Here are The Globe and Mail’s top housing and real estate stories this week, with the lowest mortgage rates available in Canada today, commentary from our mortgage expert and one home worth a look.
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Canada’s economy faces $900-billion mortgage renewal shock
Unless interest rates drop significantly, almost two-thirds of Canadian mortgage borrowers still face a punishing “payment shock” over the next three years, writes Jason Kirby. The biggest shock awaits fixed-payment, variable-rate mortgages set to renew in 2026. A five-year variable mortgage renewing that October would see payments jump 76 per cent if mortgage rates stayed around 6 per cent. There have been fears these increases could lead to a rise in defaults, but experts say those fears are overblown, because banks are already taking measures to help overstretched borrowers.
Homebuyers turn to alternative lenders for mortgages as rising rates make qualifying harder
Higher interest rates have made it harder for borrowers to qualify for loans from chartered banks, which offer the cheapest mortgages, writes Rachelle Younglai. The total value of outstanding loans from credit unions, mortgage investment corporations and other private lenders reached $388.6-billion in the second quarter of this year, according to Statistics Canada’s survey of non-bank mortgage lenders.
While demand is rising, alternative lenders are strengthening their qualification requirements owing to concerns they won’t be able to recoup their investment if a borrower defaults on payments. Because home prices have been falling, lenders have been reducing their qualifying loan-to-value ratios, which measures how much the homeowner owes relative to the property’s appraised value. That means a borrower will have to have more equity in their homes or a higher down payment in order to qualify for an alternative mortgage.
This week’s lowest available mortgage rates
Portability is a feature that lets you move your existing mortgage rate and terms from one property to another, without penalties. Portability is usually an afterthought, but that’s a mistake, writes Robert McLister in his weekly column. If you’re planning to move at some point in the future, especially within the first 5-7 years of getting your mortgage, your portability policy could be very important, costing you a varied percentage of your mortgage in penalties. Choosing a smart policy could potentially save you thousands in the long run.
Toronto developers delay launch of about 14,000 new condos as sales dive
Sales of preconstruction condos have slowed significantly this year as interest rates have climbed, pushing up costs for both buyers and builders. Developers had been expected to launch at least 27,000 units in the Toronto region, but as of the end of September, they had only launched about 13,000, writes Rachelle Younglai. Experts say it is unlikely that developers will launch the remaining condo units before year end. In addition to this year’s delays, there is a backlog of projects from 2022.
The ‘Bank of Mom and Dad’ is no longer just for down payments
Parents have moved beyond helping their children with a down payment, with high home prices and interest rates forcing them to co-sign on mortgages themselves, writes Irene Galea and Erica Alini. Parents are increasingly co-signing just to help kids pass the mortgage stress test and qualify for a mortgage that they’re capable of paying for on their own at the bank’s contract rate. But parents should keep in mind the potentially complicated tax and financial considerations related to putting their names on the title, experts say.
Home of the week: Caledon estate has country house feel with a modern vibe
17265 Mountainview Rd., Caledon, Ont.
Entering the three-bedroom, five-bathroom house, each room seamlessly flows into the next. The open-concept living room — featuring a huge stone fireplace — centres the home and blends into the den, kitchen, and second-floor staircase. Recent renovations added wood accents across the building, with cedar ceilings, walnut kitchen cabinets and maple floors. The inground pool, hot tub, and bocce court are perfect additions for entertaining in the backyard. The best feature is the 47 acres the home sits on, covered in woodland, ponds, and manicured walking trails.
What do you think is the asking price for the property?
c. The asking price is $7,980,000.