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 While mortgage brokers are pressing the federal government to bring back 30-year mortgages and give first-time buyers a bigger tax break, Globe and Mail readers are not convinced that easing mortgage rules is the answer to the problem.

 

When the Globe and Mail asked readers in an online poll whether Ottawa should make it easier for first-time buyers to enter the real estate market, only 40% of the nearly 2,500 respondents said yes, first-time buyers deserve a break.

 

“First-time buyers have all-time low rates, realistic 25-year terms, and minimum 5% down payments,” one reader wrote in our comments section. “If they can’t afford it, then the prices are too high. The hurdle is low enough for Canadians.”

 

So what would help new buyers struggling to enter the real estate market? To find out, we asked first-time buyers in a recent community callout about the biggest challenges they face. Some of them were interviewed for a housing feature in Report on Bus iness.

 

Click here for the full Globe and Mail article.

 

Canadians may finally be grasping the obvious when it comes to how to get the best mortgage rate. Shop around.

 

Saving is basic once you are armed with information about the best rate and the best product. It has never been easier, thanks to the Internet.

 

Google says it saw a 50% jump in the number of people using the term mortgage after one of the major banks announced it was cutting its five-year posted rate by 10 basis points to 2.99%.

 

It’s a relatively modest change but it comes as the spring market is about to kick in and consumers are thinking about purchases.

 

David Resnick, head of industry and financial services for Google Canada, says consumers actually start ramping up their search engines in January when they begin thinking about buying.

 

“We are seeing relatively similar volumes in mortgages that we saw last January,” said Resnick. “Whether it translates into home sales will depend on market forces, but there is pent-up demand for housing based on what consumers are searching.”

 

The searching can yield some considerable savings, based on a recent study by the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals. It found the average consumer was saving 1.85 percentage points on a five-year mortgage in 2012.

 

Click here for more details from the Vancouver Sun.

 

Canadian real estate is overvalued by 20%. This doesn’t mean your home is worth 20% less. If prices do drop, it will be closer to 10%, and in certain parts of the country it’s already happening.

 

More than a few media headlines are focusing on Canada’s overvalued real estate. According to Fitch, an American-based ratings agency, housing prices in Canada are 20% overvalued in real terms. The fine print, however, is that this overvaluation only applies to a few major urban centres, such as Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

 

In their new financial model report, Fitch analysts noted that housing prices in Canada have continued to climb since 1996 and, while small corrections have occurred, these prices have risen without the support of underlying financial fundamentals.

 

Click here to read more from MoneySense.

 

There are so many real estate myths out there that people take as being the gospel, says Ron Abraham, President of the Ontario Real Estate Association.

 

REM (Real Estate Magazine) recently asked three people in the industry about some of these real estate perceptions, including Abraham, Don R Campbell, a Canadian-based real estate investor and Founding Partner of the Real Estate Investment Network and Cutting Edge Research, and Ann Hannah, President of the Toronto Real Estate Board.

 

Click here for six real estate myths debunked courtesy of REM.

 

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