Banks Feel the Heat from Regulated Lenders!

The Globe and Mail Got it Wrong!

feeling the heatThree weeks ago, while we were all enjoying the hot and humid days of summer, The Globe and Mail reported that “unregulated lenders” now own a 15% share of Canada’s mortgage market, according to a Finance Department memo it obtained.

“Unregulated?” Not a chance. Virtually all prime non-bank lenders are regulated and must conform to:

  • Federal regulations that apply to the banks providing their funding
  • Federal regulations that apply to insurers providing their default insurance and securitization
  • Provincial regulations applying to mortgage brokerages, administrators, etc.

Non-deposit-taking lenders must also withstand the regular audits and scrutiny of their OSFI-regulated bank funders and investors. At the end of the day, this puts them under a microscope that’s just as intense as the major banks, if not more so.

This increase in Canada’s mortgage market share is great news. It means Canadian’s are waking up to the opportunities offered to them by non-traditionally regulated lenders. They and their mortgage broker partners are overwhelmingly responsible for keeping rates and prepayment penalties down, and that keeps more money in Canadians’ pockets. Ready to up-size, downsize, refinance or renovate? Talk to Tracy today.

Meet the Parents

family picture

Who doesn’t love a family get-together? Tracy and Sid are smack-dab in the middle of this happy snap featuring the Stacey clan.


New Baby on the Way

ultrasound picture

Tracy’s son, Nathan and Nicole are thrilled to announce their first child will be making his/her debut at the end of January 2017.

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The Next Generation of Homebuyers

2016 Spring Consumer Report by Mortgage Professionals Canada

first time home buyersTwice a year, Mortgage Professionals Canada releases survey results on the state of the residential mortgage market in Canada. This time around, the focus was on The Next Generation of Homebuyers.

The report delves into the behaviours and attitudes of Canadians under the age of 40 who don’t currently own a home but expect to own in the future – a group for which very little has been reported on until now. Read the report.

The most startling statistic we discovered was 74% of Next Gens admit they have at best only a “partial” understanding of the services mortgage brokers provide. Wow! If you’re a parent, help educate your Next Generation offspring by forwarding this newsletter. If you’re a Next Gen planning to own a home in the next 5 years – let’s talk!

Meet Tracy’s New BFF

Tracy Irwin and Nala, Siberian HuskeyIntroducing Nala, Tracy’s new Grandpup and BFF (best furry friend)!

Pictured here at 14 weeks, Nala is a beautiful Siberian Husky with tons of energy. After a 5K walk on the Dundas Valley Trails, Nala is ready for her next adventure.

(We’re not sure who will tire out first!)

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The 5 Most Important Questions to Ask When Applying for a Mortgage

five, ten, fifty dollar billsWhether you’re buying your first or fifth home – feel like a rookie or mortgage master, today’s fast-paced real estate market coupled with low interest rates have many thinking, “what have we got to lose?” The answer is a lot! Save yourself time, money and heartache by asking these 5 questions when you’re applying for financing.

1. What payment options are offered?

For example, biweekly or accelerated payments will allow you to pay down your mortgage faster.

2. What prepayment privileges are available?

Ask about lump sum payments and what percentage? Are they only available on the anniversary date? How about increased payments – what percentage? Is there a double up feature?

3. Is my mortgage portable?

Specifically, can you transfer your mortgage balance to a new property without penalties?

4. How does the qualifying process work?

Will the lender blend and extend to a new term (qualifying with contract rate) or will you have to blend to your existing term (qualifying with benchmark rate)? This is very important because if the contract rate today is 2.79% but the benchmark rate is 4.64%, you may have to break the mortgage and pay penalties!

5. How is my prepayment penalty calculated?

This is a very important discussion to have. The bank’s calculation method is much higher than non-bank lenders and the calculations themselves differ between lenders.

At the end of the day, you want to know you’re making the right decision based on ALL the available information. Leave nothing to chance. That’s why having a professional Mortgage Broker, like Tracy Irwin, in your corner is the best option for peace of mind today AND tomorrow. Contact Tracy today!

It’s a Family Affair…

Tracy, Sid and VanessaCherry Blossom Run
Tracy ran the 10 mile (16km) Cherry Blossom Run in Washington D.C. on April 3rd featuring 50 mph winds (80k) wind gusts. According to Tracy, “the 20,000 people running must have created a human shield; I didn’t find the winds all that bad despite the dire warnings. The route along the Potomac River was beautiful and included some especially hardy cherry blossom trees still holding onto their blooms”.  Tracy ran with husband, Sid and sister-in-law Vanessa.

picture of lovely LylaGranddaughter Lyla
A beautiful picture of the newest addition to Tracy’s family, granddaughter Lyla.

Perfect in every way.

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Does Size Really Matter?

saplingThe January 12 announcement of the acquisition of Mortgage Architects by DLC Group of Companies – which includes The Mortgage Centre – prompts the question, “will this acquisition really make a difference for consumers looking to finance, renew or refinance their mortgage loans?” The answer is a resounding, “yes it will.” Here’s why:

The DLC Group of Companies is now the largest mortgage originator in all of Canada and that means using size and scale to its advantage. Because the DLC Network works with major banks, trust companies and credit unions across Canada, they generate more business in terms of higher loan volumes and units, and for the consumer, that means more options and even better value!

mature tree Value is what you’ll realize when you work with Tracy Irwin, Mortgage Broker. Thanks to DLC’s position as the biggest mortgage originator in Canada, Tracy now enjoys even better access to the best products for a variety of mortgage loan needs. Remember, the lowest rate doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best mortgage. The best mortgage is one that is tailor-made and suited for you.

See? Size really does matter! Talk to Tracy about all your mortgage needs today. Whether you are a first-time home buyer, or looking for a new home mortgage, mortgage refinancing, are a newcomer to Canada (welcome), sourcing mortgage financing as a self-employed or separated/divorced individual, Tracy will customize a lending package that meets your needs. Get started with a confidential and complimentary consultation today.

Tracy’s Salute to March: The Lion and the Lamb

tracy and sid

Pictured here and Tracy and Sid cycling in Florida. The weather looks gorgeous. (That’s the lamb.)

Too bad they arrived home in the middle of a snowstorm. (That’s the lion.)

Their arrival wasn’t the only one, though.


Tracy and LylaTracy and Sid welcomed the arrival of their new granddaughter, Lyla Sydney Grace weighing in at 6 lbs 11 ounces on March 1st.

What a lamb!

Heartfelt congratulations to Lyla. She couldn’t be in better hands.

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Six Things You Never Knew About Tracy Irwin, Mortgage Broker

Tracy Irwin offers mortgage solutions that open doors!Happy New Year! May your 2016 be filled with abundance, joy and the fulfillment of all your hard work!

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Six Things You Never Knew About Tracy Irwin, Mortgage Broker

  1. Tracy shares important news on the mortgage financing market – like the new down payment legislation effective February 15, 2016. What you need to know.
  2. Tracy doesn’t charge clients a fee for her services. Mortgage brokers are paid by the lender not the borrower.
  3. Tracy has access to hundreds of financing products and works hard to find the right one for her clients.
  4. Tracy has been in the mortgage business since 2005 and is as confident helping new comers to Canada, the self-employed, and separated and divorced individuals as she is with complicated mortgage renewals and mortgage refinancing.
  5. Tracy thanks and appreciates people who refer her to others through a customized Referral Rewards Program.
  6. Tracy isn’t happy until her clients are happy.

Talk to Tracy Irwin about mortgage solutions that open doors today!

Tracy in Training…

Tracy Irwin Mortgage Financing SpecialistRight now, Tracy is in training for Hamilton’s Around the Bay Road Race, a 30K  jaunt and the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run in Washington D.C. in April.

Tracy is also trying to convince her son, Nathan to run the Chocolate Race again in honour of Mother’s Day. Since Nathan isn’t really a runner, we figure this might be an uphill battle. Pictured here is Tracy celebrating after last year’s Chocolate Race. Sweet!

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Will Justin Liberally Apply “Real Change” to the Housing Market?

Mortgage Broker, Tracy Irwin helps Canadians find affordable mortgage financing!The new Liberal government says, “We will make it easier for Canadians to find an affordable place to call home.” Today, one in four Canadian households is paying more than it can afford for housing, and one in eight cannot find affordable housing that is safe, suitable, and well maintained. When affordable housing is in short supply, Canadians feel less secure and our whole economy suffers. Read more about affordable housing here:

Canadian Mortgage Trends published an article last month entitled, The Liberal Effect. It details what the mortgage market can expect from Mr. Trudeau’s new government related to mortgage policy, interest rates and affordable housing initiatives. Read on.

1. “Higher bond yields: Balancing the budget is not a priority for the Liberals until 2019. Trudeau is expected to go on a spending spree and bond traders aren’t keen about it. It suggests a greater supply of government debt and potentially higher long-term yields to come. That, of course, could mean at least slightly higher fixed mortgage rates than we’d otherwise see.

2. A More Hawkish Poloz: The odds just dropped for a cut in prime rate. More spending by Ottawa puts less pressure on governor Stephen Poloz to stimulate the economy with rate cuts. The implied probability of a rate hike by next October has almost doubled, from 8% yesterday to 15% as we speak.

3. Wider RRSP Access: The Liberals say they’ll open access to the RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan, particularly for homebuyers coping with significant life changes (divorce, death of a spouse, a sick or elderly family member, etc.). More access to down payment funds will prop up housing sales and home ownership slightly, and support home prices.

4. More “Affordability”: The Liberal platform includes a review of housing policy in high-priced markets. The new government will “consider all policy tools that could keep home ownership within reach.” What that means, we’ll have to wait and see. It could definitely be positive for renters and income property investors, given the Liberals have promised to “direct CMHC…to provide financing to support the construction” of new rental housing.

5. First-timer Support: Trudeau’s government will add more flexible programs for first-time homebuyers. This could mean any number of things, potentially even higher amortization limits for new buyers.

6. New Blood at the DoF: The Liberals will be installing a new Minister of Finance, who has enormous power over housing regulation. Will he or she be as hands-off on mortgage policy as the outgoing Joe Oliver? We’re guessing not. We’ll likely have an answer by the time the Liberals release their first budget next spring.”

Navigate the complex world of homeownership, mortgage financing for first, second or fifth time with a professional mortgage broker who cares. Contact Tracy Irwin today.

Tracy’s Latest Running Adventure

Tracy Irwin running Road 2 Hope 2015The Hamilton Marathon – Road 2 Hope – Sunday, November 1st
It’s the fastest qualifying race in North America for Boston. Tracy ran the 21k distance and was sure glad to be finished her windy adventure!  The scenery running down the Red Hill Creek expressway and along the beach front at Confederation Park was stunning!  The race raised over $30,000 for local charity, City Kidz, and international charity, Joy and Hope in Haiti.

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Suite Income: New CMHC Rule Allows 100% of Rental Income for Mortgage Qualification

sweet endings begin with Tracy Irwin MortgagesSeptember 28, 2015 is the date that Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will start allowing 100% of rental incomes from legal secondary suites to be used when qualifying for a mortgage.  Currently CMHC allows 50%.

The move is meant to “facilitate affordable housing choices for Canadians” according to CMHC, the nation’s largest default insurer. “Secondary rental suites are recognized as a source of affordable housing offered at a cost that is often lower than those for apartments in purpose built rental buildings,” it adds. Secondary/basement suites also give lower-income Canadians the chance to live in single-family residential neighbourhoods.

This is great news for everyone who is looking to buy a home and subsidize the cost with a renter. The opportunity to utilize 100% of rental income to qualify for mortgage financing will make the difference for many and may move a larger number of home buyers from condo purchases to a single-family home with the assistance of 100% of suite income.

Here is what will be required to use 100% of suite income with CMHC:

  • suite income with the help of Tracy IrwinThe property must be owner-occupied.
  • The property being insured can have only two units (i.e., a duplex or a single home with a legal secondary suite).
  • Rental income cannot be used if the suite is “illegal/non-conforming” but “legal non-conforming” is okay. (Non-conforming means that the suite was grandfathered in before zoning/regulations restricted such units. You can check with the city to confirm if a suite is legal.)
  • The suite must be self-contained with its own entrance.
  • Property taxes and heat can be excluded when calculating borrower’s debt ratios.
  • For existing units, there must be two-year history of rental income from the suite. The maximum rental income allowed for qualification is a two-year average of the unit’s rent.
  • For new units, a market rent appraisal can be accepted if an appropriate vacancy rate has been applied to the estimated rental income.
  • Mortgage applicants must “demonstrate a strong history of managing credit” with a minimum credit score of 680.

Be prepared! Individual lender guidelines may be tighter than those mentioned above. Are you ready to make your move? Want to learn more about suite income? Talk to Tracy Irwin.

Summer Vacation Highlights
The Icelandic Festival of Manitoba

Gimli-ManitobaTracy and husband, Sid visited Gimli, Manitoba for this year’s Icelandic Festival and ran in the 47th Annual Islendingadagurinn (just try to pronounce that one!), a 10-mile Road Race from Winnipeg Beach Park to Gimli Park. Tracy said, “the wind was in our face the whole run but it was a beautiful day!”

Why Manitoba and the Icelandic Festival? Sid’s Mom was born in Iceland and he has many relatives in Gimli (which is called Little Iceland).

The Icelandic Festival is the second oldest continuous ethnic festival in North America.  Skál!

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First Time Home Buyer? You’re Not Alone!

That’s what the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP) semi-annual mortgage survey shows. This is THE survey that gauges the pulse of the housing market in Canada.

Woman and little girls tasting salad ingredients This year’s highlights include new data points that shed light on previously unexplored topics, revealing brand-new numbers on topics ranging from the risks of increasing the minimum down payment to pre-approval utilization to mortgage rate shopping habits. Here’s a little taste of who’s buying homes today:

drum roll please620,000 households move into dwellings they have purchased each year.

drum roll please45% (280,000) are first-time buyers. Most of these are between the ages of 25 and 34.

drum roll pleaseJust over 20% (130,000 per year) are making their second purchase.

drum roll pleaseOne-third (210,000 per year) are making their third or subsequent purchase.

Feast on more mortgage financing facts, and when you’re ready to make your move, contact Mortgage Broker, Tracy Irwin. Get Tracy’s experience working for you!

Sweet Endings:  Tracy & Nathan Run the (Yummy) Chocolate Race
Chocholate race Mother's DayTracy convinced her son, Nathan to run the 10k Chocolate Race with her in honour of Mother’s Day. Nathan, while not a runner – agreed, proving just how much he loves his Mom. The mouth-watering event in St. Catharines featured everything chocolate… chocolate prizes, chocolate milk, chocolate croissant, chocolate fudge, chocolate covered strawberries and the best part, a chocolate martini at the end of the race! Way to go Tracy and Nathan. Next year, how about a triathlon in wine country!

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Is Canada’s housing market in a bubble?

Is Canada's Housing Market in a Bubble? Talk about varying opinions. The Globe and Mail’s real estate reporter Tamsin McMahon analyses seven ways the Canadian housing market is measured – and explains why some assessments are better than others.

“Is Canada’s housing market in a bubble? The question has lingered for years – ever since national home prices managed to defy a global real-estate correction. Observers, both domestic and foreign, continue to issue dire pronouncements about the health of the Canadian housing market. But those predictions vary wildly, with some saying the market is overvalued by as much as 60 per cent, while others say it could be undervalued by almost 10 per cent.

Of course, examining the housing market is a fuzzy science. Every analysis uses its own idea of how to measure the “fair value” of real estate. Some compare home prices to incomes, while others look at interest rates or population growth. One analysis even compares house prices to the value of Canadian exports.

Deutsche Bank
Analysis: Housing market is overvalued by 60 per cent
Most recent date measured: fourth quarter of 2014

Bank of Canada
Analysis: Housing market is overvalued by about 20 per cent
Most recent date measured: third quarter of 2014

Fitch Ratings
Analysis: Housing market is overvalued by about 24 per cent
When: Second quarter of 2014

International Monetary Fund
Analysis: Housing market is overvalued by about 11 per cent
When: last quarter of 2014

Toronto-Dominion Bank
Analysis: Housing market is overvalued by about 11 per cent
When: last quarter of 2014

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Analysis: Housing market is moderately overvalued, by about 3 per cent
When: second quarter of 2014

Canadian housing market economist Will Dunning
Analysis: Housing market is undervalued by about 9 per cent
When: report published last March”

Read the entire article and see the interactive graphs.

Be in the know! For helpful information on the housing market and mortgage financing insight, talk to Tracy Irwin today.

Did You Know?

What Tracy does: inspire, motivate, improve, be positive, focus, be creative - aTracy Irwin was recently nominated for a Women of Inspiration Award.  We likely all know of a woman who has made great strides in building her business and who also quietly goes about her way helping and supporting others.  She is a role model for us all.

Company of Women honours everyday women who have shown extraordinary compassion for others; those who’ve gone that extra mile in their business and in life.

 Guiding principles:

  •  Shown courage in her life and business to get to where she is today
  • Gone the extra mile in offering her program/services/product
  • Given back through her volunteer work and/or mentoring and supporting others

Congratulations Tracy! You are the epitome of a Woman of Inspiration!

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Conventional Mortgage versus Collateral Mortgage

Do you know the difference?

check the fine printMany people don’t know the difference between a conventional and a collateral mortgage. Why? Because most of the time the information is buried in the fine print of a detailed agreement. That despite the fact that last August federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced an agreement with eight major banks under which they would voluntarily disclose general information about collateral mortgages on their websites (by September 1, 2014) and in their branches (by November 30, 2014).

Has voluntary disclosure worked? Not according to The Star reporter, Ellen Roseman. “I found almost nothing when checking the banks’ websites”, she wrote in a February 17, 2015 article.

This is one more (big) reason to work with a mortgage broker who has access to hundreds of financing options and will take the time to explain the pros and cons of mortgage products before you sign on the dotted line.

For your reference, here is the difference between a conventional mortgage and collateral mortgage:

Conventional: Only the amount of the actual mortgage loan is registered against your home. If you borrow $400,000, the lender will register $400,000 as a liability against your property.

Collateral: An amount higher than the actual mortgage loan may be registered against your home. If you borrow $400,000 the lender can choose to register $500,000 or $600,000. This provides you with the opportunity to use the extra $100,000 – $200,000 at a later date, secured by the mortgage, without having to discharge the loan and go through costly refinancing. Nice. Except…

Let’s say your mortgage is coming up for renewal and the bank won’t match a competitive rate so you decide to go elsewhere. You would think that moving a mortgage at the end of a term is no big deal and transfer fees are covered by the new lender. Not so if your current financing is a collateral mortgage. Now you have to hire a lawyer and spend roughly $1,000 of your hard earned money to discharge the mortgage before you can move to a new lender. Is that really fair?

Earlier this month, CBC’s Marketplace revealed a new undercover report on collateral charge mortgages. The consumer affairs program found some bank reps who were not disclosing the pitfalls of collateral charges. That’s despite banks pledging to present collateral mortgages in language that’s “clear, simple and not misleading.”

Do yourself a favour and work with someone that offers (full disclosure) mortgage solutions that open doors, without tripping you up on the fine print.

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