A couple of years or so ago, mortgage professionals – and potential homebuyers – were under the impression that interest rates couldn’t possibly go any lower.
Fast forward to the present, with rates having come down further, and they’re still saying that, says Slegg Mortgage/Dominion Lending Centres broker Janette Roch.
“Two years ago it was a point higher and people were still buying,” she says.
“At the end of the day, we all want to pay the least amount of interest, but we all rushed to the banks when it was 2.99 per cent.”
The continued attractive rates, combined with affordable prices on the West Shore, are helping many new buyers get into the housing market, Roch says. She adds that another group of potential buyers are looking in this direction.
“I’m seeing a lot of investors looking to the West Shore for a secondary property or a rental property,” she says. “Again, because of affordability and the closeness to Victoria, I think there’s a real desire for those investors to look at these properties.”
While there are a number of bargain-priced condominiums on the market in this area these days (as reported in last week’s Homefinder), the numbers are dwindling, Roch says, meaning those properties could well jump up in price before long, given the principles of supply and demand.
A good price and a great interest rate – for those people who need to finance – are a combination of factors that always tend to attract investors.
While the tightening up of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation rules on long-term amortization and down payments put a crimp into things for first-time buyers for a while, Roch says, clients she works with are increasingly looking for homes with suites on the West Shore, as a way to create a revenue flow.
For some buyers, however, even the relative affordability out here is still too dear when it comes to establishing payments they can manage. That’s why there are still people buying in Mill Bay and Duncan, she says.
“They’re willing to do the commute; more and more people are willing to do that (to get into the market),” Roch says. “You may only have five per cent down now, but that will turn into some great equity in the future. It’s just a starting point.”
As people gain equity and can afford more, or a more convenient location, many move further south, she says.
At the risk of sounding like she’s making a “sales pitch,” Roch says people looking at their first home ownership situation may be surprised at what they can actually afford, if not now then in a relatively short period of time.
“There’s so many first-time home buyers out there who don’t realize their (ability to buy). We can put them on the path and get them to where they need to be in a few months.”
For those first-time buyers who need financing – which is most – the conversations she has with potential clients are about more than just rates and payments. The goal is to educate people about how the various factors come together.
“It’s a whole package when they come to us … we can give options. It’s not just about getting pre-approved for the best rate, it’s about getting pre-approved for the best situation that meets your needs,” she says.
Q: WHO’S BUYING HOMES IN CANADA THESE DAYS?
A report commissioned for the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals, A Profile of Home Buyers in Canada, was released this past June.
It stated that of the roughly 620,000 households purchasing a residential property in an average year, approximately 45 per cent are first-time buyers. And most of those buyers are between age 25 and 34.
The next largest group, at about 33 per cent, is made up of buyers purchasing their third home or more – not surprisingly concentrated in the 45 to 64 age range – while roughly 20 per cent of households were buying for a second time.
The report said single detached homes accounted for the largest share of the purchased, about 57 per cent. Semi-detached homes (we call them duplexes) and row homes (townhomes in B.C.) combined for about 19 per cent, the same amount as condominiums.
While incomes ranged widely among home buyers, it’s interesting to note that those earning $40,000 or less accounted for about six per cent of the sales.
It’s a sign that people considered to be in the lower range of the middle class income brackets can still afford to buy.
GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » MONTH TO DATE, JULY 27/15 COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD
» 639 / 681 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES / TOTAL, JULY 2014
» 1,022 / 1,195 — NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL, JULY 2014
» 3,959 / 4,570 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / TOTAL, JULY 2014