Mortgages demystified

Valuable information for prospective homebuyers

Canada’s new mortgage qualification rules and how they could affect you

On Jan. 1, 2018, new mortgage rules came into effect. Under the new rules, Canadian mortgages are subject to stricter qualifying criteria. Ultimately, this means some buyers will have to settle for less expensive homes than they could have qualified for prior to the rule change – up to 20 per cent cheaper in some cases.

All homebuyers must now go through the mortgage stress test:

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Crunching the numbers

How much home can you afford?

Shopping for the home of your dreams requires knowing how much you can afford to spend, which for most buyers ties directly into a mortgage.

Financial institutions in Canada look at a buyer’s Gross Debt Service (GDS) and Total Debt Service (TDS) ratios to help determine how much mortgage to approve, and therefore, how much home a person can afford.

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Compare and contrast

How Calgary’s housing market stacks up against other major centres

When it comes to the housing market and the availability of affordable options, people often lose sight of the big picture. Instead of obsessing over the minute details of the market in any one particular city, it can be helpful to take a step back and examine things in a broader context to provide points of comparison. This dose of perspective helps one to remember that while $400,000 might seem like a lot to ask for a detached home in one city, in another major metropolitan area, people might be hard pressed to find a home for less than twice that amount. (more…)

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’Tis the season

Debt might be a fact of life this time of year, but experts warn of long-term impacts

With the holiday shopping season shifting into high gear, many Calgarians will be reaching for their credit cards.

But those decisions about taking on debt to put smiles on faces can be the unwelcome gift that keeps on giving, putting the squeeze on your ability to qualify for your first — or next — mortgage, say experts.

“Where people sometimes make a big mistake is they don’t realize how much of an impact their debt has,” said mortgage broker Joe Jacobs, president of Mortgage Connection Inc. in Calgary.

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‘Wave of the future’

New housing collective seeks group approach to affordability issues

Billed as the first of its kind in Alberta, Calgary’s Community Housing Affordability Collective (CHAC) launched earlier this month as a collaborative engine for improving housing affordability in the city.

While a number of local organizations already exist to address barriers to shelter, CHAC is unique is its collaborative approach, said Kim O’Brien, executive director of Horizon Housing Society and co-chair of the CHAC steering community.

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