Posts Tagged ‘CMHC’

10 ways to reduce your tax bill

January 31st, 2013 Comments off

10 ways to reduce your tax bill


The days are starting to get longer, and you can feel that spring is right around the corner. With spring, of course, comes tax-filing season, so as “filing taxes” joins “spring cleaning” on your to-do list, here are 10 ways to save you money—and even land you that refund you’ve been hoping for.

• Tax-free savings account: Using a TFSA is a smart way to save on tax. Generally, the interest, dividends, and capital gains earned on investments in a TFSA are not taxed—not when they are held in the account or when they are withdrawn.

• Registered retirement savings plan:
Pay less tax and save for your retirement at the same time. Any income that you earn in your RRSP is usually free from tax as long as the funds stay in the plan.

• Charitable donations:
Donations of cash, goods, land, or listed securities made to a registered charity or other qualified donee may be eligible for a tax credit.

• Parents:
All those mornings spent at the hockey rink and afternoons spent at the ballet studio can mean savings—with the children’s fitness and arts tax credits. Child care is also deductible, so gather up your receipts.

• Family caregivers
: If you have a dependant with a physical or mental impairment, you could be eligible for an additional $2,000 this year with the new family caregiver amount.

• Student:
Were you a student in 2012? You may be able to claim tuition, textbook, and education amounts, as well as moving expenses if applicable. And if you’ve recently graduated, you can claim the interest you paid on your student loan.

• Public transit amount:
If you are a public transit rider, you may be able to save by claiming the cost of your transit passes. You can get up to 15% of the amount claimed.

• Seniors:
If you receive income from a pension, you can split up to 50% of eligible pension income with your spouse or common-law partner to reduce the taxes that you pay. You may also be eligible to claim the age amount, medical expenses, and the disability amount.

• Home buyers:
You may be able to claim up to $5,000 if you bought your first home in 2012.

• Hiring an apprentice:
Did your business employ an apprentice? An employer who paid a salary to an employee registered in a prescribed trade in the first two years of his or her apprenticeship contract qualifies for a non-refundable tax credit.

Make filing your taxes this spring even easier by doing it online. It’s fast, secure and you may be able to use cost-free filing software. The Canada Revenue Agency offers step-by-step instructions at

Source: News Canada

Connect the Housing Bubble Dots: There could be Trouble on CMHC’s horizon

February 2nd, 2012 Comments off

Ted Rechtshaffen | Columnist profile | E-mail

Globe and Mail Update

Published Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 6:00AM EST

A few months ago I heard leading Canadian investor Eric Sprott speak, and he said a very basic thing that struck a chord. He said that you should not be afraid to connect the dots. The dots are usually in front of you, but people don’t often look beyond the single dot.

Today I am going to show six dots that we can all see. When we connect them, the conclusion is that the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) has a realistic chance of putting the Canadian taxpayer at risk – unless meaningful changes are made.

The key piece of background is that right now, a young couple can put down $20,000 to buy a $400,000 house, or five per cent of the purchase price. Their mortgage will be insured by CMHC (the Canadian government, also known as you and I) in exchange for a fee paid by the young couple.

If that $400,000 house drops in value by 20 per cent, for example, which has happened before in Canada, it will be worth $320,000. But the couple will owe $380,000. Then the odds of them walking away from their house or defaulting on their mortgage become meaningful. Given that this young couple might be in the same position as 50,000 other young couples (about 3 per cent of the Canadian population) at roughly the same time, the odds of a surge in mortgage defaults is very real in Canada.

Here are the dots or facts that we can all see:

Dot #1: “The greatest risk to the domestic economy is household debt,” Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said in an interview with the CBC last week, again sounding the alarm bell on excess borrowing.

Dot #2: The ratio of credit market debt to personal disposable income rose to a record high of 150.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2011, Statistics Canada said last week, the third-straight quarter the figure has gone up.

Dot #3: Last week, Bank of Montreal offered a five-year mortgage rate of 2.99 per cent. The lowest rate offered in history. Yes, this rate is available to those interested in putting down 5 per cent.

Dot #4: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two U.S. organizations started in 1968 as a government sponsored enterprise (although they became privately owned and operated by shareholders) – have a mandate to help Americans to become homeowners by increasing liquidity for housing lending, and where appropriate, taking on risk. These two organizations were bailed out by the U.S. government in 2008 after the housing market deflated and it is estimated that their bailout will eventually cost taxpayers as much as $124-billion (U.S.) through 2014. When the housing bubble burst in the U.S., the value of many houses fell by 50 per cent.

Dot #5: In November, the Economist magazine said that Canada is among nine countries in the world where house prices are overvalued by 25 per cent or more. It went on to say that Canada is one of only three countries where “housing looks more overvalued than it was in America at the peak of its bubble.”

Dot #6: CMHC is Canada’s national housing agency. Established as a government-owned corporation in 1946 to address Canada’s post-war housing shortage, the agency has grown into a major national institution. CMHC backed loans of $541-billion (Canadian) as of Sept. 30, 2011. At that time, the total equity of CMHC was $11.5-billion. This is 2.1 per cent in equity against its overall loan exposure. To put the $541-billion in perspective: If we go back to those imaginary 50,000 couples that bought a $400,000 house and put down $20,000, that represents $19-billion of mortgages.

Back in 2007, Fannie Mae backed up $2.7-trillion (U.S.) of mortgage-backed securities with $40-billion of capital, or 1.5-per-cent equity against its overall exposure. At that time Fannie Mae stock was trading at $50 a share. Today it is 19 cents.

Just because these dots or facts are out there doesn’t mean that housing prices in Canada will fall 25 per cent or that CMHC will face any major financial problems in the years ahead. However, by connecting the dots, we can see a very plausible scenario that already unfolded with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $124-billion. If we had a similar scenario – and CMHC is now roughly one-tenth the size of the combined Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – it is plausible that in a major real estate downturn, Canadian taxpayers would be on the hook for several billion dollars.

The biggest risk is likely with mortgage holders who only put 5 per cent to 10 per cent of equity down when buying a property. The reason I say this is that if house prices drop by over 10 per cent, everyone in this group will have negative equity in their homes. According to CMHC, 9 per cent of their loan book (or $49-billion) is connected to mortgages with under 10-per-cent equity based on current home prices. Remember all of CMHCs equity value is $11.5-billion (Canadian). Another 18 per cent of their loans are connected to mortgages with between 10-per-cent and 20-per-cent equity based on current home prices. This is another $108-billion of loans.

What happens if Canadian houses hit their ‘proper’ value, according to the Economist magazine, and decline by 25 per cent of their value? Every one of the $157-billion of mortgages noted above will be guaranteed by the Canadian taxpayer, and every one of those mortgages will be on homes with negative equity value.

When we connect the dots and look at the real risk, the time has come for the federal government to do the prudent thing and raise the minimum equity payment from 5 per cent to 10 per cent, and at least minimize the hit from the riskiest segment of mortgages insured by CMHC.

We can’t say we didn’t know, when the dots were right in front of us.

Housing Starts Increase in August

September 28th, 2009 No comments

According to the latest article from CMHC, housing starts have picked up the pace and are re-growing.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts increased to 150,400 units in August from 134,200 units in July, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

“Housing starts are trending higher, reflecting improvements in both the single and multiple segments,” said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC’s Market Analysis Centre. “The improvement in housing starts is consistent with our expectation of a stronger second half for 2009.”

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 14.0 percent to in August. Urban multiple starts increased by 23.8 percent, while urban single starts moved up 2.5 percent units in August.

August’s seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 13.8 per cent in Ontario.

As Canada’s national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 60 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable homes. CMHC also provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making vital decisions.

Categories: Mortgages Tags: ,

Trouble Making Your Mortgage Payments?

September 1st, 2009 No comments

For most Canadians, your home is your most important investment. But owning a home also comes with a great deal of responsibility. When unforeseen circumstances impact your ability to meet your mortgage payments, it’s important to take quick action and contact your lender. With early intervention, your lender can help you fund a solution to your financial difficulties.

For mortgages insured by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), CMHC provides lenders with the tools and the flexibility they need to achieve a solution to your unique financial situation. Depending on your circumstances, this might include:

  • Converting variable rates into fixed to avoid sudden rate increases
  • Temporary short-term payment deferral.
  • Extending your repayment period to lower your monthly payments
  • Adding any missed payments to your outstanding balance
  • Arranging special payments unique to your particular financial situation

CMHC is also willing to consider other alternatives proposed by the mortgage professional to resolve or avoid mortgage payment default. In every case, the options available will depend upon your individual financial circumstances.

For more information visit: CMHC or contact me on 1.866.824.8057, and we can help guide you in the right direction.

Source: Canada Mortgage and Housing Company/Charmaine Idzerda, Verico Designer Mortgages Inc.