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CAAMP Releases Spring Mortgage Report

CAAMP's new Housing and Mortgage Market Trends report is now out.  Here's some of its more interesting findings:

  • CAAMP-Mortgage-Strudy 2/3 of Canadians are neutral or pessimistic on whether it's a good time to buy a house right now.  Saskatchewan residents stand out, with 70% of them pessimistic on the housing market.
  • CAAMP says 34% of first-time buyers arranged their mortgage through a mortgage broker in the past year.  For renewals the number was 16%.  For refinances: 17%. (That's likely because people are programmed to talk to their existing lender first, or don't have the initiative to do anything but sign their lender's renewal agreement.)
  • Will Dunning, the report's author, says employment is the key driver of Canada's housing market.  He says job creation is especially important, and it's been strong of late.
  • Canada's average home price shot up 79% from 2001 to 2007, or 9.5% a year.
  • "Interest-only mortgages, longer amortization periods (e.g. 40 years), and no down-payment mortgages" are believed to have significantly increased home sales in 2007. Yet the effect fizzled by the end of the year.
  • Mortgage credit has ballooned 13% in the last 12 months. 8% has been the average annual growth rate for the past 10 years.
  • Mortgage arrears at Canada's top 7 lenders are still only 0.25%.  (Arrears are defined as delinquencies over 90-days)
  • Discount mortgage/bond spreads are improving (good news for you fixed-rate mortgage shoppers). Spreads peaked in late March at 2.9%, according to Dunning. They've since dropped to 2.5%–but are still well above the 1.1% long-term average.
  • Dunning says there is "no evidence that the so-called credit crunch has negatively affected Canadian housing market activity."  (This might be true as a whole.  But don't expect someone with weak credit to believe it.)
  • 41% of Canadians think negatively about long-term amortizations while 29% think they're positive.
  • 40% of Canadians are negative on 100% financing while 32% think 100% financing is a good thing.
  • Renters and people bullish on housing prices are generally more accepting of longer amortizations and 100% financing.
  • 11% of Canadians are unaware that the U.S. is having a housing crisis–down from 22% last fall.
  • Chartered banks hold a 55.6% share of residential mortgage credit.  Credit unions are at 13%.
  • The volume of outstanding NHA mortgage-backed securities (used to fund mortgages) has soared 54% in the past year and a half.