Bill Brooks: Tourism Calgary Open House great way to start 2017

For your faithful social scribe, there can be no better place on earth in which to live than our beloved city. Sure, if I had a ton of dough, I would love to spend summers in the south of France and winters in Phuket, but  end of the day, there’s no place like home.

Our beloved city was ranked number one in 2013 on the Overall Best Places to Live index. We receive more sunshine than any major Canadian city (2,400 hours a year). We have no sales tax (for now!). And we welcomed more than 7.3 million visitors in 2014 and our guests spent more than $1.6 billion. There’s no doubt these last many months have been more than economically challenging for many, but this year could well see record numbers of tourists flocking to our fair city- a boon to business coffers, to be sure.

A great way to start out the new year and get into a positive vibe is by attending Tourism Calgary’s Annual Open House. This year, hundreds of guests gathered at the Grey Eagle Casino for an evening of food, drink, celebration and networking. That two Air Canada tickets were given as the door prize added greatly to the evening’s cache.

Among those in attendance were: Tourism Calgary president and CEO Cindy Ady with board chair Rod McKay, board colleague Jeff Robinson, Shelley Zucht-Shorter and Casssandra McAuley, director, stakeholder engagement and destination development; Mark Nichols, director of sales and marketing, Hilton Garden Inn; Dave Sclanders, executive director, Calgary Meetings and Conventions; Luke Azevedo, Calgary Economic Development Commissioner, Film, Television and Creative Industries; Air Canada’s Serge Corbeil, Caroline Johnson and Chase Myhill; MLA Richard Gotfried; Calgary Airport Authority’s Mammen Tharakan; CTV’s Donavon Fuessel, Brigette Rothe and Bob Sumner; Miss Canada 2014, Angie Shilliday; Delta Lodge’s Lona Johnson; CBI’s Catherine Brownlee; Strategic Group COO Randy Ferguson; Postmedia’s Leanne Northwood and Mike Slimm; Homeplace Ranch’s Mac Makenny; Fairmont Palliser director of sales and marketing, David Woodward; WestJet’s Robert Palmer; Nexus Exhibits’ Milena Radkovic and Kristal Ball; Inland Audio Visual’s Brian Ymbang; Stampede Royalty- 2017 Queen Meagan Peters and Princesses Brittany Lloyd and Lizzie Ryman; Winsport’s Judy Black; James Starlight; Bruce Starlight Jr.; Faith Starlight; Bison Starlight; Terrance Starlight; Charm Fox; Leo Starlight; and Wild Manywounds.

-Calgary Herald

CMHC keeps red flag on Canada’s housing market, with several cities still too hot

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is not removing the red flag it raised three months ago for the housing market, saying it still sees strong overall evidence of problematic market conditions.

The Crown corporation, which provides housing advice for the federal government, said Thursday it has kept the rating for a second consecutive quarter due to overvaluation and price acceleration in the country’s housing markets.

“Price acceleration in Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto and Hamilton indicates that home price growth may be driven by speculation as it is outpacing what economic fundamentals like migration, employment and income can support,” said Bob Dugan, chief economist with CMHC.

Dugan said, during a call a conference call with reporters,  that Victoria saw moderate evidence of overvaluation which contributed to its overall rating. CMHC reported this week that price acceleration has spread this week to neighbouring communities around Toronto and had warned previously of similar affects in the Vancouver area.

“There seems to be a fanning out of price pressure,” Dugan said.

Royal Bank of Canada issued its own “housing check” on the market Thursday and it reported affordability-related concerns in both Toronto and Vancouver continue to exist although those concerns are somewhat tempering in British Columbia’s largest city.

The bank says improving trends and prospects for oil prices have led to positive developments for housing risk in the oil-producing provinces .

The latest reports come after the federal’s government recent crackdown on lending designed to slow the market. Among key changes has been a stress-testing of government backed mortgages and a requirement that consumers with those products qualify based on the five-year Bank of Canada posted rate of 4.64 per cent.

CMHC noted in its release that even though prices rose seven per cent on a year-over-year basis at the end of the third quarter of 2016, once Ontario — and its red-hot Greater Toronto Area market — was removed, house prices remain flat through the period.

CMHC says its quarterly Housing Market Assessment report provides an “early warning system” to alert Canadians about concerns the Crown corporation has about housing markets so people can take action. CMHC says the goal is to promote stability in the market.

Conditions are broken down into four categories, overheating, price acceleration, overvaluation and overbuilding. Each category gets a weak, moderate or strong rating and 15 centres are studied with an overall rating and then further overall rating produced for the country.

Six cities made it into the red zone for overall strong evidence of problematic conditions. Vancouver, Saskatoon, Regina, Hamilton and Toronto were on for a second quarter in a row, while Calgary dropped off to moderate replaced by Victoria which now shows strong evidence of problematic conditions.

The Crown corporation says overvaluation and overbuilding are the most prevalent problematic conditions and were detected in eight of the 15 centres covered.

In Calgary, CMHC said there is evidence problematic conditions have decreased since the previous assessment as some housing markets in oil-dependent centres are now rebalancing.

“As Calgary home prices have become more in-line with economic and demographic fundamentals, our overall assessment posted an improvement from strong to moderate evidence of problematic conditions,” said Richard Cho, a market analyst in Calgary for CMHC. “However, overbuilding is still a concern as Calgary’s rental apartment vacancy rate remains at an elevated level.”

Financial Post

CMHC lowers risk rating for Calgary housing market

While strong evidence of problematic conditions continues to exist in the national housing market, Calgary’s risk rating has been downgraded by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

The federal agency, in a report Thursday, lowered its risk rating to moderate from strong, saying evidence of overvaluation has lessened.

CMHC said the most prevalent issues it has observed in the 15 markets monitored by the assessment are overbuilding and overvaluation, which occurs when house prices outpace economic fundamentals such as income and population growth.

Overbuilding is identified when the rental market vacancy rate or the number of newly built homes sitting on the market unsold become elevated.

CMHC first raised its overall risk rating for the national housing market to strong from moderate last October, citing growing evidence of overvaluation.

In total, CMHC says it has found strong evidence of problematic conditions in six of the 15 markets included in the report — Vancouver, Victoria, Saskatoon, Regina, Toronto and Hamilton.

Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Quebec City show moderate evidence of such conditions, the agency said.

CMHC’s housing market assessment is intended to be an early warning system to alert Canadians about problematic conditions developing in the country’s real estate markets.

The report covers the third quarter of 2016, which spans July 1 to Sept. 30.

Since then, the federal government introduced new rules that require all insured mortgages to undergo a stress test to determine whether borrowers will still be able to make mortgage payments if interest rates rise or their income declines.

Previously, such stress tests weren’t required for fixed-rate mortgages longer than five years.

-Calgary Herald

Royal LePage reports sharp rise in American interest in Canadian real estate

TORONTO — A new report from Royal LePage suggests many Americans who oppose incoming president Donald Trump continue showing a desire to purchase property in Canada.

In a report released early Friday, the company says American web traffic on its website surged 329 per cent the day after the U.S. election on Nov. 8 and has climbed 210.1 per cent year-over-year the week after Trump’s victory.

For all of November, says Royal LePage, U.S. traffic to its site grew 73.7 per cent year-over-year compared to the same period in 2015 and rose 40.9 per cent annually in the fourth quarter.

During that three-month period, the report says American interest in real estate was primarily focused on Canada’s largest markets, with Ontario, B.C. and Quebec receiving 72.7 per cent of all U.S. regional page views on royallepage.ca.

Three-quarters of the American inquiries concerned residential properties.

Royal Lepage also says that in a survey of 1,226 of its real estate advisers between Jan. 12-17, 39.5 per cent say they expect U.S. interest in Canadian real estate to keep climbing under a Trump presidency.

“The United States was already a top source for immigration into Canada, and now in the period following the recent U.S. election, we are witnessing a material bump in American interest in Canadian real estate,” said Royal LePage president and CEO Phil Soper.

“With our country’s ever-growing global reputation as a financially sound, happy and culturally tolerant place to raise a family, it is not surprising that interest has moved from a place to play, to a potential place to live and work.”

Many Americans began looking north last year as Trump inched closer to the White House, as illustrated by a huge spike in web traffic on Canada’s citizenship and immigration website. The site crashed on Nov. 8 as results from the presidential election rolled in.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said there were more than 200,000 users accessing its website around 11 p.m. on election night and American IP addresses accounted for about half of that figure. At the same time the previous week, the website saw just over 17,000 users.

-Calgary Herald

Canada’s largest private mortgage default insurer is matching CMHC’s premium hikes

It took Canada’s second largest mortgage insurer about 12 hours to match premium hikes to mortgage default insurance announced Tuesday by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp, the Crown corporation that controls a majority of the market.

Genworth Canada said late Tuesday that it would be increasing its transactional mortgage insurance premium rates for homebuyers, essentially duplicating the increases brought in by CMHC. The increase in premiums depends on the downpayment — they are rising more dramatically for loans with higher downpayments — but the premium for consumers with a loan-to-value ratio up to and including 95 per cent, will rise to four per cent from the current 3.6 per cent on March 17 for both companies.

“We believe this new pricing is prudent and reflects the new regulatory capital framework for mortgage insurers that came into effect onJanuary 1, 2017,” saidStuart Levings, President and CEO of Genworth Canada. “Genworth Canada remains committed to helping Canadians achieve responsible homeownership. We believe these pricing actions are supportive of the long-term safety and sustainability of the Canadian housing finance system.”

The company said it doesn’t expect  the changes to have a “significant impact” on affordability for homebuyers. It noted a typical first-time homebuyer making a 5 per cent down payment would face about $6in their monthly mortgage payment on a$300,000mortgage amount, assuming a three per cent interest rate and a 25-year amortization period.

Canada Guaranty, the third largest private insurer in the country said it continues to study the changes announced by CMHC. “Price adjustments are reasonable given increase in regulatory capital requirements and supports a healthy mortgage insurance industry,” said Andy Charles, the chief executive of the company.

Financial Post

CMHC to Increase Mortgage Insurance Premiums

CMHC is increasing its homeowner mortgage loan insurance premiums effective March 17, 2017. For the average CMHC-insured homebuyer, the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment.

“We do not expect the higher premiums to have a significant impact on the ability of Canadians to buy a home,” said Steven Mennill, Senior Vice-President, Insurance. “Overall, the changes will preserve competition in the mortgage loan insurance industry and contribute to financial stability.”

Capital requirements are an important factor in determining mortgage insurance premiums. The changes reflect OSFI’s new capital requirements that came into effect on January 1st of this year that require mortgage insurers to hold additional capital. Capital holdings create a buffer against potential losses, helping to ensure the long term stability of the financial system.

During the first nine months of 2016:

  • The average CMHC-insured loan was approximately $245,000.
  • The average down payment was approximately 8%.
  • The average gross debt service ratio (GDS) was 25.6%. To qualify for CMHC insurance, a homebuyer’s GDS should not exceed 32% of their total monthly household income.
Down payment between 5% and 9.99%
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000 $550,000 $850,000
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $2.82 $4.70 $6.59 $8.47 $10.35 $15.98

Based on a 5 year term @ 2.94% and a 25 year amortization

*Premiums in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec are subject to provincial sales tax — the sales tax cannot be added to the loan amount.

Premiums are calculated based on the loan-to-value ratio of the mortgage being insured. The premium can be paid in a single lump sum but more frequently is added to the mortgage principal and repaid over the life of the mortgage as part of regular mortgage payments. Additional details and scenarios are included in the backgrounder below.

CMHC regularly reviews its premiums and sets them at a level to cover related claims and expenses while also reflecting the regulatory capital requirements.

CMHC is Canada’s most experienced mortgage loan insurer. Our mortgage loan insurance enables Canadians to buy a home with a minimum down payment starting at 5%. As a Crown corporation, CMHC is the only mortgage insurer whose proceeds benefit all Canadians.

As Canada’s authority on housing, CMHC contributes to the stability of the housing market and financial system, provides support for Canadians in housing need and offers objective housing research and information to Canadian governments, consumers and the housing industry.

For additional highlights please see the attached backgrounder.

Information on This Release:

Karine LeBlanc
Media Relations
613-740-5413
kjleblan@cmhc-schl.gc.ca

Backgrounder

  • CMHC’s standard mortgage loan insurance premiums will be changing as follows:
Loan-to-Value Ratio Standard Premium (Current) Standard Premium (Effective March 17, 2017)
Up to and including 65% 0.60% 0.60%
Up to and including 75% 0.75% 1.70%
Up to and including 80% 1.25% 2.40%
Up to and including 85% 1.80% 2.80%
Up to and including 90% 2.40% 3.10%
Up to and including 95% 3.60% 4.00%
90.01% to 95% – Non-Traditional Down Payment 3.85% 4.50%
Down payment between 10% and 14.99%
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000 $550,000 $850,000
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $4.94 $8.23 $11.52 $14.81 $18.10 $27.98

Based on a 5 year term @ 2.94% and a 25 year amortization

Down payment between 15% and 19.99%
Loan Amount $150,000 $250,000 $350,000 $450,000 $550,000 $850,000
Increase to Monthly Mortgage Payment $7.06 $11.75 $16.46 $21.16 $25.86 $39.96

Based on a 5 year term @ 2.94% and a 25 year amortization

  • During the first nine months of 2016
    • Nearly 50% of CMHC’s transactional mortgage loan business were for loans of less than $300,000
    • Nearly 95% of CMHC’s transactional mortgage loan business were for loans of less than $600,000
    • Less than 1% of CMHC’s transactional mortgage loan business were for loans of more than $850,000
  • CMHC follows OSFI guidelines for federally regulated mortgage insurers in Canada.
  • Calculating the gross debt service ratio (GDS) allows potential homebuyers to estimate the maximum home-related expenses they can afford to pay each month.

GDS = Principal + Interest* + Property Tax + Heat
Monthly Income

*Interest is calculated using the qualifying rate

  • Mortgage loan insurance helps protect lenders against mortgage default and enables consumers to purchase homes with a minimum down payment of 5% with interest rates comparable to those with a 20% down payment. Mortgage loan insurance is typically required by lenders when homebuyers make a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price.
  • CMHC’s new premium rates will be effective for new mortgage loan insurance requests submitted on or after March 17, 2017. The current mortgage loan insurance premiums will apply for applications submitted to CMHC prior to this date, regardless of the closing date. As is normal practice, complete borrower and property details must be submitted to CMHC when requesting mortgage loan insurance.
  • The changes do not impact mortgages currently insured by CMHC.

 

-CMHC

Mortgage insurance premiums on the rise for Canadians, some by more than 10%

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., the Crown corp. that controls a majority of the mortgage default insurance market in Canada, said Tuesday it will raise premiums by more than 10 per cent for consumers who put as little as five per cent down on a home.

Here’s how much it’s going to cost you to insure your mortgage

Canadians taking out a CMHC-insured loan to buy a home face higher costs as of March 17. Here’s a look at how the changes announced Tuesday by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. will affect new borrowers:

Down payment between five and 9.99 per cent:

Loan: $250,000

Increase to monthly mortgage payment: $4.70

—-

Loan: $450,000

Increase to monthly mortgage payment: $8.47

Loan: $850,000

Increase to monthly mortgage payment: $15.98

———————————————————

Down payment between 10 and 14.99 per cent:

Loan: $250,000

Increase to monthly mortgage payment: $8.23

Loan: $450,000

Increase to monthly mortgage payment: $14.81

Loan: $850,000

Increase to monthly mortgage payment: $27.98

————————————————————

Down payment between 15 and 19.99 per cent:

Loan: $250,000

Increase to monthly mortgage payment: $11.75

Loan: $450,000

Increase to monthly mortgage payment: $21.16

Loan: $850,000

Increase to monthly mortgage payment: $39.96

———

The figures above are provided by CMHC and are based on a five-year fixed rate term at 2.94 per cent with a 25-year amortization period.

For consumers with a loan to-value ratio up to including 95 per cent, premiums will rise to four per cent on March 17 from the current 3.6 per cent. The largest percentage increase will be premiums for loan-to-value ratios of 90.01 per cent to 95 per cent for non-traditional downpayments which will jump from 3.85 per cent to 4.5 per cent.

“We do not expect the higher premiums to have a significant impact on the ability of Canadians to buy a home,” said Steven Mennill, senior vice-president, insurance with CMHC. “Overall, the changes will preserve competition in the mortgage loan industry and contribute to financial stability.”

The increase had been expected because of new capital requirement put in place for mortgage insurers by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions for Jan. 1 and the Crown corporation cited the change in announcing the increase.

“Capital holdings create a buffer against potential losses, helping to ensure the long-term stability of the financial system,” CMHC said in its release.

In the past, Genworth Financial and Canada Guaranty, the two private mortgage default insurers, have matched most premium increases from CMHC.

CMHC said for the average homebuyer in its portfolio the higher premium will result in an increase of approximately $5 to their monthly mortgage payment. The average CMHC-insured loan is $245,000. The average down payment was eight per cent with an average gross debt service ratio of 25.6 per cent, below the 32 per cent maximum to qualify for a loan.

Canadians borrowing from a financial institution covered under the Bank Act with less than 20 per cent down must get mortgage default insurance. Premiums are calculated based on the loan-to-value ratio of the mortgage and can be paid in a single lump sum but more often are just added to mortgage and repaid over the life of the loan.

-Financial Post