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Industry News

A private lender – backed by two of Canada’s largest mortgage broker associations – was to appear before an Ottawa Finance committee today to voice industry concerns about proposed tax changes they say will limit broker access to alternative lending. 
 
“The big concern for mortgage brokers is the ability to have financial options available to them and their clients,” Dean Koeller, AMBA’s Immediate-Past President, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “We have a list of 70 MICs across the country that are supporting us on this legislation change.
 
“Some have suggested that they will close down due to an inability to meet the new ownership levels. Others will have to divest a significant portion of their investments to provide shareholders with the equity to pay tax penalties. Others will not be able to grow due to related party issues or ownership issues or tax penalties being imposed.” 
 
Koeller’s brother, Dale, Vice President of private lender Calvert Home Mortgage, was to represent those shared concerns in Ottawa today. The underwriter was scheduled to address a Finance standing committee on proposed changes to the country’s federal tax regime as part of the government’s omnibus crime Bill C-13. The legislation is meant to shore up tax loopholes around investment corporations, among other key areas.
 
Click here to read the full MortgageBrokersNews.ca article.
 
The house is nearly perfect: decent condition, nice neighbourhood and while it’s priced at the higher end of their budget, the young couple feels they can shoulder the cost.
 
The only thing standing between them and the purchase of their first home is the dreaded circa 1960s bathroom. With its cracked ceramic tile, leaky taps and old bathtub, it’s in dire need of an overhaul – an expensive deal-breaker that wasn’t accounted for in the homebuyers’ original budget.
 
So, what are their options?
 
The first, of course, is to walk away until they find something they can afford. A complete bathroom renovation can cost upwards of $15,000 and if the couple doesn’t feel comfortable tacking on the additional debt, they need to think twice.
 
Another option is to obtain a line of credit. They’re an easy way to access low-interest short-term cash quickly but they’re not necessarily the smartest way to go, at least not according to David Chilton, the Wealthy Barber himself.
 
Click here for the full Globe and Mail article.
 
I didn’t understand the Home Buyers’ Plan. What now?
 
I contributed $25,000 to my RRSP for the sole purpose of withdrawing the funds under the Home Buyers’ Plan to buy a condo. Later I learned there is a 90-day waiting period for withdrawals. Does that mean I will not be able to use the money for my down payment? Is there any way I can access these RRSP funds?
 
The Home Buyers’ Plan is a great tool for first-time homebuyers. It allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 tax-free from your RRSP to buy or build a qualifying home, and to repay the money to your RRSP over a period of up to 15 years. But your predicament underscores why it’s important to read the fine print before you make any important financial decision.
 
The Canada Revenue Agency is very clear on the rules. “Your RRSP contributions must remain in the RRSP for at least 90 days before you can withdraw them under the HBP, or they may not be deductible for any year,” the CRA’s website says.
 
Click here for more in the Globe and Mail.
 
Savvy Canadian homebuyers purchasing real estate in the weak US market can find excellent value, say real estate experts, provided they perform due diligence.
 
“For Canadians, who represent the largest group of foreign buyers in Florida, it’s like a time machine, with real estate prices back to 2001 levels,” says Cameron Roach, author of Buy Florida, a guide for Canadian buyers looking south.
 
But buyers need to study the market instead of jumping at low prices. “You might get excited to find a property selling at half its peak value, but what if surrounding properties have fallen by 60%?” he says. “Do your homework.”
 
Foreclosures and distressed real estate may look appealing, but Roach says that market resembles the Wild West, often imposing longer closing times and more legal hassles. In distressed condominium buildings, buyers may find themselves on the hook for higher maintenance fees if other units fall into foreclosure.
 
Click here to read the National Post article.
 
Pushing Canadians toward a better understanding of their finances is a key focus for the federal government, Canada’s Finance Minister said Monday as he launched financial literacy month.
 
“The issue of financial literacy means a great deal to me, and it certainly means a great deal to our government,” Jim Flaherty said at the kick-off event in Toronto.
 
“Throughout our time in office, our government has been focused on helping Canadian consumers to identify and take advantage of the best possible financial products and services for their respective needs and circumstances.”
 
Flaherty, who created a federal financial literacy task force in the 2009 budget, has said increasing consumer knowledge will contribute to a more stable financial system.
 
Click here to read more in the Globe and Mail.
 
Canada is one of the best countries among the G20 for small business owners, but there is still plenty of room for improvement, especially as the country will need to lean on younger entrepreneurs coming out of the current recession, Ernst & Young said in a new business barometer released Monday.
 
The study, prepared for the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit in Nice, France, that began Monday, surveyed 1,000 entrepreneurs across the G20 (50 in each country).
 
It found Canada is among the leaders in several areas, including business confidence, start-up costs, strong banking sector, and good coaching and education programs for young entrepreneurs.
 
“There is only one G20 country – Canada – that can claim that high levels of confidence among entrepreneurs in their country are reflected in a similarly high number of new businesses registered,” the authors of the study said. “For all other countries there are significant opportunities for improvement on one or both of these key measures.”
 
Click here to read the full Calgary Herald article.
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