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VANCOUVER — The B.C. Real Estate Association says the province’s housing market has tumbled from record highs posted in 2016 to return to what it calls historic, long-term averages.

The association says 4,487 condos, townhomes and detached homes were sold in B.C. in January, down 23 per cent compared with the same period last year.

The total sales value also dropped 36.5 per cent over the same period to $2.79 billion, while the average home price was off 17.5 per cent to $621,093.

Figures from the real estate association show the change was most pronounced in Vancouver where fewer detached homes sold and sales of all property types made up just 35 per cent of sales across B.C., an eight per cent decrease from January 2016.

With fewer expensive, single-family homes changing hands compared with condos or townhomes, the association’s news release says the average price of a property in the Vancouver area skewed downward.

It says the residential benchmark price in Greater Vancouver declined 3.7 per cent over the last six months, but record hikes last year mean prices are still 15.6 per cent higher than they were in January 2016.

“A marked decrease in the average residential price (across B.C.) is largely the result of relatively more home sales occurring outside of the Lower Mainland,” association chief economist Cameron Muir says in the release.

He said Victoria’s sales showed above average performance in January, but overall, the market is returning to long-term average levels.

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A recent poll done by IPSOS asked first time home buyers how much they will have for a down payment on their first home purchase. According to Canadian Mortgage Trends these are the results and the commentary has been pulled straight from their article:

How long do young buyers expect to save for their first down payment?

53% say “up to three years” 
25% say between four and six years
16% say seven years or more 
6% say they’ll never save enough to buy a home 
Prospective first-time buyer term choices:
39% prefer a term over five years  (versus 22% of all prospective buyers) 
38% prefer a 5-year term 
23% want a term less than five years. 
Of Canadians in general:
14% of homeowners said they should have made a bigger down payment. 
29% of prospective borrowers (42% of first-time buyers) are considering a hybrid mortgage (e.g. part-fixed and part variable). But far fewer (just 7% according to CAAMP) actually choose hybrid mortgages.
Just 5% of homeowners admit to choosing the wrong type of mortgage. (From our experience, far more complain about their financing than 5%. Many don't realize they've taken an inferior mortgage until they learn of their lender's policy on penalties, porting, blending a rate, converting a rate and so forth. Those lessons typically come after closing, when it's too late.)

Term selection is one of the most important topics of conversation and is the top priority in order to save you money in the long run. It should be based on your individual goals and your tolerance for rate movement as this will eventually or instantly affect your mortgage rate or interest you pay depending on the term you select (i.e. fixed or variable) A good discovery conversation is strongly recommended with your mortgage advisor.

Let me know if you have any questions regarding this info or want to start a discovery and advice meeting with me in the future.

Tony Marchigiano

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC


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New census data shows the population of the metropolitan area of Vancouver outpaced the national growth rate over the last five years.


Statistics Canada released the first batch of numbers from the 2016 census on Wednesday and the population of what the government agency refers to as the census metropolitan area of Vancouver increased by 6.5 per cent since the last census in 2011.


The area's growth rate was above the national growth rate of 5.0 per cent, while the population of British Columbia increased by 5.6 per cent.


The municipalities with the largest individual growth were Surrey at 10.6 per cent, the Township of Langley at 12.6 per cent, and the area comprising UBC and the Endownment Lands, at 24.2 per cent. 


Census metropolitan areas do not conform to established municipal boundaries. Statistics Canada defines them as a metropolitan area with a population of at least 100,000, where the urban core of that area has at least 50,000 people.


Commuting patterns and other factors are used in determining these census metropolitan areas.


Looking at metropolitan areas this way takes into account the growing impact of suburban areas on Canada's largest cities.


When the 2016 census was taken last May 10, the population of the census metropolitan area of Vancouver was 2,463,431, compared with 2,313,328 from the 2011 census. The population of the actual city of Vancouver was 631,486, up from from 603,502 in 2011.


The next largest census metropolitan areas in B.C. were Greater Victoria, Kelowna, and Abbotsford-Mission. 


The census indicated that Vancouver ranked No. 3 among the country's 35 census metropolitan areas.


Canada's population on census day was 35,151,728, Statistics Canada reported.


The national census is conducted every five years.


The information published Wednesday is the first of several releases of data to come from Statistics Canada over the next year that will eventually paint a detailed picture of the country, right down to the local level — including age breakdowns of the population, family makeup, languages spoken, immigration and ethnic origin, the level of education attained and income earned.


Future census releases will give more insight to explain the reasons behind the population changes — whether it's related mostly to changes in birth and death rates, immigration or interprovincial migration.


B.C. outpacing 5 provinces 

At the provincial level, population levels in Alberta saw the highest increase at 11.6 per cent, followed by Saskatchewan (6.3 per cent) and Manitoba (5.8 per cent).


Growth in New Brunswick shrank by 0.5 per cent — the first time since 2006 a province has reported a negative growth rate.


British Columbia's population levels increased by 5.6 per cent, compared with Ontario (4.6 per cent), Quebec (3.3 per cent), Prince Edward Island (1.9 per cent), Newfoundland and Labrador (1.0 per cent) and Nova Scotia (0.2 per cent).


Among the northern territories, the population grew by 12.7 per cent in the Northwest Territories, 5.8 per cent in the Nunavut and 0.8 per cent in Yukon.


Ontario is still the country's most populous province, with a population of 13,448,494.


The population of other provinces and territories:


- Quebec, 8,164,361.

- British Columbia, 4,648,055.

- Alberta, 4,067,175.

- Manitoba, 1,278,365.

- Saskatchewan, 1,098,352.

- Nova Scotia, 923,598.

- New Brunswick, 747,101.

- Newfoundland and Labrador, 519,716.

- Prince Edward Island, 142,907.

- Northwest Territories, 41,786.

- Nunavut, 35,944.

- Yukon, 35,874.


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According to a recent study by Allianz Life Insurance Co. women are in charge but only slightly.
51% of women are the CFO's at home. For the reason why this is as well as other interesting numbers see the full article from below:

"Most women are the ‘chief financial officer’ of their household, a study by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America has found, but most wish they had spoken with a finance professional sooner.


Fifty-one per cent of women control the finances in their household and there has also been an increase in the proportion of women saying they are the primary breadwinner (37 per cent compared to 31 per cent 4 years ago).


“Women are taking a larger role in managing household finances and are gaining more responsibility for the financial success of their family,” said Allianz Life Vice President of Consumer Insights Katie Libbe. “The savviness that women exhibit with their household finances can translate to being more assertive and having confidence to take risks in their careers.”


Most of the respondents say they feel financially secure but most would like more knowledge about financial planning and investments.


Around a third of women use a finance professional for guidance while 75 per cent said they wish they had done so sooner."

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Tony Marchigiano

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC

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The mortgage world has definitely changed over the last year with what seemed like new mortgage rules coming out monthly.

In January, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced new increases to the insurance premium charged on mortgages it insures. This new change will take effect March 17th. Steven Mennill, Senior Vice-President at CMHC states “Overall, the changes will preserve competition in the mortgage loan industry and contribute to financial stability”. The insurance premium in the case of a borrower with 5% down payment for example, will increase to 4% of the amount borrowed as opposed to the current 3.6%. Since these premiums are typically added to the mortgage amount, this will also slightly increase your mortgage payment.

With the addition of the new mortgage rules that are implemented in the later part of 2016, this year could be more of a challenge in securing the mortgage you want especially for first-time homebuyers. Many first time homebuyers many have to step back a bit and reevaluate what they can qualify for, Some might even postpone the purchase of their first home.

The government’s concern with the risk associated with the pace of escalating real estate prices, particularly in Vancouver and Toronto, and the affordability of homeownership seem to be the catalyst for these most recent changes. B.C has already seen a reduction in overall real estate activity since some of the provincial and federal changes came into effect in the fall of 2016.

The Trump Factor

Some of the initial policies that the new US government is thinking about implementing could have the effect of rising US bond yields which could partly contribute to rising mortgage rates in Canada. It can be argued that this has already started.

Because of this, it is imporant to get pre-approved now to be protected from rising interest rates. This could easily save thousands over the term of a mortgages regardless of this being a first mortgage, second home or a mortgage renewal in 2017.


I have access to many traditional and non-traditional lenders and I know how all these changes will affect homeowners so I can take the stress out of getting the right mortgage.


Download my MOPOLO app on your phone from any app store and you can apply from anywherem anytime. You can slo get a FREE monthly credit score without affecting your credit rating and a FREE home valuation! Make sire to enter my name or code 936115 under "Find A Broker."




Tony Marchigiano

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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Metro Vancouver housing market off to a quieter start than last year.


VANCOUVER, BC – February 2, 2017 – Home sales and listings trends are below long-term averages in the Metro Vancouver* housing market. This is due largely to reduced activity in the detached home market.


Residential property sales in the region totalled 1,523 in January 2017, a 39.5 per cent decrease from the 2,519 sales recorded in January 2016 and an 11.1 per cent decrease compared to December 2016 when 1,714 homes sold.


Last month’s sales were 10.3 per cent below our 10-year January sales average.


“From a real estate perspective, it’s a lukewarm start to the year compared to 2016,” Dan Morrison, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) president said. “While we saw near record-breaking sales at this time last year, home buyers and sellers are more reluctant to engage so far in 2017.”


New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,140 in January 2017. This represents a 6.8 per cent decrease compared to the 4,442 homes listed in January 2016 and a 215.5 per cent increase compared to December 2016 when 1,312 properties were listed.


The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver is 7,238, a 9.1 per cent increase compared to January 2016 (6,635) and a 14.1 per cent increase compared to December 2016 (6,345).


The sales-to-active listings ratio for January 2017 is 21 per cent. This is the lowest the ratio has been in the region since January 2015. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.


“Conditions within the market vary depending on property type. The townhome and condominium markets are more active than the detached market at the moment,” Morrison said. “As a result, detached home prices declined about 7 per cent since peaking in July while townhome and condominium prices held steady over this period.”


The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $896,000. This represents a 3.7 per cent decline over the past six months and a 0.2 per cent decrease compared to December 2016.


Sales of detached properties in January 2017 reached 444, a decrease of 57.6 per cent from the 1,047 detached sales recorded in January 2016. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,474,800. This represents a 6.6 per cent decline over the last six months and a 0.6 per cent decrease compared to December 2016.


Sales of apartment properties reached 825 in January 2017, a decrease of 24.7 per cent compared to the 1,096 sales in January 2016.The benchmark price of an apartment property is $512,300. This represents a 0.3 per cent increase over the last six months and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to December 2016.


Attached property sales in January 2017 totalled 254, a decrease of 32.4 per cent compared to the 376 sales in January 2016. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $666,500. This represents a 0.4 per cent decline over the last six months and a 0.7 per cent increase compared to December 2016.




*Editor’s Note: Areas covered by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.


The real estate industry is a key economic driver in British Columbia. In 2016, 39,943 homes changed ownership in the Board’s area, generating $2.5 billion in economic spin-off activity and an estimated 17,600 jobs. The total dollar value of residential sales transacted through the MLS® system in Greater Vancouver totalled $40 billion in 2016.


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According to a recent article by it's paying off your mortgage. What percentage of Canadians are making it their top priority and what are some of the other important priorities? The details are within the full article below:
"More than a third of Canadians polled by CIBC said that paying off their mortgage sooner was a key financial goal."

Among those with a financial plan, saving for retirement was the priority of more than half while eliminating credit card or other debt was in joint second place alongside clearing the home loan.

"While most of us have a fairly good sense of our financial goals, so many Canadians do not have a clear road map in place to achieve what they want today – and tomorrow," says Sarah Widmeyer, Managing Director and Head of Wealth Strategies, CIBC. 

Even among those with no clear financial plan, 80 per cent are confident that they could manage in the event of an emergency home repair and 58 per cent are confident in their ability to manage if someone in the household lost their job."


For ideas and help on paying down your mortgage faster or even any of the other financial priorities feel free to give me a call or email me at anytime.



Tony Marchigiano

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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British Columbia’s tax on foreign real estate buyers is having its desired effect, dragging home prices down from dizzying highs compared to the rest of Canada, according to research from BMO Nesbitt Burns. However, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) warns Vancouver continues to be plagued by “problematic conditions.”

The additional 15 per cent property charge on foreign buyers has seen a steep drop in real estate transaction in the Vancouver area since it was introduced last summer. The MLS Home Price Index, a tool used by Canadian Real Estate Association to monitor price fluctuations, now shows prices trending downwards as well.

“We have enough history now to distinguish the clear divergence between Vancouver (down) and Toronto (still straight up),” said BMO Chief Economist Douglas Porter in a research note on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Toronto and Victoria – two of the Canada’s hottest real estate markets where foreign investment is unchecked – have shown continued price increases.

“In case there was any doubt what force was at place, note that Victoria has tracked closer to Toronto’s behaviour than Vancouver’s,” Porter wrote.

The CMHC downgraded its outlook on overheating in the Vancouver market from moderate to weak in its latest quarterly Housing Market Assessment released Thursday, as sales fell more in line with the number of new listings.

However, the agency also noted “moderate evidence of price acceleration and strong evidence of overvaluation.”

While housing demand in Vancouver has cooled, the supply of new and resale homes remain below the 5-year average level.

Single-detached homes, in particular, continue to command a premium above what financial, economic and demographic trends would indicate.

“Considering all factors, the overall assessment for Vancouver indicates strong evidence of problematic conditions,” said the report’s authors.

December saw residential sales decrease 39.4 per cent from a year earlier, according to data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. The benchmark price for a detached home ended the year at $1,483,500, 18.6 per cent higher than the same time last year.

Economists are projecting Vancouver sales and prices will continue to slump into 2017, following the city’s third highest selling year on record last year.

Vancouver ranked number three on a recent list of the least affordable housing markets in the world in the 2017 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

While the impact of the B.C. government’s intervention in Vancouver has yet to be fully realized, “extremely poor affordability” remains a key risk, according to RBC chief economist Craig Wright.


“The market is still adjusting to the recent policy measure to address housing risk,” he wrote in a note to investors on Thursday. “The market has cooled off significantly and home prices are coming under downward pressure. However, a crash is unlikely given still-solid economic underpinnings.”

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CMHC (Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation) & now Genworth have both raised their default insurance premiums on all loan to value financing. This is the 3rd time in three years! When & why do they need to do this and how much will it cost borrowers? Check out the full article from for the answer to these questions along with a chart to show you the exact increases:

"CMHC announced early Tuesday it is increasing its loan insurance premiums effective March 17."

“We do not expect the higher premiums to have a significant impact on the ability of Canadians to buy a home,” said Steven Mennill, Senior Vice-President, Insurance. “Overall, the changes will preserve competition in the mortgage loan insurance industry and contribute to financial stability.”

According to the Crown Corporation, the average homebuyer will see a $5 increase to their monthly mortgage payment as a result. That $5 certainly adds up, however, to a total of $1,500 over the course of a 25 year mortgage.

The increase is the result of last year’s mortgage rule changes, CMHC claims.

“Capital requirements are an important factor in determining mortgage insurance premiums. The changes reflect OSFI's new capital requirements that came into effect on January 1st of this year that require mortgage insurers to hold additional capital,” it said in a release.

“Capital holdings create a buffer against potential losses, helping to ensure the long term stability of the financial system.”

See the table below for the exact premium increases:

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Tony Marchigiano

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC

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Even though it’s the middle of the winter season, before you know it, spring will be here. Historically in most real estate markets, the spring is when it really begins to heat up. The spring real estate market generally yields the highest prices for those selling their home. This is only possible though if the proper preparations are taken before spring is upon us!

If you’re thinking of selling your home in the spring, you must know that even though you may receive top dollar for your home, the competition will also be the strongest. This means it’s absolutely critical that you’re prepared for the spring real estate market so you can knock out your competition. Check out these tips so that you’re prepared.

Begin Interviewing Prospective REALTORS®

It doesn’t matter what time of year you decide to sell your home, it’s critical that when selling a home, you know how to interview REALTORS® when selling a home. As spring continues to approach, the top producing REALTORS® will only continue to get busier. Make sure you start reaching out to the agents you think would be a great representative to sell your home sooner rather than later.


Know What Your Plan Is

One huge mistake sellers make is not knowing what their plan is once they sell their home. Are you planning on buying another home once your home sells? Do you have the option to move in with family? Can you rent, if need be? Can you buy non-contingent? These are things you should think about and know the answers to before the spring real estate market hits. It’s a great idea to discuss your financing options with a local lender before you list your home for sale. If you can get pre-approved to purchase a home non-contingent, if need be, it can give you a huge advantage over any seller who is selling their home subject to finding a suitable property to purchase.


Consider Having a Pre-List Inspection

One of the biggest reasons a home sale gets derailed is due to the home inspection. Most buyers will opt to have their offer contingent on an acceptable home inspection. Some buyers can even get alarmed and scared by the smallest home inspection finding. It can be easy to avoid this possibility and have your home inspected by a professional before listing it. Having a pre-list inspection is one of the top things to do before listing a home for sale.


Know Your Local Spring Real Estate Market

Every real estate community and market is different. Some spring real estate markets begin in late February/early March and others begin in the middle of April. It’s important that you truly understand your local real estate market. The best way to know your local real estate market is by hiring a top REALTOR®. Your REALTOR® should be able to advise you on current, past, and projected market conditions and also give you advice as to when you should list your home.


The time you choose to list your home for sale is critical in the spring market. If you wait too long, it’s possible you can miss that prime selling time frame. There are some REALTORS® who will even suggest beating the spring market competition and that it can be beneficial to list a home now and not wait until spring.


Clean & Organize

I know it’s cliché but it’s imperative to give your home a thorough “spring cleaning.” This doesn’t mean wait until spring though. Be proactive and start cleaning now; you’ll be glad you didn’t wait. A huge turnoff for prospective buyers are foul odors. Things such as smoke odors and pet odors can kill home sales.


Here are just a few things to make sure you clean before listing your home:

- Wash your windows

- Dust your blinds

- Dust baseboard trims

- Clean appliances

- Clean shower(s) & toilet(s)

- Clean inside cabinets

When selling a home, it’s important that you de-clutter and organize your home, too. A great way to achieve this is by packing. It may sound silly seeing as you haven’t listed your home for sale yet, but you will need to pack at some point anyways, so why not do it now! Clean out closets and pack away anything that you don’t have a necessity for. It is incredible how much better a home will show and how much quicker it will sell if it’s organized and de-cluttered.

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A new report from Royal LePage is calling for an 8.5 per cent depreciation of home prices in Greater Vancouver in 2017.


Despite a 25.6 per cent year-over-year increase in aggregate home prices in the fourth quarter of 2016, the real estate firm expects prices to drop as a result of "eroded affordability" and "bruised consumer confidence."


"It is expected that Greater Vancouver will experience a near double-digit correction in the new year, as sanity returns to the marketplace, causing the region to give back much of the appreciation witnessed in the first half of 2016," said Royal LePage general manager Randy Ryalls in a release.


Becoming a buyer's market


Royal LePage says that, despite new government policies such as the foreign buyer tax, the main factor affecting house prices in the region is a lack of affordable inventory.


"Market characteristics have melded to create a perfect storm where prospective homeowners are unable to find adequate affordable property due to an extreme lack of supply, and have thus refrained from putting their own homes on the market," the report reads.


In other words, the report says, the region is slowly shifting from a seller's market to a buyer's market.


Though the report identifies inventory as the main driver of the predicted depreciation, Royal LePage also expects foreign investment in Vancouver real estate to decrease as a result of both the foreign buyer tax and stricter currency conversion rules in China.

Markets vary wildly across the country


The report notes that conditions are very different elsewhere in Canada.


"The disparity in home price appreciation between Canadian regions has never been greater than that seen in 2016, with rates ranging from double-digit extremes in some cities to negative growth in others," said Royal LePage president and CEO Phil Soper in a release.


The report notes that prices are rising steadily in the Greater Toronto Area, as well as Quebec, Alberta and Atlantic Canada, and the report expects those trends to continue.


The report says the differing markets make it hard for policymakers to address issues with sweeping regulation changes.


In a release, Soper spoke critically about various governments' attempts to address the situation through taxes and regulations rather than addressing the low supply.


"Too many new taxes and regulations, by too many levels of government, introduced within such a short timeline and with perceivably little research and consultation, have caused confusion and triggered drops in consumer confidence," Soper said.


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You have likely read about the new initiative from the BC Government to provide down payment assistance.

I have included the government's link to all the details of the program (

 A handful of mortgage lenders have already decided to take part in the program but there are also a number of them that will not take part.

The program starts next week on Jan 16th and a first time home buyer will need to qualify for the mortgage + the loan for part of the down payment.

The qualifications for debt servicing is to take the loan amount at the current Benchmark rate of 4.64% over 20 years (the amortization for the loan is 25 years but there are no payments nor interest for the first 5 so 20 years needs to be used).

Max. loan amount for down payment is $37,500 and they will only match what one has in their own funds for down payment.

So even at the max loan amount amortized over 20 years impact a borrower's debt ratios to much. 

We will likely see more lenders jump on board but it may take some time.

As always if you have any questions around this or any other home financing please feel free to email/text or call me anytime.



Tony Marchigiano

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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A recent article featured in the Globe and Mail discussed the importance of having a “stellar” credit rating when wanting approval for mortgage financing.
While your credit history is very important in the approval process it’s not everything and there are definitely lenders with specific mortgage programs to help people who might not have “stellar” credit ratings.
Here’s the link to the article below which details, among other things, the breakdown of the importance of such things as making payments on time and balances owing on existing credit.

The following article is from Canadian Real Estate Wealth Magazine.


When you begin shopping around for a mortgage the importance of your credit history and score becomes evident.


Your credit score is an important item that will determine what interest your mortgage agent will be able to offer you. It should be a priority because it can save you thousands of dollars. If you take care of your credit, your credit will take care of you! Whether you have had credit for a long time or are completely new and just beginning, the reality is that you will have to at some time or another prove that you are a low enough risk for lenders to lend to.


If you are just beginning to build credit a good way is by using a credit card.


What is a credit report?

A credit report is a quick look into your credit history. If you have taken a loan or used a credit card you will have a credit history. Financial institutions, trust companies, credit companies and grantors that give you credit may send information about whether or not you make your payments on time to a credit-reporting agency/bureau.


Credit bureaus collect information about you and how long it takes you to pay back money you have borrowed. This is is called your credit history.


Credit lenders rely on a credit bureau to analyze an applicant’s current and past credit history in order to determine the likelihood of future repayment. This provides a fairly accurate indication of future repayment trends.


The two most popular credit bureau agencies operating in Canada are Equifax and Transunion. You can request your credit report by mail for free but your score is not included. If you request your credit report online a fee is charged and your credit score is included.


You are the only person who can see your credit report. No one else can access the information in your report unless you allow it. Generally you would allow credit checks to organizations you are applying to for credit. Usually you sign documentation allowing them to do so.


What’s in your credit report?

Personal information such as:
- your name
- current and previous addresses
- S.I.N., phone number
- date of birth
- previous employer/s


Financial information such as:
- credit cards
- lines of credit
- loans and mortgages
- bankruptcies, court judgements and backed secured loans which are considered public records and debt that was referred to a collection agency for payment.


A list of credit report inquiries: You, your lender, or any other authorized agent is also included which is usually used to determine if you are a credit seeker: someone who applies for a lot of credit.

How are you rated?

The credit agency describes your credit history by rating it. A scale of 1 to 9 is used with 1 meaning that you pay your bills within 30 days and 9 meaning you have bad debt, never pay your bills, have been placed for collection or claimed bankruptcy.


In front of the number there is a letter. The letter stands for the type of credit you are using. R means you have revolving credit such as a credit card, O means you have open credit such as a line of credit and I means you credit has been given on an instalment basis.


Your credit score is a numerical representation of the your current and past credit. It can range between 300 representing the lowest and 900 representing the best rating.


The breakdown that is used to determine your credit score is the following:

35 per cent – Payment history
30 per cent – Amounts owed
15 per cent – Length of credit history
10 per cent – New credit
10 per cent – Types of credit


If you contact Equifax or Transunion and find that the information on your credit report is incorrect, you may request that a correction be made. You will have to contact the institution that reported the activity and submit documentation proving financial resolution has been made to the credit bureau and they will remove it. Good luck! Equifax Canada Credit Bureau, Tel: 1-800-465-7166, Fax: 514-355-8502. TransUnion Canada Credit Bureau, Tel: 1-866-525-0262 (except in Quebec), Tel: 1-877-713-3393 (Quebec residents)


1.) Make your payments in the correct amount on or before the due date! This will have a positive effect on your credit score. Missing or late payments and judgements, bankruptcies, collections or other public records will have an unfavourable impact on a credit score.


2.) Keep your balance considerably lower than the available credit limit provided. If you have several accounts with high balances relative to your available credit, this may indicate that you are relying greatly on credit to meet your daily needs.


3.) Multiple credit inquiries can lower your credit score, so reduce the number of credit applications you make.


4.) Always maintain a credit history. You can use a credit card to build a good history.


5.) The best mix of credit is a combination of a store credit card and a major credit card such as a VISA or MasterCard. It is important not to have too many credit cards or store cards as that may negatively impact a credit score.


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Tony Marchigiano

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC

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A heated year for Metro Vancouver real estate draws to a close


VANCOUVER, BC – January 4, 2017 – The Metro Vancouver* housing market had its third highest selling year on record in 2016, behind only 2015 and 2005.


Sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in the region reached 39,943 in 2016, a 5.6 per cent decrease from the 42,326 sales recorded in 2015, and a 20.6 per cent increase over the 33,116 residential sales in 2014.


“It was an eventful year for real estate in Metro Vancouver. Escalating prices caused by low supply and strong home buyer demand brought more attention to the market than ever before,” Dan Morrison, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) president said.


“As prices rose in the first half of the year, public debate waged about what was fuelling demand and what should be done to stop it. This led to multiple government interventions into the market. The long-term effects of these actions won’t be fully understood for some time.”


Residential properties listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver reached 57,596 in 2016. This is an increase of 0.6 per cent compared to the 57,249 properties listed in 2015 and a 2.6 per cent increase compared to the 56,066 properties listed in 2014.


“The supply of homes for sale couldn't keep up with home buyer demand for much of 2016. This allowed home sellers to raise their asking price. It wasn’t until the last half of the year that prices began to show modest declines.”


The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ends the year at $897,600. This represents a 2.2 per cent decrease over the past six months and a 17.8 per cent increase compared to December 2015.


December summary


Residential property sales in the region totalled 1,714 in December 2016, a decrease of 39.4 per cent from the 2,827 sales recorded in December 2015 and a decrease of 22.6 per cent compared to November 2016 when 2,214 homes sold.


Last month’s sales were 8.1 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month.


New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 1,312 in December 2016. This represents a decrease of 35.1 per cent compared to the 2,021 units listed in December 2015 and a 58.3 per cent decrease compared to November 2016 when 3,147 properties were listed.


The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver is 6,345, a 5.3 per cent increase compared to December 2015 (6,024) and a 24.3 per cent decrease compared to November 2016 (8,385).


Sales of detached properties in December 2016 reached 541, a decrease of 52.4 per cent from the 1,136 detached sales recorded in December 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,483,500. This represents an 18.6 per cent increase compared to December 2015 and a 1.8 per cent decrease compared to November 2016.


Sales of apartment properties reached 915 in December 2016, a decrease of 25.3 per cent compared to the 1,225 sales in December 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property is $510,300. This represents a 17.3 per cent increase compared to December 2015 and a 0.3 per cent decrease compared to November 2016.


Attached property sales in December 2016 totalled 258, a decrease of 44.6 per cent compared to the 466 sales in December 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit is $661,800. This represents a 20.4 per cent increase compared to December 2015 and a 0.8 per cent decrease compared to November 2016.


*Editor’s Note: Areas covered by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.


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Whether you are looking to buy or deciding if this is the year to sell, the question on many minds both at home and abroad is, "Will Canadian real estate keep booming?" For years now, predictions that house prices would stop climbing, or even crash, have repeatedly proven false. Could 2017 be the year?


Here's a look at five factors that could affect Canadian real estate in 2017.


1. U.S. Federal Reserve's interest rates

Although the Canadian and American central banks set their interest rates independently, the rate set by U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has a huge impact on Canadian mortgage rates. That's because mortgage lenders take their cue from global bond rates set in New York. Why lend to homebuyers at less than you could get on the same money in safe bonds?


When she increased rates by a quarter of a percentage point in December, Yellen implied there would be three more rate rises in 2017. That means prospective Canadian homebuyers should expect mortgage rates to get more expensive in the coming year, though many market commentators have expressed doubts that Yellen will move that fast. 


2. Canadian economy

If Canadians feel real estate prices are going to stay strong, a small rise in interest rates won't necessarily put them off buying a family home. But rising rates plus a weakening Canadian economy could conspire to reduce the total number of domestic buyers and put downward pressure on the market.


Predictions for the Canadian economy have been all over the map as analysts balance a resurgence in oil and gas, rising manufacturing and a weaker loonie against fears for trade in a Donald Trump-dominated North America. Last week, a British think-tank, the Centre for Economics and Business Research, predicted Canadian growth would stall at two per cent as the economy slips from 10th place to 12th, behind Indonesia and South Korea.


3. Foreign buyers

The Canadian Press news agency declared the "foreign investor" Canada's business newsmaker of the year. And while many have scoffed at the impact of foreign buyers on the domestic real estate market, there is little question that a sudden decline of outside buyers, especially from China, could have a slowing effect on Canadian house prices.


The importance of the investment from China is its absolute size. Not only the wealthy, but millions of middle-class investors are looking for places to stash money as the Chinese currency falls. So far the Chinese government has failed to stop the flood of money out of the country, but that could change. 

4. Construction 

It used to be said that land prices could never fall because "they ain't makin' any more of it." Now that a major part of the real estate market is not just suburban building lots but highrise condos, that is no longer strictly true.


So far, there has been no shortage of real estate developments in Canada's priciest cities. Nor has there been any shortage of buyers to snap up newly constructed flats. The government's Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and real estate analysts will be watching carefully to see whether construction and potential buyers stay in balance.


5. Government regulation

A wild card in the housing market is how governments react to changes in real estate prices. No matter how strong their stated commitment to market forces, as we've seen at both the federal and provincial levels, governments are willing to meddle when they get blamed for prices that are unaffordable. 


The trouble is a sudden change in rules, such as the tax on foreign buyers in Vancouver, can cause equally sudden distortions in the expected path of house prices. If prices were to begin to fall, inevitably governments could become worried about the impact on the wider economy, in which real estate has become a reliable driver of jobs and growth. 


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Who is eligible for the new down payment loan? And is this offering a good idea?
Recently the BC Government announced they are now offering a loan for a portion of the down payment to help people in BC buy a property. Some economists think it's a good idea, some don't. In fact some think it's just another way the current Liberal government is trying to stay in power; we do have an election coming up this spring.
I personally think this loan could work well for some buyers/borrowers but not all. 
There are, of course, many details of what the offer is and who exactly is eligible. See the full press release from the Government of BC website for all the details below:
Note: a bit of important info that's not included in the release below is that you have to be a citizen of Canada or a permanent resident for at least 5 years and also be a resident of BC for at least 1 year.

From middle-class families to young professionals, first-time home buyers are looking to invest in a secure and stable future.


For many British Columbians dreaming of buying their first home, the hardest step is saving for a downpayment. That is why the Province is partnering with British Columbians to help make that dream come true, through the B.C. Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME Partnership program. 


Through the B.C. HOME Partnership program, the Province is helping first-time home buyers by contributing to the amount they have already saved for a downpayment with a loan that is interest-free and payment-free for the first five years.


Here is how it works:

- The B.C. HOME Partnership program will meet the buyer’s contribution up to 5% of the home’s purchase price, to a maximum purchase price of $750,000.

- After five years, buyers can either repay their loan or enter into monthly payments at current interest rates.

- Loans through the program become due after 25 years – the same length as most mortgages.


For more information on this program and how B.C. is working to keep housing affordable for you at

The B.C. HOME Partnership program will start accepting applications Jan. 16, 2017. To apply visit BC Housing.


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Tony Marchigiano

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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What a year 2016 has been, from the many mortgage rule changes in Canada that created great confusion and questions to the most interesting US elections and now rising interest rates in the US.

The US Federal reserve recently pushed interest rates up by just .25% and they project three additional increases in 2017. This could set a trend for rising interest rates in Canada. However, the growth in the US economy has outpaced that of Canada which might somewhat delay the Bank of Canada from raising its benchmark rate right away but interest rates rising in the US will undoubtable spill over into Canada over time. In fact, some Canadian banks have already increased their five-year fixed rate mortgages.

Are rising mortgage rates a trend? Many think they are. Higher interest rates affect the amount of mortgage homebuyers can qualify for and therefore have an impact on home prices. We could inevitably see lenders increase rates for other loans such as car loans and lines of credit as well.

If you know someone whose mortgage is renewing in the next while or is looking to purchase a first or second home, introduce me so I could provide options that could protect them from rising rates.


2016 is coming to an end and most of us have family and friends not mortgages on our minds. I want to wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous 2017.

Tony Marchigiano

Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC

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If you've been hauling out the same bedraggled tinsel garlands and hand-painted Santa Claus figurines since the early '80s, it might be time to rethink your approach.


Even those who've managed to delay decorating until this week can have a Pinterest-worthy home for the holidays — provided they consult these tips from Saint John-based pro interior designer Kim Jacobsen.


Best of all? They're simple and cheap — or, in some cases, free.

1. Au naturel

The great thing about living in a province that's still 85 per cent forest is the ease with which aspiring interior decorators can forage for natural Christmas greenery.


The best boughs are cedar, fire and hemlock. Spruce — identifiable by its needles attached individually to the branches, as opposed to in bunches — is something you "probably don't want in your house," Jacobsen said, since the cut boughs tend to have an odour.


Boughs have a life of 10 days to two weeks indoors — so time your gathering appropriately, or keep their ends submerged in in water, à la cut flowers, in the garage.  


You can also scrap the greenery in favour of "a nice birch tree to [desired] height and then hang a few of your favourite ornaments on it," said Jacobsen, who suggests standing the sapling in a garden-centre-issue 10-gallon pot stabilized with sand, rocks or craft store spray-foam.


Another free, made-in-New-Brunswick decor option? Bright-red mountain ash berries, which grow wild throughout the province and are "great for outdoor decorating," she said.


2. Heavy metal

It seems Silver and Gold is a classic Christmas track for a reason. This season, Jacobsen said, try a mix of metallic tones, including (but not limited to) silver, gold, copper and platinum.


"You think you can't mix metals — but if it's done properly, you don't have to choose," said Jacobsen, who suggests spray-painting or repurposing old Christmas bulbs throughout the house.


Many of her clients are also asking for black-and-white and other non-traditional colour schemes.

"The traditional red is not such a popular thing," Jacobsen said.


3. Seasonal chic

Good news for last-minute decorators: with a little bit of planning, it won't be necessary to rush out and take down the decorations while nursing a Boxing Day Bailey's hangover/emerging from the annual turkey coma.


Wintry, as opposed to Christmas-y, decorations like greenery or a tasteful glass vase filled with white LED lights can stay part of your decor well into February. "Use what you've already got," she suggests.


To make the transition into 2017, "just take the Christmas bulbs down," Jacobsen said, "and keep the rest of the decorations up."

4. Lit up

Lighting is probably the most dramatic way to take a space from flat to festive. Fortunately for those of us still sorting out the tangled knots of Christmases past, "you don't need to have an extension cord taped across the floor anymore," Jacobsen said.


Not all bulbs, however, are created equal. LED lights are energy-efficient and often come equipped with battery packs that "allow you to escape ugly cords altogether," she said.


Those who have Clark Griswold-like luck with Christmas lights, take note: putting a string of LEDS in chic vases interspersed with Christmas bulbs, with a bit of greenery around the base, can be just as festive as immaculate lines that take hours to hang.

5. Tree-free

Folks are increasingly eschewing a tree altogether, opting instead for whimsical, sculptural takes on the traditional tannenbaum that are a) hypoallergenic and b) won't shed needles all over the carpet.


Jacobsen points to this futuristic anti-tree created by fellow designer Geof Ramsay, created by suspending monochromatic bulbs from clear fishing line in a Christmas tree outline.


"People are making them out of driftwood or books stacked in a tree formation with lights around it," she said. "It could even just be a decal on a wall."


Non-trees can be "more work upfront," she said, "but that can be a fun challenge, to spend the day making it — and also making great memories together."


6. Less is more

Here's one that folks who have accumulated a lot of Christmas decorations over the years can forget.

"If you have one really nice piece, don't put garlands all over it," Jacobsen said.


A home dripping with decorations might have the heartwarming kitsch factor, but "your eye doesn't know where to look," said Jacobsen, "and that can detract from that one, beautiful piece. So don't overdo it."


If you want to decorate every room in the house, she suggested "picking one thing to focus on in each room, instead of saturating every wall."


The bottom line? Don't feel trammelled by tradition. Christmas decor "can now go in whatever direction you want," Jacobsen said. "Whatever your beliefs, or your tastes are, it's however you want your Christmas to be."


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VICTORIA — First-time homebuyers struggling to cobble together a down payment for a home could soon get an interest-free loan from the B.C. government, a move some experts say undermines Ottawa’s attempts to curtail risky mortgages to overstretched buyers.


Premier Christy Clark announced Thursday that a new provincially backed loan program would match the amount a first-time buyer has saved for a down payment — up to $37,500, or five per cent of the home’s purchase price.


Clark painted the move as an attempt to help middle-class British Columbians overcome the hurdle of saving for expensive down payments. Not everyone has a parent they can borrow money from to get into the housing market, and some need government’s help, she said.


But down-payment requirements, set by Ottawa to curb risky lending, exist to weed out buyers who might overextend themselves on properties they can’t afford if interest rates increase. 


“I hate it. To be very clear, I think it’s really bad economics,” said Tom Davidoff of the University of B.C.’s Sauder School of Business. 


“Big picture, it’s a step in the wrong direction. We have too much demand chasing too little supply.”


Davidoff said the move could be an attempt by government to prop up a real estate market that is at risk of a sharp decline in 2017.


The new loan program was greeted with praise by developers, the real estate industry, mortgage brokers and some housing analysts who argued it will help those who would already qualify for mortgages speed their entry into the market.

“What we know is for many first-time homebuyers, qualifying for a mortgage is hard, but getting past that down payment and scraping together the $25,000 or $50,000 you might need to be able to get into your first home is just impossible,” said Clark.


“So we want to be there to help first-time homebuyers get over that hump.”


The new loans — called the B.C. Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership program — would be granted to Canadian citizens or permanent residents who have never previously owned a property and only apply to homes worth less than $750,000. A buyer must be able to pre-qualify for a mortgage and have a gross household income of less than $150,000. Applications open Jan. 16, and the program ends March 31, 2020.


The government would put a second mortgage on a property to reflect the amount it loaned, but not require any interest payments or payments on the principal for the first five years. After that, the 20-year repayment plan would be set at the prime lending rate plus 0.5 per cent, leaving the homeowner to pay back both the original mortgage and the down-payment loan at the same time.


The loans are available for condos, townhouses or detached homes. On a property worth $600,000, the government loan could help a buyer meet or exceed the federally-set minimum down payment of $35,000. In one example, provided by B.C. Housing, a person who saved $30,000 could apply to get an additional $30,000 from the province, giving the buyer a $60,000 down payment.


“The fact is it does help first-time homebuyers and relieves the pressure on the bank of mom and dad,” said Neil Moody, CEO of the Canadian Home Builders Association of B.C.


“It keeps the housing continuum moving along. We need these first-time homebuyers. Anything that can be done to help them get into the market at that stage is a positive thing.”


Jill Oudil, president-elect of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, said the program will help first-time buyers overcome a “key obstacle” to home ownership.


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A recent article in the Globe & Mail debates the discussions around current housing affordability.
While prices seem out of reach there is a reason for this and it all comes down to the numbers. 
It does take longer to save for a down payment, with prices where they are, but because of rates being so low it's keeping monthly payments doable but more interesting, for the first time, and what is pointed out in this article, is the fact that there's the same or more being paid down on the balance owing in the first five years as there is interest.
That's never happened before!
See the full article below for a more detailed explanation of these observations:

It is widely accepted that in Canada the affordability of home ownership has deteriorated sharply in recent times. That is just partly true.


There are two ways that we should look at affordability: first, how much of a down payment is required, and second, how much does it cost to live in an owner-occupied home?


In the first sense, affordability has worsened. During the past 15 years, housing prices in Canada have increased twice as much as incomes. In general, therefore, it takes about twice as long to save a down payment as it did 15 years ago.


In the second sense, however, houses are still affordable across the country. Many readers will disagree with this statement. After all, they have been told repeatedly that mortgage costs are outpacing incomes.


But, there are two problems with the standard analysis of affordability.


The first problem is the analysts are using the wrong interest rate. They rely on the “posted rates” that are published by the Bank of Canada. These posted mortgage interest rates are set by lenders for administrative purposes. Virtually no mortgages are actually contracted at the posted rates.


The rates that are available in the market are much lower. Variable-rate mortgages are available at less than 2.5 per cent. For fixed-rate mortgages, with five-year terms, lenders are advertising rates well below 3 per cent. Interest rates are even lower for terms shorter than five years.


The posted rate that is used in the standard analysis is currently 4.64 per cent. The result is obvious: The costs of home ownership are being vastly overestimated and, therefore, actual affordability is much better than is being suggested.


Using the posted rate also gives a distorted picture of changes over time: For 2016, affordability is almost the worst ever. (Conditions were worse only during a period of overheating in 1989 and 1990.) For 2016, affordability is 22 per cent worse than the average since 1982.


But, if we use the actual interest rates that can be found in the market, the level of affordability was close to average during 2009 to 2015 and only got out of line this year. For 2016, the cost burden is 10 per cent above average.


Inconvenient? Yes. Catastrophic? No.


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Tony Marchigiano
Mortgage Broker
310-328 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
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