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Industry News

In times of uncertainty, the role of advisor emerges more clearly; similarly the matter that binds relationships together strengthens.


While the housing market has proven itself a bit of an investment anomaly through a very rocky 2011, and came out with fists swinging ready to take on 2012, there’s no denying that for borrowers and for homeowners alike, there is much to consider and to work through in this particular economic environment.


And given the fact that studies show consumers are clearly showing a preference for relationship based business over transactional business, when given the choice, there’s a clear opportunity here for Mortgage Brokers.


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A new round of mortgage rules from Ottawa could include tough new measures for calculating how the self-employed qualify for loans and tighten regulations for condominium buyers, according to two separate sources.


Ottawa remains concerned about the possibility of an inflated housing market and wants to crack down on the practice where consumers self-disclose what they make when applying for a loan. In the case of the condominium buyer, the government continues to consider a proposal that would have 100% of condo fees count when assessing how much debt a consumer could afford.


“None of this is happening just yet. The housing market has slowed down and the government wants to see what will happen next,” said one source. “If the spring market picks up, then we will see more changes to the rules.”


Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said Sunday that some parts of the Canadian real estate market are “probably overvalued” and policymakers are monitoring to see if further steps are needed to cool it.


Click here for the full Financial Post article.


Canada’s real estate market is growing at a snail’s pace, reinforcing hopes the housing sector will glide to a soft landing instead of crashing.


Worries over the economy have dampened demand in some resale housing markets, but the prospect of low interest rates for at least another year is luring buyers and helping create an equilibrium in most parts of the country.


Numbers released by the Canadian Real Estate Association last Monday show that sales volume was up 2.2% in all of 2011 compared to 2010, and the average price for a house inched 0.9% higher over the course of the year – to $347,801 in December.


The association said buyers were getting increasingly cautious

toward the end of the year, but low borrowing rates should help keep properties moving through 2012.


Click here for more from the Globe and Mail.


Household debt numbers are staggering, yet Canadians continue to pile it on lured by super-low interest rates.


But do consumers appreciate the true cost of borrowing? Not always, according to Adrian Mastracci, Portfolio Manager with KCM Wealth Management Inc in Vancouver. “We see a lot of people saying, ‘Oh my God. These rates. They are just giving them away’ And they are – practically,” he explained, “But it is very easy to get yourself into thinking, I can afford this no problem not realizing that one day the piper is going to come knocking at the door and you’re going to have to pay a heck of a lot more.”


Taking on mortgage debt, which accounts for 69% of total household credit, is particularly tantalizing right now as many big banks are offering 2.99% fixed-rate mortgages, the lowest ever. Meanwhile, for the 11th consecutive time, the Bank of Canada left its key interest rate at 1%, which marks the longest pause in rate hikes since the mid-1990s.


But at the same time, Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney have been warning Canadians about taking on too much debt. Still, expectations are that household debt, loaded on by mortgages, credit cards, lines of credit and car loans, will continue to rise even though it’s already at record levels.


Click here for the full Globe and Mail article.


The deadline for Ontario mortgage brokers to renew their licences is fast approaching and the provincial agency charged with overseeing the process is reminding brokers that there will be no extensions.


The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) released a statement that read in part: “FSCO’s Licensing Link for licence renewals will be available from February 1st, 2012 to March 31st, 2012. Your brokerage has to begin the renewal process for you. Once this is done, FSCO will send you an electronic link to complete your application. Your brokerage must then approve and submit your application to FSCO.


“FSCO recommends that this is done well in advance of the deadline of midnight on March 31st, 2012. FSCO staff will be working on Saturday, March 31st, 2012, to respond to questions regarding application submissions. The law does not provide for a time extension to Monday, April 2nd, 2012.”

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