27 Oct



Posted by: Brad Lockey

Approximately 32 percent of Canadians are in a variable rate mortgage, and, with rates effectively declining steadily for the better part of the last ten years has worked well.

Recent interest rate increases do trigger some questions and concerns, and these questions and concerns are best expressed verbally with a direct call to your independent mortgage expert – not directly with the lender. There are nuances you may not think to consider before you lock-in, and that almost certainly will not be primary topics for your lender.

Over the last several years there have been headlines warning us of impending doom with both house price implosion, and interest rate explosion, very little of which has come to fruition other than in, a very few localized spots, and for short periods of time thus far.

Before accepting what a lender may offer for a lock-in rate, especially if you are considering freeing up cash for such things as renovations, travel or putting towards your children’s education, it is best to have your mortgage agent review all your options.

And even if you simply wanted to lock in the existing balance, again the conversation is crucial to have with the right person, as one of the key topics should be prepayment penalties.

In many fixed rate mortgage, the penalty can be quite substantial even when you aren’t very far into your mortgage term. People often assume the penalty for breaking a mortgage amounts to three months’ interest payments, which in the case of 90% of variable rate mortgages is correct. However, in a fixed rate mortgage, the penalty is the greater of three months’ interest or the interest rate differential (IRD).

The ‘IRD’ calculation is a byzantine formula. One designed by people working specifically in the best interests of shareholders, not the best interests of the client (you). The difference in penalties from a variable to a fixed rate product can be as much as a 9percentent increase.

The massive penalties are designed for banks to recuperate any losses incurred by clients (you) breaking and renegotiating the mortgage at a lower rate. And so locking into a fixed rate product without careful planning can mean significant downside.

Keep in mind that penalties vary from lender to lender and there are different penalties for different types of mortgages. In addition, things like opting for a “cash back” mortgage can influence penalties even more to the negative, with a claw-back of that cash received way back when.

Another consideration is that certain lenders, and thus certain clients, have ‘fixed payment’ variable rate mortgages. Which means that the payment may at this point be artificially low, and locking into a fixed rate may trigger a more significant increase in the payment than expected.

There is no generally ‘correct’ answer to the question of locking in, the type of variable rate mortgage you hold and the potential changes coming up in your life are all important considerations. There is only a ‘specific-to-you’ answer, and even then – it is a decision made with the best information at hand at the time that it is made. Having a detailed conversation with the right people is crucial.

It should also be said that a poll of 33 economists just before the recent Bank of Canada rate increase had 27 advising against another increase. This would suggest that things may have moved too fast too soon as it is, and we may see another period of zero movement. The last time the Bank of Canada pushed the rate to the current level it sat at this level for nearly five full years.

Life is variable, perhaps your mortgage should be too.

As always, if you have questions about locking in your variable mortgage, or breaking your mortgage to secure a lower rate, or any general mortgage questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist.

25 Oct



Posted by: Brad Lockey

By now the media, along with multiple mortgage brokers’ social media feeds, have likely let you know that more changes to your ability to get a mortgage are arriving soon. But so what? Should you care?

SHORT VERSION; Probably Not.

LONG VERSION; The five ’W’’s follow to help answer the above questions and more;

Who is affected?

Nobody simply renewing an existing mortgage. No changes for you.
Nobody buying with less than a 20% down payment. No changes for you.

Group 1 – Current homeowners with more than 20% equity who want to access that equity.

Mind you we are still talking specifically about people wanting to borrow more than 80% of what they currently qualify for. This is less than 10% of my own clients.
And even then, often there will still be a way; co-signors, alternative lenders, etc.

Group 2 – Buyers with 20%+ down payment who specifically planned on borrowing more than 80% of what the currently qualify for.

What does this mean for the market? Is meltdown imminent?

Um. No.


These changes are unlikely to have a significant impact on the Vancouver or Toronto markets due primarily to higher than average household incomes and higher than average net worth of our parents if they live locally.

In small-town Canada where average household incomes and average net worth numbers are lower, the impact of these changes could, in fact, be much more pronounced. Rather than a slight dip in specific price brackets and specific property types as might be seen in the GVA (Greater Vancouver Area), one might expect as much as a 10% drop in values in smaller communities.


Jan 1, 2018***

Who picks these dates?

People who believe that mortgage brokers, lenders, and underwriters don’t deserve any sort of holiday break at all.

The changes themselves are poorly thought out as it is. But the date of implementation appears to have been generated by the coldest, loneliest, most robotic person in government today.

Why not Dec 15? Or why not Feb 1?

Seriously? Jan 1?

***If you believe these changes may affect you take action well before Dec 1, 2017.
Lenders will be implementing the new rules early, they always do.

Why did the Government make more changes?

Because they can.

For one reason only. OSFI aka the ‘Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions’ has a singular mandate.

It’s not to calm prices, it’s not to protect consumers from themselves.

OSFI’s mandate is purely “to protect the stability of the CDN banking system’.

The end.

It is not about you, me, consumer debt, bidding wars, subject free offers, runaway property prices, etc. No, it’s all about protecting the banks.


We are at a point where for ten years running the government has made significant changes to the mortgage lending market every single year.

What’s happened to prices pretty much every year for ten years running?

What’s happened to market activity pretty much every year for ten years running?

At this point, it feels a bit like we have an impatient child smashing their toy against the ground because it’s not working to their liking.

It was/is actually working fine, but after the tenth hit maybe it may well start to falter, perhaps the government should have paused after the ninth hit and seen if things were falling into place (they are), but no – here we go again.

I’d like to say hopefully they are not winding up for yet another hit. However, sadly, all indications from inside the machine indicate that they are in fact winding up for yet another hit. More on that one if and when it happens.

If you are a buyer in the 500K – 1M$ zone watch for some opportunities as that may be where things soften slightly.

Otherwise, business as usual.

If you have any questions, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist for help.


Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Dustan is part of DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts based in Coquitlam, BC.

24 Oct



Posted by: Brad Lockey

Although home prices in Toronto and Vancouver seem to have stabilized recently, they are still at historical levels.

The average home price in these two major Canadian cities are still well over $1 Million. Unsurprisingly, first-time homebuyers are finding it increasingly difficult to get onto the “property ladder”. It is now harder than ever for first-time homebuyers to own a home; so what are they to do? Studies have shown that more and more millennials are turning to the bank of mom and dad for help with their down payments.

According to the latest statistics from Mortgage Professionals Canada, down payment gifts from parents have increased significantly in the last 16 years, going from 7% in 2000 to 15% for homes purchased between 2014-2016. The average gift amount has skyrocketed as well. Industry experts have seen many down payments in the six-figure range – $100,000 to $200,000. The trend is expected to continue, as 2017 is predicted to be “the most difficult year for a first-time homebuyer in the last [decade]”, according to James Laird, co-founder of RateHub, a mortgage rate comparison website.

How can you help your children climb the property ladder?
With soaring property prices, you may be asking about your options to help your children break into the housing market. One way is by getting a reverse mortgage on your home. The CHIP Reverse Mortgage from HomEquity Bank has seen a growing number of senior Canadians over the years access their home equity in order to give a financial gift to their family members to help them with big purchases such as a down payment for a house. “We definitely see a growing trend of this at HomEquity Bank. We get a large number of clients who would take out $100,000-$200,000 in a reverse mortgage, they have the benefit of not having to make payments, and they give that lump sum of money to their kids to help them get started in the real estate market.” says Steve Ranson, President and CEO, HomEquity Bank.

How does it work?
A reverse mortgage is a loan secured against the value of your home. It allows you to unlock up to 55% of the value of your home without having to sell or move. The money you receive is tax-free and you are not required to make any regular mortgage payments until you move, sell or pass away.

Why should you give an early inheritance as a down payment now?
Life Expectancy – According to Statistics Canada, for a 65-year old couple there is a one-in-two chance that one of them will reach the age of 92. Do your children really need an inheritance when they are in their mid-to-late 60’s?
Create memories now – After you are gone, you will have missed out on seeing your children build a family in their new home. Giving a down payment now will enable you to create lasting memories while your health allows you to.

Find out more about this incredible opportunity to use a reverse mortgage to give the gift of a down payment to your loved ones today. If you’re 55 years or older and want to learn more about your financial options, including a reverse mortgage, talk to your Dominion Lending Centre mortgage specialist today.

20 Oct



Posted by: Brad Lockey

This week, OSFI (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions) announced that effective January 1, 2018 the new Residential Mortgage Underwriting Practices and Procedures (Guidelines B-20) will be applied to all Federally Regulated Lenders. Note that this currently does not apply to Provincially Regulated Lenders (Credit Unions) but it is possible they will abide by and follow these guidelines when they are placed in to effect on January 1, 2018.

The changes to the guidelines are focused on
• the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages
• expectations around loan-to-value (LTV) frameworks and limits
• restrictions on transactions designed to work around those LTV limits.

What the above means in layman’s terms is the following:


The new guidelines will require that all conventional mortgages (those with a down payment higher than 20%) will have to undergo stress testing. Stress testing means that the borrower would have to qualify at the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada (currently at 4.89%) or the contractual mortgage rate +2% (5-year fixed at 3.19% +2%=5.19% qualifying rate).

These changes effectively mean that an uninsured mortgage is now qualified with stricter guidelines than an insured mortgage with less than 20% down payment. The implications of this can be felt by both those purchasing a home and by those who are refinancing their mortgage. Let’s look at what the effect will be for both scenarios:

When purchasing a new home with these new guidelines, borrowing power is also restricted. Using the scenario of a dual income family making a combined annual income of $85,000 the borrowing amount would be:

Current Lending Guidelines

Qualifying at a rate of 3.34% with a 25-year amortization and the combined income of $85,000 annually, the couple would be able to purchase a home at $560,000

New lending Guidelines

Qualifying at a rate of 5.34% (contract mortgage rate +2%) with a 25-year amortization and the combined annual income of $85,000 you would be able to purchase a home of $455,000.

OUTCOME: This gives a reduced borrowing amount of $105,000…Again a much lower amount and lessens the borrowing power significantly.


A dual-income family with a combined annual income of $85,000.00. The current value of their home is $700,000. They have a remaining mortgage balance of $415,000 and lenders will refinance to a maximum of 80% LTV.
The maximum amount available is: $560,000 minus the existing mortgage gives you $145, 0000 available in the equity of the home, provided you qualify to borrow it.

Current Lending Requirements
Qualifying at a rate of 3.34 with a 25-year amortization, and a combined annual income of $85,000 you are able to borrow $560,000. If you reduce your existing mortgage of $415,000 this means you could qualify to access the full $145,000 available in the equity of your home.

New Lending Requirements
Qualifying at a rate of 5.34% (contract mortgage rate +2%) with a 25-year amortization, combined with the annual income of $85,000 and you would be able to borrow $455,000. If you reduce your existing mortgage of $415,000 this means that of the $145,000 available in the equity of your home you would only qualify to access $40,000 of it.

OUTCOME: That gives us a reduced borrowing power of $105,000. A significant decrease and one that greatly effects the refinancing of a mortgage.


Mortgage Bundling is when primary mortgage providers team up with an alternative lender to provide a second loan. Doing this allowed for borrowers to circumvent LTV (loan to value) limits.
Under the new guidelines, bundled mortgages will no longer be allowed with federally regulated financial institutions. Bundled mortgages will still be an option, but they will be restricted to brokers finding private lenders to bundle behind the first mortgage with the alternate lender. With the broker now finding the private lender will come increased rates and lender fees.
As an example, we will compare the following:
A dual income family that makes a combined annual income of $85,000 wants to purchase a new home for $560,000. The lender is requiring a loan-to-value ratio of 80% (20% down payment of $112,000.00). The borrowers (our dual income family) only have 10% down payment of $56,000. This means they will require alternate lending of 10% ($56,000) to meet the LTV of 20%.

Current Lending Guidelines
The alternate lender provides a second mortgage of $56,000 at approximately 4-6% and a lender fee of up to 2.00%.

New Lending Guidelines
A private lender must be used for the second mortgage of $56,000. This lender is going to charge fees up to 12% plus a lenders fee of up to 6%

OUTCOME: The interest rates and lender fees are significantly higher under the new guidelines, making it more expensive for this dual income family.

These changes are significant and they will have different implications for different people. Whether you are refinancing, purchasing or currently have a bundled mortgage, these changes could potentially impact you. We advise that if you do have any questions, concerns or want to know more that you contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist. They can advise on the best course of action for your unique situation and can help guide you through this next round of mortgage changes.

13 Oct



Posted by: Brad Lockey

A mortgage in its simplest form is a contract.
It has terms, conditions, rights and obligations for you and the lender. When you sign on the dotted line, you are agreeing to those terms for the length of time laid out in the contract. However, sometimes life throws us an unexpected event that brings around the need to make key decisions and changes. One of these changes, for whichever reason, might be needing/wanting to break your mortgage contract before the end of the term.
Can you do that?
What are the penalties?
Let’s take a look!

To answer the initial question of can it be done, the answer is yes. Most mortgage lenders will allow this provided they receive compensation. Compensation is known as an Interest Rate Differential or IRD. When you started your fixed rate mortgage you had a rate of xx.x%, but the best they can lend to someone else right now is 1% less, so they want the difference. Seems fair, right? However, like most contracts, the fine print tells the true tale. The method in which the IRD is calculated is what borrowers should be aware of.

Let’s examine a few different calculations that can be used for IRD.

Method “A” -Posted Rate Method – Generally used by major banks and some credit unions

This method uses the Bank Of Canada 5 year posted rate to arrive at the formula to calculate the penalty. It also considers any discounts you received. These are the ones you will commonly see on their websites or when you first walk into the Bank or Credit Union. Now, rarely does anyone settle on that rate-there is a discount normally that is given. This gives you the actual lending or contract rate. When this method is used, you will be required to pay the greater of 3 months interest or the IRD. What that looks like is:

Bank of Canada Posted Rate for a five-year term: 4.89%
You were given a discount of: 2%
Giving you a rate of 2.89% on a five-year fixed term mortgage.

Now you want to exit your contract at the 2-year point, leaving 3 years left. The posted rate for a 3-year term sits at 3.45%. The bank will subtract your discount from the posted 3-year term rate, giving you 1.45%. From there your IRD is calculated like so:

2.89%-1.45% =1.44% IRD difference x3 years=4.32% of your mortgage balance.

On a mortgage of $300,000 that gives you a penalty of $12,960.

For most, that is a significant amount that you will be paying! It can equate to thousands and thousands of dollars, depending on the mortgage balance remaining. So what other methods are used? Let’s take a look at the second one.

Method “B”-Published Rate Method – Generally used by monoline (broker) lenders and most credit unions

This method is more favourable as it uses the lender published rates. Generally, these rates are much more in tune with what you will see on lender websites and appear to be much more reasonable. Again, let’s look at an example.

Your rate: 2.90%
Published rate: 2.60%

Time left on contract: 3 years

Equation for this: 2.90%-2.60%=0.30% x3 years=0.90% of your mortgage balance. A much more favourable outcome. On a $300,000 mortgage that would equate to only $2,700.

The above two scenarios operate under the idea that the borrower has good credit, documented income, and a normal residential type property. It is also a fixed rate mortgage, not a variable one. For variable rates, if the contract needs to be broken, generally the penalty will be a charge of 3 months interest, no IRD applies.

So, if you do find yourself in a position where you need to end your contract early get in touch with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker to review your options. To avoid any surprises all together though, it is advised to consult with a mortgage professional right from the start. We are committed to ensuring that you make an educated decision when selecting a lender. Yes, we want to get you the best rate, but we also want to make sure you are taken care of.

2 Oct



Posted by: Brad Lockey

A lot of people get into hot water when they assume that because they’ve qualified for a mortgage in the past, they will qualify for a mortgage in the future.

This article has one point to make and it’s this:

Don’t assume anything when dealing with mortgage financing!

And if that’s all you take away, that’s enough!

Just because you’ve qualified for a mortgage in the past, doesn’t mean you will qualify for a mortgage in the future, even if your financial situation has remained the same or gotten better. The truth is, things have changed over the last year, and securing mortgage financing is more difficult now than it has been in recent memory.
The latest changes to mortgage qualification by the federal government has left Canadians qualifying for about 20-25% less. On top of that, a lot of the “common sense” guidelines that lenders would use in determining your suitability have been replaced with non-negotiable hard and fast rules.
As a mortgage professional who arranges financing for clients every day, I keep up to date with the latest changes in the mortgage world, understand lender products, and have my fingers on the pulse of what is going on.
From experience, I can tell you that having a plan is crucial to a successful mortgage application. Making assumptions about your qualification, or just “winging it” is a recipe for disaster.
If you are thinking about buying a property, contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist who would love to talk with you about all your options, and help you put together a plan.