sale Price over this time last year:  + 10.1%

Number of Sales over this time last year:  – 17.1 %

City of GUELPH on
Single Family Average Sale Price $ 721,325 up by 15.2%
Number of Sales 135 up by 4.7%

Posted by Christine Pecharich
June 2020 Market Statistics

June 2020 Market Statistics

GTA REALTORS® Release June 2020 Stats

Toronto Regional Real Estate Board President Lisa Patel announced that Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 8,701 sales through TRREB’s MLS® System in June 2020. This result represented a very substantial increase over the May 2020 sales result, both on an actual (+89 per cent) and seasonally adjusted basis (+84 per cent), and was only down by 1.4 per cent compared to June 2019.

Year-over-year growth in sales was reported in some areas and market segments. Especially notable were the detached and townhouse market segments in the GTA regions surrounding the City of Toronto. New listings were up slightly on a year-over-year basis by 2.1 per cent. However, active listings on TRREB’s MLS® System at the end of June 2020 were down by 28.8 per cent compared to June 2019. Growth in new listings will need to outstrip growth in sales for a number of months before active listings approach last year’s levels.

The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by 8.2 per cent year-over-year in June. The average selling price for all home types combined was $930,869 – up by 11.9 per cent compared to June 2019. The actual and seasonally-adjusted average selling price was also up substantially compared to May 2020, by 7.8 per cent and 9.8 per cent respectively.

Average and benchmark selling prices were up year-over-year for all major home types. The strongest average annual rates of price growth were experienced in the detached and semi-detached market segments in the City of Toronto at 14.3 per cent and 22 per cent respectively. This, coupled with the fact that average selling price growth outstripped growth in the MLS® HPI benchmarks, points to a resurgence in the higher-end market segments.

Scroll through the charts below to see specific area’s average Sales prices broken down by house types:

Posted by Christine Pecharich
20 Ways to Save Money and Stretch Your Household Budget

20 Ways to Save Money and Stretch Your Household Budget

These days, it seems like everyone’s looking for ways to cut costs and stretch their income further. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your household expenses without making radical changes to your standard of living. When combined, these small adjustments can add up to significant savings each month.

Here are 20 things you can start doing today to lower your bills, secure better deals, and begin working toward your financial goals.

1. Refinance Your Mortgage – For prime borrowers, mortgage rates are at or near historic lows. Depending on your current mortgage rate and the terms you choose, refinancing could save you a sizable amount on your monthly payments. There are fees and closing costs associated with refinancing, so you’ll need to talk to your lender to find out if refinancing is a good option for you.

2. Evaluate Your Insurance Policies – If it’s been a while since you priced home or auto insurance, it may be worthwhile to do some comparison shopping. Get quotes from at least three insurers or independent agents. Try bundling your policies to see if there’s a discount. And inquire about raising your deductible, which should lower your premium.(1)

3. Bundle Cable, Phone, and Internet – You can also save money by bundling your cable, phone, and internet services together. Shop around to see who is willing to give you the best deal. If switching is too much of a hassle, ask your current provider to match or beat their competitor’s offer.

4. Better Yet, Cut the Cord on Cable – In many cases, you can save even more if you cancel your cable subscription altogether. An antenna should give you access to the major stations, and many of your favorite shows are probably available on-demand through a less expensive streaming service subscription.

5. Revisit Your Wireless Plan – You can often save by switching from a big brand to an independent, low-cost carrier. If that’s not feasible, ask your current provider for a better deal or consider downgrading to a cheaper plan.

6. Adjust Your Thermostat – Turning your thermostat up or down a few degrees can have a noticeable impact on your monthly heating and cooling costs. To maximize efficiency, change your filters regularly, and make sure your windows and doors are well insulated.

7. Use Less Hot Water – After heating and cooling, hot water accounts for the second largest energy expense in most homes.(2) To cut back, repair any leaks or dripping faucets, install low-flow fixtures, only run your dishwasher when full, and wash clothes in cold water when possible.

8. Lower Overall Water Consumption – To decrease your water usage, take shorter showers, and turn off the sink while you brush your teeth and wash your hands. If you don’t have a low-flow toilet, retrofit your current one with a toilet tank bank or fill cycle diverter. And irrigate your lawn in the morning or evening to minimize evaporation.(3)

9. Conserve Electricity – Save electricity by shutting off your computer at night and installing energy-efficient LED light bulbs. You can minimize standby or “vampire” power drain by utilizing power strips and unplugging idle appliances.(4)

10. Purchase a Home Warranty – While there is an upfront cost, a home warranty can provide some protection and peace of mind when it comes to unexpected home repair costs. Most plans provide coverage for major systems (like electrical, plumbing, and HVAC) and appliances (such as your dishwasher, stove, or refrigerator).

11. Outsource Less – From lawn care to grocery shopping to minor home repairs, we pay people to do a lot of things our parents and grandparents did themselves. To save money, try cutting back on the frequency of these services or taking some of them on yourself.

12. Prepare Your Own Meals – It costs nearly five times more to have a meal delivered than it does to cook it at home.(5) And home cooking doesn’t just save money; it’s healthier, cuts down on calorie consumption, and can offer a fun activity for families to do together.

13. Plan Your Menu in Advance – Meal planning is deciding before you shop what you and your family will eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It can help you lower your overall food bill, eliminate waste, and minimize impulse purchases. When possible, buy produce that is in season, and utilize nutrient-rich but inexpensive protein sources like eggs, beans, ground turkey, and canned tuna.

14. Plant a Garden – You can save even more on produce by growing it yourself. If you have space in your yard, start-up costs are relatively minimal. Gardening can be a rewarding and enjoyable (not to mention delicious) hobby for the whole family. And it could save you around $600 per year at the grocery store!6

15. Review Memberships and Subscriptions – Are you paying for services and subscriptions you no longer need, want, or can utilize? Determine if there are any that you should suspend or cancel.

16. Give Homemade Gifts – Who wouldn’t appreciate a scratch birthday cake or tin of cookies? And if you enjoy crafting, Pinterest and Instagram are full of inspiring ideas. Show your recipient how much you care with a homemade gift from the heart.

17. Minimize Your Debt Payments – The best way to reduce a debt payment is to pay down the balance. But if that’s not an option right now, try to negotiate a better interest rate. If you have a good credit score, you may be able to qualify for a balance transfer to a 0% or low-interest rate credit card. Keep in mind, the rate may expire after a certain period—so be sure to read the fine print.

18. Get a Cash-back Credit Card – If you regularly pay your credit card balance in full, a cash-back credit card can be a good way to earn a little money back each month. However, they often come with high-interest rates and fees if you carry a balance. Commit to only using it for purchases you can afford.

19. Ask for Deals and Discounts – It may feel awkward at first, but becoming a master haggler can save you a lot of money. Many companies are willing to negotiate under the right circumstances. Always inquire about special promotions or incentives. See if they are able to price match (or beat) their competitors. And if an item is slightly defective or nearing its expiration date, ask for a discount.

20. Track Your Household Budget – One of the most effective ways to reduce household expenses is to set a budget—and stick to it. A budget can help you see where your money is going and identify areas where you can cut back. By setting reasonable limits, you’ll be able to reach your financial goals faster.

Want more help getting a handle on your finances? Use the budget worksheet below to track income and expenses—and start working towards your financial goals today! Please reach out to me for a downloadable version.

HOUSEHOLD BUDGET WORKSHEET

  Expected Actual Difference
HOUSING
Mortgage/taxes/insurance or Rent
Utilities (electricity, water, gas, trash)
Phone, internet, cable
Home maintenance and repairs
FOOD
Groceries
Restaurants
TRANSPORTATION
Car payment/insurance
Gas, maintenance, repairs
OTHER
Health insurance
Clothing and personal care
Childcare
Entertainment
Gifts and charitable contributions
Savings, retirement, college fund
INCOME
Salary/wages
Tips and other
MONTHLY TOTALS
Total Actual Income
Total Actual Expenses
ADDITIONAL SAVINGS

WE’RE HERE TO HELP
We would love to help you meet your financial goals. Whether you want to refinance your mortgage, save up for a down payment, or simply find lower-cost alternatives for home repairs, maintenance, or utilities, we are happy to provide our insights and referrals. And if you have plans to buy or sell a home this year, we can discuss the steps you should be taking to financially prepare. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation!

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult a financial professional for advice regarding your individual needs.

Sources:

1. Insurance Information Institute –
https://www.iii.org/article/twelve-ways-to-lower-your-homeowners-insurance-costs
2. Department of Energy –
https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/water-heating/reduce-hot-water-use-energy-savings
3. Money Crashers –
https://www.moneycrashers.com/ways-conserve-water/
4. Harvard University –
https://green.harvard.edu/tools-resources/poster/top-5-steps-reduce-your-energy-consumption
5. Forbes –
https://www.forbes.com/sites/priceonomics/2018/07/10/heres-how-much-money-do-you-save-by-cooking-at-home/#2c53b2f35e54
6. Money –
https://money.com/gardening-grocery-savings/

Posted by Christine Pecharich