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Mortgage Bytes

  • Holiday Alert:  Most Ontario, Alberta, and Saskatchewan lenders and planners are closed Monday Feb. 18 for Family Day.
  • Canadian-Economy Don’t fret says the Gazette. The U.S. downturn hasn’t brought down Canada’s economy yet. Our housing starts and employment gains are strong once again. Moreover, Canadian wages are rising almost 5% annually, double the rate of inflation. Some feel this lowers the odds of significant rate cuts in coming months.
  • “The ongoing dramatic reduction in the fed funds rate will probably work to shorten the duration of the (U.S.)
    recession–if we are already in one. But it will also plant inflationary seeds for 2009. So if the story of 2008 is
    subprime and a recession, the story of 2009 will be inflation and rising interest rates.” — CIBC’s Benjamin Tal
  • Non-bank lenders have been inching down their fixed rates ever so slowly over the last week or so.  For the most part, variable rate discounts are stuck where they’ve been for weeks.
  • Realtor Dorothy Wong says Toronto’s new land transfer tax is to Toronto homebuyers what cigarette tax is to smokers. Smokers keep smoking and Toronto homebuyers will keep buying.
  • Canadian Money Advisor is doing a free 1-hour teleseminar with Gail Vaz-Oxlade of the TV show Til Debt Do Us Part.
  • Home Trust has a 1-year mortgage at 4.99%. The downside is they charge a 2.5% lender fee and it only goes to 80% loan-to-value (plus a 5% LTV VISA at 8.99% interest). The lender fee applies again if you renew after a year, so this is primarily a one-year solution.
  • Congratulations to Mortgage Architects on their six CMP Award nominations.
  • The Nova Scotia Business Journal wrote a good basic overview of private commercial mortgages.  They note that privates typically entail lender fees, higher rates, shorter terms, and lower loan-to-values.
  • Condos accounted for 52% of Toronto home sales in 2007.  Maybe that’s because detached home prices in Toronto are becoming out of reach for many.
  • 3 in 10 U.S homebuyers who bought homes in the last two years are under water (i.e.  have negative equity).
  • Canada’s biggest debt rating agency, DBRS, is tinkering with its rating system. The move follows criticism that DBRS didn’t sufficiently highlight the risks of Asset Backed Commercial Paper, a financing method that blew up in August 2007.
  • Coventree, once Canada’s top ABCP dealer, is almost dead.
  • Xceed is letting go of 26 employees, 18% of it’s staff.  The goal is to save $2 million a year.  Their press release says, “Xceed thanks the departing employees for their contributions.”
  • ICICI Bank is hiring a new Mortgage manager to help launch a broker channel and boost branch originations. ICICI is known for deep discount rates so their entry into the broker channel could heat up competition.
  • Brendan Calder, former co-founder of FirstLine and Chairman of Conventree, now teaches a course called “Getting it Done” at University of Toronto’s business school.
  • Randy Nanek, Equitable Trust’s CFO, has left.  Nanek was on the job for only a few months.  It’s Equitable’s second CFO to depart in recent memory.