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Industry News...

You only have two more days to participate in CMP magazine’s sixth annual review of Canada’s Top 75 Brokers for 2012 funded mortgage volume! The entry deadline is this Friday, June 21st, so don’t delay!


In addition to the CMP Top 75, this year marks the second year of the Small Market Top 20 – a list celebrating the accomplishments of mortgage professionals in markets with 2012 average home price of $290,000 or less. 


Last year’s Top 75 list included funded volumes (from 2011) ranging from just over $26 million in 75th position to more than $410 million in top spot. If your funded volume for 2012 is above $25 million, it’s definitely worth your while to fill out the submission form.


Please note that your volume submission must only include deals you personally generated and for which you alone received commission. It’s okay if someone else helped you process the deals, but no one else should have been paid commission on these deals.


Click here to enter online today.


The Bank of Canada is likely to start raising its benchmark interest rate in July 2014 – a full year before the US Federal Reserve, BMO Chief Economist Douglas Porter said today.


Porter predicts the overnight rate will go up by half a percentage point, which could put upward pressure on the Canadian dollar until the US raises its interest rates the following summer.


“If the currency gets too strong then the bank will likely stand back and won’t raise interest rates as much as what we’ve predicted,” Porter said following a speech he gave at the Toronto Region Board of Trade today.


The Canadian dollar has been a major impediment to Ontario’s manufacturing sector, said Porter, combined with weaker demand for goods from the US and fierce competition from China.


Click here to read more from The Star.


Many housing bears think that the recent increase in mortgage rates is the beginning of the end for the Canadian housing market. I’m not convinced; here are some reasons why.


Fixed-mortgage rates have gone up because they are tied to bond yields, which have been rising lately. That’s because investors are selling bonds and other defensive holdings on signs the North American economy is gaining momentum. In such an environment, they would rather have more of their portfolios in cyclical and growth investments.


What’s also to be expected as the economy gathers steam is growth in employment and household incomes. Important for housing, this will serve as an offset to the drag of rising interest rates.


Fears about tumbling house prices at the national level thus seem overblown at this stage. In fact, a recent empirical study found that the majority of increases between 1980 and mid-2010 did not undermine house prices.


Click here for the full Globe and Mail article.


The number of Canadian homes sold so far this year is slightly higher than projected and it looks as if 2014 will show a rebound, according to a new CREA forecast.


CREA said Monday it still expects fewer sales this year than in 2012, but the decline will be smaller than what was predicted in March. It also projected that next year will show more sales than in 2013 or 2012.


“Until recently, it seemed that the only debate on Canada’s housing market was whether the landing was going to be of the soft or rough variety. Well, it appears that housing may not be so keen on landing at all at this point,” said BMO Capital Markets Chief Economist Douglas Porter.


“Sorry to inform you, but The Great Real Estate Crash of 2011… no… 2012… no… 2013 has been postponed until 2014, or until further notice. More seriously, we believe housing remains on track for a fabled soft landing.”


Click here to read more from the Financial Post.


For almost a year, we’ve been adapting to two major sets of mortgage changes, the insured mortgage rules imposed by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and OSFI's B-20 residential underwriting guidelines. The latter has been causing lenders to churn out new policies seemingly every week.


These continual changes have made it increasingly difficult to qualify AAA clients. Applications that were approved a few months ago are now being declined or approved with more conditions.


Click here for a quick recap of some recent guideline changes (keep in mind that each lender is putting their own twist on every rule) courtesy of


You can’t go wrong if you respond to last week’s mortgage rate increases by locking in for five or 10 years.


But at least consider the alternative: Variable-rate mortgages sound risky in today’s volatile interest rate environment, but they’re actually a quiet corner of the mortgage world right now.


We’ve had several rising-rate episodes in the past few years, but they’ve invariably fizzled. In each case, one of the many global economic trouble spots has gone critical and caused rates to retreat. Will this latest rate spike unwind itself, too? Can our low-rate utopia last indefinitely?


Smart borrowers today work on the assumption that the answer is no. The question, then, is how to best keep mortgage costs low today while also protecting against future increases.


Click here for full details from the Globe and Mail.


As I crossed the country earlier this year promoting my latest book, Money Rules, I spoke with thousands of university and college students about what it takes to not make the mistakes their parents made.


Let’s face it, my generation has done a gawd-awful job of setting an example for the young’uns who are just starting out.


Click here for some important lessons your parents likely didn’t teach you about money, at least not in practice, courtesy of Gail Vaz-Oxlade in MoneySense.


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