Ashley Lo | Real Estate Solutions

Category Archives: Mortgages

5 Reasons why home ownership is better than renting

Why use your hard-earned cash to pay the landlord’s mortgage when you could be using the rent money to buy a home of your own? Although home ownership is not right for everyone, it does make sense in many cases.

Here are 5 reasons why home ownership is better than renting:

  1. Home ownership is a great investment. Although short term real estate prices may follow similar patterns as an economic cycle with peaks and valleys, there has always been a general upwards trend. Especially with cities such as Toronto, urbanization and gentrification become more predominant over time, and scarcity of land drives prices up. Over the past 40 years, the average Toronto home price increase per year still remains at 7%, even after a couple of recessions!

    1. Leveraging your money. With interest rates at an all time low and with as little of a down payment as 5%, you can still have completely control of your property. Act fast though, because lending rules are becoming more stringent!

 

    1. Home ownership acts as a method of forced savings.By getting into the real estate market early (imagine having your income trying to catch up with a 7% increase a year!), you are able to save for a more expensive home in the future by paying down your mortgage every month and leveraging your current home equity. Monthly costs of owning are often only a little more than what you would pay for an equivalent rental.

 

    1. Pride of ownership and being in full control. Any improvements or decoration changes need no approval from your landlord. Feel free to upgrade as your please! (Amen to that!)

 

  1. Tax benefits. Especially as a first time home buyer, there are many perks from a tax perspective such as RRSP withdrawals and land transfer tax credits. In addition, there are no capital gain taxes on a principal residence. Even for investment properties, there are significant tax deductions which can make property ownership a great investment strategy.

Buy vs. Rent Example


Featured listing: Gorgeous 2 bedroom + den at Yonge/Finch for sale at $299,000

MLS # C2437195

More information on this property: http://www.ashleylo.com/5785yongest202

Comparison

Purchase Price – $299,900
Down Payment 5% 10% 15%
$14,995 $29,990 $44,985
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage Amount (including Mortgage Insurance; Interest at 3% for 5 years)
Property Taxes
Maintenance Fees
Total Monthly Expenses
$1,479
$157
$886
$2,522
$1,367
$157
$886
$2,411
$1,281
$157
$886
$2,324
Annual Cash Spent
Average Annual Savings From Principle (based on 5 year term)
$30,268
$8,278
$28,929
$7,843
$27,890
$7,407
Annual Cost of Ownership
vs.
Annual Cost of Renting at $2,150/month
Savings From Home Ownership
$21,989
$25,800
$3,811
$21,086
$25,800
$4,714
$20,483
$25,800
$5,317

As you can see, even with a down payment of 5% and having to pay mortgage insurance, it would be more beneficial to purchase vs. rent, even without taking into consideration home price appreciation! As GoC bond yields decrease (which is what our fixed-mortgage rates are based on), interest rates will be even lower, allowing an even greater gap between this buy vs. rent scenario. In addition, this example is based on the first 5 years, with additional savings as time passes as you pay down more of your principle and have less interest in your mortgage.

Questions? Feel free to contact me at anytime!

Why it’s still a good time to buy



A couple of weeks ago, I did a home buyer seminar. I got a lot of good feedback so I decided, why not share some of the key points?


  • Interest rates are at historical lows! In the 1980’s, interest rates were at all time highs at about 18%. Now, interest rates are at all time lows! We are seeing interest rates such as 2.99% for a 5 year fixed term! The only caveat is that lending rules are becoming more and more stringent, so if you can approved, go for it!

  • We are not in a bubble! Contrary to what some people may say, we are not in a housing bubble! A bubble is It is characterized by rapid increases in valuations of real property such as housing until they reach unsustainable levels and then decline. We did see this in the late 1980’s when average percentage increase in the years leading up to the peak was 22%! Between 1986 and 1987, there was actually a 36% increase! In the past couple of years, we’ve been seeing increases, on average, at about 6%. (See previous post – The Canadian banking system is unlike the States)

  • The Canadian GDP is correlated with Toronto housing prices. There is a strong correlation between Canadian/Ontario/Toronto GDP and Toronto housing prices. The last time we saw a deviation, it was during the housing bubble in the 1980’s. Currently we are seeing a steady growth in Toronto GDP, which is expected to increase about 13% from 2010 to 2015! This is also in line with Canadian GDP growth.

  • Other factors. What can I say, Toronto is a great city to live in! Due to high immigration, population is expected to grow by 1 million people in the next decade. That’s an increase of 33%! Foreign investors also see the potential. We are seeing investors from all over the globe including China, Iran, India & European countries such as Greece and Italy.


  • There’s no time like the present! If you have any questions, feel free to Contact me.

    Ashley Lo | Real Estate Advice, Real Estate Solutions


    The Canadian banking system is unlike the States



    A lot of people come to me and talk about how they’re worried about the subprime issue in the States and the same thing will happen to us South of the border. However, the fact is that Canada has weathered through the storm extremely well and none of the banks failed or required any sort of bailout, while in the US, about 200 banks have failed since the beginning of the recession in 2008.

    The Canadian banking system is actually much more prudent and resiliant compared to the States. Some differences include:


  • Full recourse mortgages – Canadians are fully responsible for their mortgage so other assets and potentially future wages can go towards paying off the mortgage. In the States, it is much more likely that the home will just be foreclosed.

  • Low deliquency rates – mortgage payments in arrears are about 0.3% in Canada vs. about 3% in the US, which is already down from almost 10% in 2010!

  • Different public policies on lower-income housing – the Canadian government does not have policies to encourage homeownership for lower income and less credit worthy borrowers (subprime) like the States did under the Community Reinvestment Act. Instead, the Canadian government provides funding for public rental housing.

    Other significant differences are illustrated below is an infographic from RateHub.




  • Understanding Condo Occupancy and Registration

    When buying a pre-construction condo, it can be quite confusing as it is more complicated than a regular resale condominium. There are a couple of different phases that the building must go through before final closing. A ‘condominium’ is not technically formed until it completes and passes all approvals with the Land Registry Office. Only when the building is finally ‘registered’ that the title of your unit will be transferred you.

    Once the interior of the building is complete, a number of inspections and approvals also occur at this time by firstly the municipal council, then the regional planning department, and on to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Affairs. These checks and balances are in place to ensure that the building upholds what is stipulated in the draft plan and Condominium Declaration. Once all parties agree that all the requirements have been met, the registration is complete.

    When approvals are complete on a municipal level, an ‘occupancy certificate’ is issued. Owners will have a chance to do a PDI (Pre-Delivery Inspection) in the unit and report any deficiencies. Residents will begin occupying the units in phases and depending on your floor, this could take anywhere from 3 months to a year. This is known as ‘interim occupancy’, the period between the occupancy date and when the condominium is registered.

    Since the vendor still owns suites during the occupancy period, you will be required to start paying ‘occupancy fees’ which is the interest on the balance owed to the builder (based on a one-year Bank of Canada mortgage rate), your estimated share of maintenance, as well as annual taxes.

    There are also interim closing costs to consider including outstanding deposit amounts plus adjustments, occupancy fees, any upgrades, and enrollment of your suite to with TARION Warranty. You must have your homeowner’s insurance in place and arrange for your utility hook-ups at this time as well. Since you cannot obtain a mortgage until you receive title and it is difficult to predict the length of the occupancy period, you must ensure that you have enough savings preceeding the ‘final closing’.

    A couple of months before the closing, you will be notified to secure your mortgage as rules and rates may have changed. When the building finally registers, it will take a couple of weeks for a final closing date, in which the balance of your purchase price will be due (where your mortgage kicks in!). Additional closing costs will also include but are not limited to, the land transfer tax, development charges, and legal fees.

    Purchasing a new condominium is very exciting and has many benefits including increased value of your unit even before you take possession! However, it is important to understand the entire process very clearly to ensure a smooth transaction. Make sure you obtain a knowledgeable and trustworthy real estate agent to help guide your through this process.

    Contact me if you have questions regarding real estate!

    Ashley Lo | Real Estate Advice, Real Estate Solutions


    Why you should be a homeowner or landlord

    Are you currently renting? We’ll show you how feasible it is to buy your own home, and why you may be better off purchasing instead!


    Do you currently have some money saved and are looking to invest? We’ll show you why you should become a landlord!

    Real estate is a scary investment! But we’re here to ease your fears. Whether you’re currently looking to purchase your first home or looking to invest, we will be there every step of the way to guide you and answer all of your questions!

    Stay tuned for seminar details!! Contact me for more information or to be notified of upcoming events.