28 Feb

Jobs Decline In January Following Blockbuster Year


Posted by: Karen Garrett

Jobs Decline In January Following Blockbuster Year

Canada shed 88,000 jobs in January, the most significant drop in nine years, driven by a record 137,000 plunge in part-time work. Full-time employment was up 49,000 while the unemployment rate increased a tick to 5.9%–only slightly above the lowest jobless rate since 1976. January’s sharp decline brings to an end a stunning 17-month streak of gains. While the top-line loss of 88,000 jobs is striking, it still only retraced about 60% of the 146,000 jump in the past two months.

The disappointing employment report will no doubt keep the Bank of Canada on the sidelines for a while, but it follows the most robust job market in 15 years. More than 400,000 net new jobs were created in 2017. Expectations are now that the Bank will hike interest rates cautiously, taking a pass at the March meeting.

Average hourly wages jumped 3.3% year-over-year, the strongest gain since March 2016. This was boosted by the rise in the minimum wage to $14.00 an hour in Ontario at the start of this year. Ontario now has the highest minimum wage in the country.

The largest employment losses were in Ontario and Quebec. There were also decreases in New Brunswick and Manitoba. Declines were spread across some industries including educational services; finance, insurance, real estate rental and leasing; professional, scientific and technical services; construction; and healthcare and social assistance. Employment increased in business, building, and other support services.

Canada’s economy has still seen employment increase by 288,700 jobs over the past 12 months — 146,000 of which came in November and December. Full-time employment is up 558,900 over the past 18 months, which is unprecedented.


Dr. Sherry Cooper

Dr. Sherry Cooper

Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres
Sherry is an award-winning authority on finance and economics with over 30 years of bringing economic insights and clarity to Canadians.

19 Feb

Improving your credit score


Posted by: Karen Garrett

Improving your credit score

Your credit score is a big factor when you apply for a mortgage. It can dictate how good your interest rate will be and the type of mortgage you qualify for.

Mortgage Professionals are experienced helping clients with a wide range of credit scores so we can find you a mortgage product even if your credit is far from perfect.

The good news about your credit score is that it can be improved:

  • Stop looking for more credit. If you’re frequently seeking credit that can affect your score as can the size of the balances you carry. Every time you apply for credit there is a hard credit check. It is particularly important that you not apply for a credit card in the six months leading up to your mortgage application. These credit checks may stay on your file for up to three years.
  • If your credit card is maxed out all the time, that’s going to hurt your credit score. Make some small monthly regular payments to reduce your balance and start using your debit card more. It’s important that you try to keep your balance under 30% or even 20% of your credit limit.
  • It’s also important to make your credit payments on time. People are often surprised that not paying their cell phone bill can hurt their credit score in the same way as not making their mortgage payment.
  • You should use your credit cards at least every few months. That’s so its use is reported to credit reporting agencies. As long as you pay the balance off quickly you won’t pay any interest.
  • You may wish to consider special credit cards used to rebuild credit. You simply make a deposit on the card and you get a credit limit for the value of that deposit. They are easy to get because the credit card company isn’t taking any risks.

Contact a Dominion Lending Centres Mortgage Professional if you have any questions.

Tracy Valko

Tracy Valko

Dominion Lending Centres – Accredited Mortgage Professional
Tracy is part of DLC Forest City Funding based in London, ON.

16 Dec

When it comes to buying a home, timing is everything.


Posted by: Karen Garrett


When it comes to buying a home, timing is everything.

By Karen Garrett |  www.karengarrett.ca


Buying a home can be very stressful.   I often see clients adding extra pressure to their purchase as they simply aren’t aware that a few simple timing strategies would allow the process to flow more smoothly, save costs and give them much more room to breathe. 

Usually when making the offer to purchase, the buyer has control on the subject removal date and the closing / possession date. Generally the closing dates tend to be on a Friday, around the 15th and 30th/31st of the month.  Why?  Because everyone picks those dates.  But you don’t need to.


Why do strategic subject removal dates matter?

You are in the process of buying one of the most expensive items you will ever purchase.  This is not the time to rush getting all of your ducks lined up.    If you give yourself a short window of time for subject removal, say under10 days, by the time the contract is accepted by both buyer and seller that date has shrunk down to six or less days.  Now you likely have to race to organize a building inspection, an appraisal and your financing documents.   Bump the subject removal date out to a reasonable time frame like 12-14 days, starting after the deal is finally accepted and it will be easier on everyone. 


Rushing can cost you more than you realize

Generally building inspectors will charge more for a rushed report, as will other professionals.   Appraisers need enough time to access the property and write up the report properly.  Then the lender needs time to review the report before signing off on it.  Plus, if you are so pressed for time that you have to get the appraisal report done before the inspection report is completed, and you don’t end up purchasing, then those costs can be charged back to you.   Rushing the process can really impact your ability to get the financing done on time, and even limit your financing options such that the best rates are no longer available.


Avoid Fridays and watch out for holidays

Choosing a Friday for a subject removal can also create added stress for everyone.  For example, if the lender is backed up with files or located back East and leaves their office by 2 pm local time and you need an extension, you have to ask for a three-day extension to get you through the weekend.   If your subject removal is earlier in the week, usually a 24 hour extension is sufficient.    A request to have someone stay late to work on your file will go over far better on a Tuesday than a Friday when they are running out the door to enjoy their weekend plans.

Another fatal mistake is choosing the Monday or the Friday of a long weekend to remove subjects – which are pretty much hopeless  dates as we all know bankers do not work holidays (even if your fabulous mortgage broker does!)  What this really means is that you’ve really just given your team three days less to clear subjects as it will need to be done at least one day before the long-weekend begins, to be safe.


Just say no to closing on the 15th or 30th

Closing / possession dates are just as important.  Let’s say you’ve picked the 15th or the last day of the month for closing and now discover that all the moving companies either have their vans/ trucks already spoken for or they charge a premium for those dates.  Cleaning companies are the same.   Even many lawyers and notaries experience their heaviest volumes toward the end of the month.  And they tend to charge more for a rushed deal, especially if they are already slammed.

Now imagine what could happen if you unknowingly choose the tri-fecta of horrible closing dates – Friday, long weekend and end of the month.   Not only would you run into more expensive closing costs, but there is also a very good chance that the deal’s financing won’t come through in time which means the whole thing can go sideways!

So when you are ready to write an offer, grab a calendar and make sure that the dates you’ve chosen work well for your whole team of professionals and you’ll save yourself some money and plenty of grey hairs along the way.  




Download Article Here.pdf


About the Author:

Karen Garrett of DLC Sea to Sky Mortgages has over 25 years of financial service industry experience with 17 of those years as a professional mortgage broker.   She has extensive industry knowledge and has been recognized among the top 2% of Canadian Mortgage Professionals in Canada for the past three years by the Canadian Mortgage Professionals Association.


15 Dec

BC Introduces Innovative New Program to Help First-Time Homebuyers


Posted by: Karen Garrett


By Dr. Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres


In a move to help BC citizens and residents buy their first home, the BC government announced today that it is launching a new program to augment down payments for first-time buyers. The B.C. Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership program contributes to the amount first-time homebuyers have already saved for their down payment, providing up to $37,500, or up to 5% of the purchase price, with a 25-year loan that is interest-free and payment-free for the first five years. Through the program, the Province is investing about $703 million over the next three years to help an estimated 42,000 B.C. households enter the market for the first time.

During the first five years, no monthly interest or principal payments are required as long as the home remains the homebuyer’s principal residence. After the first five years, homebuyers begin making monthly payments at current interest rates. Homebuyers will repay the loan over the remaining 20 years, but may make extra payments or repay it in full at any time without penalty. The loan must be repaid in full when the home is sold or transferred to another owner. 

To be eligible, buyers must be preapproved for an insured high-ratio first mortgage (mortgage down payment is less than 20% of the home price). On completion of the sale, program funds will be advanced and the loan will be registered as a second mortgage on the property’s title.

Applications will be accepted starting January 16, 2017. This will be a three-year program with loans advanced from February 15, 2017 until March 31, 2020.

Eligible Homebuyers

All individuals with a registered interest on title must reside in the home and:

  • Be a first-time homebuyer
  • Have been a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least five years
  • Have resided in BC for at least 12 months
  • Have a combined gross income of $150,000 or less
  • Have saved at least half of the minimum down payment they will require
  • Must be pre-approved for the first mortgage before applying

The first mortgage must be high-ratio insured from an NHA approved lender for more than 80% of the purchase price.

Eligible Properties

Any legal, self-contained, mortgageable residence located in BC

  • Must be used as a principal residence for the first 5 years
  • Rental properties and seasonal or recreational properties are not eligible
  • The purchase price cannot exceed $750,000

Home Partnership Loans

  • Up to 25-year term, registered as a second mortgage
  • No interest or principal payments for the first 5 years
  • Monthly principal and interest payments begin in year 6, amortized over remaining 20 years
  • Interest rate for years 6 to 10 set near first mortgage rate at time mortgage is registered
  • Interest rate reset to near first mortgage rate at years 10, 15, and 20
  • Homeowner may repay in full or part at any time without penalty.

The loan is due and payable in full upon

  • The home ceasing to be the primary resident in the first 5 years
  • Default on the first mortgage
  • Sale of home or change of ownership
  • Any other default on the Home Partnership second mortgage

Bottom Line: This is a bold and innovative step to help potential new buyers to meet the greatest hurdle of first-time homeownership—the down payment.The Federal Government’s new mortgage regulations released in October hit first-time homebuyers hard, so this program will be welcome relief for B.C. residents. The B.C. government estimates that it will make more than 42,000 new loans over the three-year life of this program, amounting to $703 million in new funding available for qualified first-time homebuyers to come up with their down payments. This is particularly important for BC, which has the highest home prices in Canada.