Agent Will is Will Wertheim, a local realtor who posts the Vancouver RE statistics each week on his indispensable blog, agentwill.com. Recently he shared his current experiences in the market. Here’s Agent Will reporting from the trenches, 25 Mar 2010 8:45 am -
“Talking with mortgage brokers you’re seeing a lot of cash brought to the table. People buying those properties over a million dollars are plunking down 50%+ on them. Yes, there is a lot of rich foreign money coming in. I’m not selling those, though (not that I don’t want to). At the lower end we’re seeing buyers put down 10-15% on average and being pretty conservative with what they are buying. They may be approved for $500k but they’re looking at $400k or less as their max.
You look in the papers and media these past few months (at least what gets reposted on various sites in our community) and you see a lot of talk about prices, interest rates, and the future. I don’t understand that talk and I’ll tell you why. The Banks want to lend money. They only make money when they lend it. But they don’t just lend it to anyone… they only lend to those they deem credit worthy. They adjust the interest rate to reflect the risk. If the person is too risky then they won’t lend at all and the borrower has to go to a B or C lender which has far higher rates and will lend subsequently lower amounts of money. When media reports that “banks are worried” (and the reality for me is that I haven’t seen any worry) then I wonder if someone is saying a personal opinion or if the bank wants to reduce time spent on processing soon-to-be-rejected paperwork.
There’s also a lot of confusion about the HST and so many people think it applies to ALL housing. To every potential buyer I have had to explain (sometimes more than once) that it only will apply to wherever GST was applied (New housing over $525k, lawyers, realtor commissions paid by the seller, movers, materials for renos, contractors, strata management, utilities, etc.) and that means that purchasing a previously titled property will NOT pay HST.
[Results of a recent poll reported on in the G&M] jive exactly with what I’ve been seeing and saying here: “The survey showed six in 10 mortgage holders say they have taken advantage of current low rates to pay off more principal. It also revealed that 18 per cent of homeowners say they have made a lump sum payment on their mortgage and 16 per cent have doubled up payments to reduce the principal. ”
Again, 60% are paying off their mortgage faster, 18% have made lump sum payments, and 16% have doubled up payments. Question is if those 60% contain the 18% and the 16%, but still that is a very good number to see. And it only means that the other 40% have been going about their business and not taking advantage of the low interest rates. I wonder if maybe that is because the fixed rate still rules the vast majority of mortgages taken. Everyone I know on the variable is making extra payments or payments equal to what the fixed rate would be. Everyone.
Oh, and back to the “qualify for the higher fixed even if taking the variable”? I applaud that decision. But that’s just conservative lil’ ol Me. In my experience those who couldn’t really afford to buy are the least realistic, the biggest dreamers, and the greatest time wasters in my line of work. Yeah, they’re the ones watching the infomercials late at night.”