What is an Uninsurable Mortgage?

General Greg Weaver 19 Apr

When it comes to mortgages, insurance is necessary to protect the lender on these types of loans, which deal in large sums of money. There are three different tiers relating to insurance, which all have different minimum down payment amounts and varying premium insurance fees.

  1. Insured mortgages typically have a less than 20% down payment and are insured with mortgage default insurance through one of Canada’s mortgage insurers: CMHC, Sagen or Canada Guaranty. In these cases, the premium is based on a percentage of the loan amount, which is added to the mortgage and paid monthly.
  2. Insurable mortgages typically have a 20% or higher down payment and do not require mortgage insurance, though they can qualify for it. In these cases, the homeowner wouldn’t have to pay an insurance premium, but the lender can if they choose to.
  3. Uninsurable mortgages do not meet mortgage insurer requirements; some examples of these types of mortgages can include: refinances, mortgages with an amortization longer than 25 years or mortgage files where the real estate is more than $1M in value and/or purchase price. No insurance premium is required.

While insured and insurable mortgages are more common and typically more cost-effective when it comes to lending money, therefore clients who opt for these mortgages often get better rates.

When it comes to an uninsurable mortgage, this means that the lender is providing their own funds to the client without the protection of insurance, and have to commit to the loan for the entire term. Due to this, uninsurable mortgages tend to have higher interest rates as they are a higher risk loan.

Typically, uninsurable mortgages require a minimum of 20% down on the loan and are available for up to 30-year amortization. It is also important to note that an uninsurable mortgage will often require a higher Gross Debt Service (GDS) and Total Debt Service (TDS) ratio to indicate that you can carry the loan without high risk.

While some lenders may offer more flexibility when it comes to an uninsurable mortgage, if you are looking to refinance or change to a longer amortization period, it is best to discuss your unique situation in detail with your mortgage expert before making any changes to your mortgage.

Canadian Inflation Falls To 4.3% – Lowest Level Since August 2021

General Greg Weaver 18 Apr

Great News on the Inflation Front

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell sharply in March to 4.3% year-over-year, continuing a pattern of repeated declines. Before we break out the champagne, however, much of the drop in inflation resulted from the steep monthly increase in prices in March one year ago (1.4% m/m), the so-called base-year effects.

Gasoline prices have fallen sharply since March 2022–down year-over-year by a whopping -13.8%. This was the second consecutive month in which gas prices caused inflation to fall. The fall in gasoline prices was mainly driven by steep price increases in March 2022, when gasoline rose 11.8% month-over-month due to supply uncertainty following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This increased crude oil prices, which pushed prices at the pump higher for Canadians. Gasoline price inflation was transitory.

There is no question that lower inflation portends a continued rate pause by the Bank of Canada.

Inflation at 4.3% was the smallest rise since August 2021. On a year-over-year basis, Canadians paid more in mortgage interest costs, offset by a decline in energy prices.

Excluding food and energy, prices were up 4.5% year over year in March, following a 4.8% gain in February, while the all-items CPI excluding mortgage interest cost rose 3.6% after increasing 4.7% in February.

Two key yearly measures tracked closely by the central bank — the so-called trim and median core rates — also dropped, averaging 4.5%, in line with forecasts.

On a monthly basis, the CPI was up 0.5% in March, following a 0.4% gain in February. Travel tours (+36.7%) contributed the most to the headline month-over-month movement, largely driven by increased seasonal demand during the March break. On a seasonally adjusted monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.1%.

While headline inflation has slowed in recent months, having increased 1.7% in March compared with six months ago, prices remain elevated. Compared with 18 months ago, for example, inflation has increased by 8.7%.

On a year-over-year basis, price growth for durable goods slowed in March (+1.6%) compared with February (+3.4%). Furniture prices led the deceleration in prices for durable goods, falling 0.3% year over year in March, following a 7.2% increase in February. The decline was primarily due to a base-year effect, as furniture prices rose 8.2% month over month in March 2022 amid supply chain issues.

Prices for passenger vehicles also contributed to the deceleration in prices for durable goods, increasing at a slower pace year over year in March 2023 (+4.7%) compared with February (+5.3%). Higher prices for passenger vehicles in March 2022, due to the global shortage of semiconductor chips, put downward pressure on the index in March 2023.

Month over month, new passenger vehicle prices were up 1.3% in March, attributable to the higher availability of new 2023-model-year vehicles. For comparison, prices for used cars rose 0.6% month over month in March, after a 1.9% decline in February.

Homeowners’ replacement costs continued to slow in March, rising 1.7% year over year compared with a 3.3% increase in February, reflecting a general cooling of the housing market.

In contrast, mortgage interest costs rose faster in March (+26.4%) compared with February (+23.9%). This was the most significant yearly increase on record as Canadians continued to renew and initiate mortgages at higher interest rates.

There has finally been some relief in grocery price inflation. Year over year, prices for food purchased from stores rose to a lesser extent in March (+9.7%) than in February (+10.6%), with the slowdown stemming from lower prices for fresh fruit and vegetables.

Service inflation slowed to 5.1% in March. But in a sign wage pressures could be picking up, more than 155,000 federal workers are set to go on strike starting Wednesday if no deal is reached on their talks with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government by Tuesday night.

Bottom Line

The Bank of Canada is no doubt delighted that inflation continues to cool. The Bank expects price gains to reach 3% by midyear and return to near their 2% target by the end of 2024. But they said getting the prices back to 2% could prove more difficult because inflation expectations are coming down slowly, and service prices and wage growth remain elevated.

Governor Tiff Macklem, speaking at the IMF and World Bank meetings in Washington recently, said the Bank of Canada is prepared to end quantitative tightening earlier than planned if the economy needs stimulation. Quantitative tightening is the selling of government bonds on the Bank’s balance sheet, which takes money out of the economy.

Macklem said his officials discussed hiking rates further during deliberations for the April 12th decision to continue to pause and reiterated that “it is far too early to be thinking about cutting interest rates.”

His comments provide a glimpse into the Bank of Canada’s strategy for shrinking its balance sheet, which ballooned to more than $570 billion during the pandemic as it bought large quantities of government bonds — to restore market functioning during the initial Covid shock and then to provide a stimulus for the economy.

The remarks show an acknowledgment among policymakers that their plans could shift if there’s a negative economic shock that requires a loosening of monetary policy.

According to Bloomberg News, swaps traders are now betting the Bank of Canada’s next move will be a cut later this year. The governor pushed back on those expectations in a press conference this week. He and his officials discussed the possibility that rates need “to remain restrictive for longer to get inflation all the way back to target.”

In a speech last month, Deputy Governor Toni Gravelle said quantitative tightening will likely end in late 2024 or early 2025. That marked the first time the Bank of Canada put a date on abandoning the program.



Published by Sherry Cooper

Need an Appraisal? Tips for Success!

General Greg Weaver 4 Apr

If you are looking to buy a home or want a current value of your property, you will need an appraisal.

Before banks or lending institutions can consider loaning money for a property, they need to know the current market value of that property. The job of an appraiser is to check the general condition of your home and determine a comparable market value based on other homes in your area.

While you may think “it is what it is”, we actually have a few tips that can help improve your home’s appraisal to ensure you are getting top market value!

  1. Clean Up: The appraiser is basing the value of your property on how good it looks. A good rule of thumb is to treat the appraisal like an open house! Clean and declutter every room, vacuum, and scrub to ensure your home is as presentable and appealing as possible.
  2. Curb Appeal: First impressions can have a huge impact when it comes to an appraisal. Spending some time ensuring the outside of your property from your driveway entrance to front step is clean and welcoming can make a world of difference.
  3. Visibility: The appraiser must be able to see every room of the home, no exceptions. Refusal to allow an appraiser to see any room can cause issues and potentially kill your deal. If there are any issues with any spaces of your home, be sure to take care of them in advance to allow the appraiser full access.
  4. Upgrades and Features: Ensuring the appraiser is aware of any upgrades and features can go a long way. Make a list and include everything from plumbing and electrical to new floors, new appliances, etc. This way they have a reference as to what has been updated and how recent or professional that work was done.
  5. Be Prudent About Upgrades: While the bathroom and kitchen are popular areas, they are not necessarily the be-all-end-all for getting a higher home value. These renovations can be quite costly so it is a good idea to be prudent about how you spend your money and instead, focus on easy changes such as new paint, new light fixtures or plumbing and updated flooring to avoid breaking the bank while still having your home look fresh.
  6. Know Your Neighbourhood: You already know where you live better than the appraiser. Taking a look at similar homes in your neighbourhood and noting what they sold for will give you a ballpark. If your appraisal comes in low, you will be prepared to discuss with the appraiser the examples from your area and why you believe you property is worth more.
  7. Be Polite: The appraiser is there to get in and get out. Avoid asking them too many questions or making too many comments and simply be prepared should they have questions. Once they have completed the review of your home, that is a good time to bring up any comments you might have.

Don’t forget to contact a mortgage expert if you have any questions about your existing home or mortgage, or if you are looking to sell and relocate in the future!