1 in 5 Saskatchewan residents struggling to keep up with mortgage payments: Expert
Current homeowners in the province have been struggling to keep up with mortgage payments as interest rates rise, according to a mortgage expert.
“The Equifax numbers nationally were around 11 per cent. More people right now are struggling with payments. Anecdotally, the amount of people that I'm dealing with right now, it sits at around one in every five people are trying to figure out how do they make payments for next month,” The Mortgage Group’s Conrad Neufeld told CTV News.
Housing sales in Saskatoon have dropped nearly 20 per cent and inventory levels have fallen below a 10-year average, according to the Saskatchewan Realtors Association.
It’s something that is causing trouble for home buyers and sellers alike, Neufeld said.
“Homebuyers, especially locally, are kind of in a bit of a bind in the sense that we're dealing with extraordinarily low inventory. So I have a ton of home buyers right now actively looking for a home but cannot for the life of them find one,” Neufeld said.
“Even sellers that are reaching out to us or potentially looking to refinance I'm like, ‘Why don't you just sell?’ and they'd say, ‘Well, where would we go?’ Right? Because getting inventory or finding houses is very difficult right now.”
He said most fixed-rate mortgages for new buyers were at 5.25 per cent while those looking to secure a variable mortgage can expect 6.50 per cent.
“If you're looking for longer terms, like five years, you're looking at somewhere under five per cent for high ratio mortgages.”
Those considering refinancing will likely face a higher rate, Neufeld said.
“As long as you're keeping the original mortgage amount, then you'll qualify for those as well. If you're looking to refinance, which means changing the existing terms either stretching out the amortization to make the payments more affordable or to change the dollar amount to add in money to compensate for things like lines of credit due to loans fees as that might be getting out of hand, then you're going to see a larger rate somewhere in the five and a half percent range.”
While the benchmark price increased to $372,400 in February, which is about three per cent higher than last year, Neufeld said those looking to buy should continue to hope for better days soon.
“There is some reason to believe that more inventory will hit the market sometime in spring and summer,” he said.
“It never hurts to start looking now and at least start benchmarking what you can afford compared to what's out there now, so that in the future when potentially another deal comes out or another house goes out on the market you have something to compare that to so you're like, ‘Oh, I know,’ you recognize what a good deal is. If you start looking now at least you're prepared.”
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