Canadian Mortgage Rates to Keep Rising?

Nov 25 2014

Canada has been one of the true stars of international economics over the last decade. While other countries slipped and fell in terms of GDP and employment, they have continued to remain stable.

So when the mortgage rates here, which can be influenced by what is happening next door in the United States, remained low after an especially torrid year in real estate, the question that was asked by many was ‘when the rates start to rise again, will they continue to rise over the long term’?

According to Richard Crenian’s post about Foreign Interest in Canadian Real Estate, the long term trends are favorable for foreign investment to continue, keeping the upward pressure on interest rates over time. Of course, as founder and president of ReDev Properties Ltd, Richard Crenian is well-respected within Canada.

Housing Starts Up

One of the primary measures of how the real estate market is doing is the number of housing starts that are occurring regionally and across Canada. Last year, the housing start numbers increased again, with a great deal of the investment interest coming from abroad. The nice thing for Canadians is that the housing starts are distributed fairly evenly among the provinces, with a couple of areas of larger growth moving from region to region over time. Additionally, the forecasts continue to get better. The number of housing starts expected in 2015 across Canada rose another 5,000 units from August to September of this year.

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Defaults Down

Conversely, the number of mortgage defaults has declined further, continuing a trend of static or declining numbers for a number of years.

Bond Market Returns Stay Down

Another factor that is closely watched by those tracking Canadian mortgage rates is how stable the global and regional bond market rates are. The interest is there because when the situation is in flux globally, as it is today, all major lenders are impacted because the bond market is one source of borrowing for financial institutions.

It may take at least another year for the bond market to return to historical norms when it comes to providing a yield for investors. In the interim, the cost of providing money will remain low enough that keeping the interest rate low on the loans that banks make will continue to be attractive.

What is the Impact of Continued Low Rates?

Low interest rates normally allow young couples and other potential home buyers to:

  • qualify for more home than they would otherwise because the payments will be lower when interest rates are lower.
  • actually qualify if they were not eligible before because their fixed payment will be considered to be within their ability to pay by banks and other financial institutions.

In addition to providing a larger pool of qualified potential homeowners, low interest rates make it easier for builders to speculate on homes by borrowing, building and then selling. Typically speaking, in addition to there being a sweet spot in the market for builders to finance new housing developments, there is also a point in the mortgage interest rate market where if the financial environment is in question, the number of builders that are speculating on homes can become a factor in how strong a rate correction is down the road.

For those who are involved with business, commercial rates often mirror residential lending rates to a degree. Continued low residential mortgage rates can therefore mean that there is more commercial lending opportunity going on for business expansion, creating in turn more employment opportunity and therefore more upward consumer pressure on the housing start numbers.

The environment in government can also impact the direction of mortgage interest rates. If regional governments such as the city of Edmonton continue to operate in the black because their local economy is doing well, mortgage rates will be impacted because employment stability is higher under those conditions.

Overall, the future continues to look rosy for Canada. Its ability to weather one of the worst financial storms of the last 100 years without losing too much momentum is a classic example of a well-managed economy that is relying on sound economic principles to move forward and attract investors.

Bank of Canada Holds 1% Interest Rate Steady

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How long does it take to get social security disability?

Sep 16 2014

The question how long does it take to get social security disability or SSI benefits is difficult to answer for a number of reasons. Social Security Disability and SSI cases can be decided within a month or take years before benefits are granted. Therefore, trying to predict exactly how long the process takes is ambiguous at best. For example, the Department of Social Services has deadlines for claimants when making an appeal. This is not so with SSD. However, the “average” waiting period for a first disability claim is approximately three to four months. A reassessment, the first stage of an appeal, takes just about as long even though a case may be determined sooner rather than later.

Appealing to an administrative law judge normally takes a longer time because the hearing must be arranged. This normally takes half a year or longer, and in some regions of the country it can take as long as 18 months. Nevertheless, in the end it depends on the amount of cases pending at the hearing office, which differs depending on the region.

In fact, in some sections of the U.S., initial Social Security applications and appeals are taking longer. This may be due to a significant increase in disability claims, which may be a boomerang effect from the change in the economy and the fact that the population is aging. There’s no doubt that it can be tough for a person not knowing when they will receive an answer, especially if they are unemployed and facing financial difficulties while waiting for their disability case to be determined.

Expedited Claims

Two types of claims are accepted for expedited processing:

  1. Compassionate Allowance: If a person is experiencing one of a short list of illnesses, diseases, or injuries, and no recovery is anticipated, because of the condition itself or because the condition is in the advanced stages, exclusive evidence policies apply. These particular conditions are inline with the disability prerequisites under the Listing of Impairments; therefore, these claims are expedited and demand little verifying data for acceptance. Some of the conditions included under the Compassionate Allowance include paralyzing spinal cord injuries and untreatable cancers.
  2. The second type of claim that qualifies for expedited processing is when the applicant is possibly disabled and evidence to support their claim is immediately available. These claims are quickly advanced for a Quick Disability Decision, which can take less than 30 days.

On the other hand, if a person has an extremely severe disability with a straightforward diagnosis, they may be able to get their claim fast-tracked through one of Social Security’s other quickened disability benefits programs besides the Compassionate Allowance and Quick Disability program. These programs include:

  1. Terminal Illness Program or TERI: This program is available for individuals with terminal illnesses or those living in a hospice.
  2. Presumptive Disability Program: This program is for SSI only, and gives claimants with specific conditions a monthly SSI benefit prior to their disability claim being accepted or rejected.

How long does it take to get Social Security Disability Decision during a Delay?

At times, Social Security postpones making a decision on a claim nearly a year after the disability date. This takes place if the claimant has a severe disability initially, such as a stroke, but medical evidence proves that they may recover before being disabled for twelve months. In this type of situation, the Social Security office will contact the claimant with their decision to delay their claim until nearer the end of twelve months, when newer medical data can be assessed and a more concise decision can be made.

Speeding up a Claim

It is crucial to provide complete and detailed information when making a claim. A Social Security disability claimant should provide all medical treatment sources on their disability application. This includes doctors’ names that provided treatment and the address and dates of treatment. This information will create a fast-track for the claims examiner to follow.

Another way to quicken the Social Security procedure is whenever possible; the claimant should gather their medical records themselves and present them with their application. This may be difficult at times; however, for those who can, submitting a disability application with their medical records will take months off of their waiting time.

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