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Oppono’s Service Commitment

With so many options available today, it can be difficult to know where to turn and from whom to seek good advice. Our service commitment was designed to make this decision easier for people looking to get approved for a mortgage or home equity line of credit.

Oppono offers borrowers many advantages, including experience, expertise and the ability to get people approved to buy their dream home.

Quick Turnaround

Oppono responds to inquiries and applications within three hours, letting people know if partnering with us makes sense. Our team also contacts you directly about your request for a mortgage to help answer any questions. We also aim to address any issues that may have arisen during your application process.

Our clients depend on us for this reason, as well as trust in our advice and assistance.

Dedicated Team

Since we strive to contact our customers and prospects within a short window of time, we are committed to hiring dedicated professionals who go beyond the typical workday. We aim to help you move forward with your mortgage application as efficiently as possible.

Our team is made up of business development managers who offer sound, helpful advice. Further, we have skilled underwriters who are reachable when you have further questions.

Follow-up

We pride ourselves on following up with customers and prospects like you as part of our excellent service and commitment. Oppono is a unique financial lender and mortgage provider in this way, because we care about delivering quality across the board. You can feel confident and at ease that you are in good hands—because we truly care about maintaining the solid reputation we have earned and continue to build.

Availability

Our team works hard to ensure you are always satisfied and content. We help you overcome any issues or challenges you might be experiencing to make the mortgage application and loan process smoother and simpler. As a result, we look forward to hearing any and all feedback you may have for us so we can continue to improve all the time.

Feel free to reach out and divulge any positive experiences or suggestions, so we can respond accordingly.

 

 

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An Update on Quayside

The proposed development known as Quayside—located near the Queen’s Quay in eastern downtown Toronto—will likely feature 12 buildings made up of residential, retail and commercial units.

Part of the Google family, Sidewalk Labs is behind the future community that intends to revolutionize urban living through intelligent technology. Certainly, this new development will put pressure on other builders to respond to changing demands the next generation of homeowners and professionals.

Growth for Jobs and Opportunities

Though approximately five years out, the plans are to utilize light rail transit bridges and walking trails. It is also expected to create 9,000 construction jobs while the community is being built, and approximately 4,000 more jobs throughout the area because of it. The company also wants much of its residential space, fit for roughly 5,000 people, to be more affordable than the current Toronto real estate market.

Environmental Boosts

There is a large commercial aspect to Quayside. Sidewalk Labs wants to appeal to both new and established businesses who can offer residents a variety of services while fitting into the ideology of the development.

The company wants to focus on the positive environmental implications of having solar panels on the roofs and geothermal wells to reduce carbon emissions up to 85 percent. It strives to reduce energy by 20 percent using an artificial intelligence building management system.

Mysterious Funding

Sidewalk Labs is currently looking for partners to move the project along; however, it has been somewhat secretive about how much more funding it requires to come to fruition.

While Sidewalk Labs and Toronto could co-fund the project, it would be a massive investment and every dollar would need to be accounted for and Sidewalk labs would need to make all expenditures public. That is the crux of leveraging tax dollars.

If Sidewalk labs decides to solely fund the development, they would require construction and management partners, neither of which would be cheap.

Unknown Completion Date

These new or confirmed details aside, the project has many unknowns factors, such as when construction will begin, who will help sell the units, and what Torontonians can expect the finished product to look like. Most developers underestimate timeframes, too, so it is unclear when this exciting venture will realistically be ready. Interested parties can anticipate something new and different, though.

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Is your Mortgage up for Renewal in 2019?

Making your monthly mortgage payments can be stressful enough, but when it comes time to renew your mortgage, choosing between all the different options may just put you over the edge.

But since home ownership comes with its own set of complications and responsibilities, here are some factors to consider when you renew your mortgage that will help simplify the process.

Review the Current Market

When it comes time to renew your mortgage, it is important to ensure you review the current market. Most likely, there have been quite a few changes since you decided on the type of and the timeframe for your mortgage.

Choosing between variable and fixed rates is never foolproof, but seeking the advice of a professional and conducting your own research can improve your understanding.

Weigh your Options

By choosing a fixed rate, you have the security of knowing how much you will owe for the length of the mortgage. The current market is considerably friendly for borrowers, which makes it even more confusing to know which option to pursue. However, if the rates in the market decrease, you will have to face the fact that you are paying more than necessary.

With a variable mortgage, you take a gamble in hopes that the current rate will either remain the same (if it is already low) or dip, thus benefiting you over the next few years. If it does, you obviously reap the rewards. If the interest rate goes up, you will end up paying more than if you had chosen the fixed rate.

As you decide whether to renew or not, you need to weigh not only your options but your appetite for risk.

Explore Non-traditional Lenders

Beware of big banks that may just try to sell you what is more profitable for them. A non-traditional lender like Oppono can offer expert advice without the hidden fees. You will also receive more personalized customer service. Additionally, you can receive the advice of a professional with specialized expertise who studies the rates and can better predict what the market is going to do.

Contact us today!

 

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Another Benchmark Rate Hike by The Bank of Canada

In October, the Bank of Canada raised the benchmark interest rate by 1.75%. That’s the fifth time that the rate has been increased a quarter point in a few months.  It has reached the highest it has been in a decade, which is spelling some trouble for Canadian borrowers.

To understand what this means for the housing market, you need to understand what a benchmark rate is, how it is determined and what homeowners should expect going forward.

What is a Benchmark Rate?

The benchmark rate determines the minimum that the big banks in Canada charge each other for short-term loans. Even though it is a rate that dictates the relationship between financial institutions, it does trickle down to customers. Most banks use the benchmark rate to calculate the variable mortgage rate and the rate for savings accounts.

The Recent History of the Benchmark Rate

Borrowers had a few years to enjoy a stable rate as the Bank of Canada kept the benchmark at record lows to spur the economy after the market downturn in 2008.  Now that the economy is healthier, the rate naturally must increase. Borrowers will continue to experience the impact but overall the rate is at a relatively safe level considering the Bank of Canada’s recent activity.

The Impact on Borrowers

Borrowers are already feeling the pinch. Because of the benchmark rate increase, Royal Bank, BMO, CIBC and TD all raised their prime lending rates to 3.95%. The remaining banks like Scotiabank should be raising their rate before the year is over.

It is now more expensive for Canadians to borrow, which isn’t a positive for most people. The silver lining, though, is that fewer people being overextending on a loan or loans can result in less household debt.

Like anything related to the Bank of Canada, things change fast. Canadians have gotten use to benchmark rate increases over the last few months but that trend might not extend into 2019.  For now, Canadians should continue to borrow for the right reasons—buying property, education or business opportunities—but staying a bit cautious can’t hurt in the long run.

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Why are First-time Homebuyers Maxing out a Budget?

The landscape has changed for first-time homebuyers in the GTA. According to a report by the CMHC, 85% of people entering the housing market for the first time are using their entire budget in order to make the purchase. This means they paying the highest down payment in addition to mortgage insurance and closing fees. This isn’t unique but it is surprising.

There is a lot for buyer, sellers and lenders to consider with respect to what this means to the GTA housing market and if new homeowners are in for a rude awakening.

The Potential Housing Market Fallout

This is based on an ongoing survey, first conducted by the federal housing agency in 1999, to gauge market affordability for buyers, both new and repeat. Despite slightly weakening markets, people are still being forced to put all their assets toward a home purchase.

One interesting takeaway is that 76% of people claim to still be confident about their ability to carry their mortgage. For many, this might be true but it does put those with a variable rate at risk if there’s even a small increase.

Homeowners also need to consider what will happen if their personal financial situation changes. By maxing out on budget, a person is operating without the safety net of savings and could be in trouble if something suddenly happens. For instance, if they lose their job, have a medical emergency or must pay for a post-secondary education, their property could be in financial jeopardy.

Looking to the Market for Answers 

Something of this nature doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The market has become so competitive that people are forced to pay everything upfront and worry about the details later. While some earn enough that carrying a mortgage with no savings isn’t a concern, it’s still not a great sign for the market.

Affordability is still an issue plaguing the GTA. Affordability is ensuring that people can pay for a down payment, their closing costs, moving expenses, furnishings and have a bit of savings left for renovations, improvements or in case of emergency.

We know that buying a home for the first time is stressful. Contact us to understand what your budget should be and whether you need to max out in order to close.

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The GTA’s Investment in Infrastructure

The GTA led by John Tory has attempted to make a sizeable investment in infrastructure to meet a growing population and the needs of a modern society.

An example of this is the Metrolinx Toronto Light Rail Transit project (LRT), which will serve to open up areas north of the city, making them more accessible. As construction on the LRT continues, and the proposed Queen subway line moves closer to reality, residents hope to soon receive a return on their tax dollar investment.

Let’s review what this investment could mean for the city.

The Value of Public Transportation

Public transportation helps a city operate. It plays a vital part in the economy because it allows people to get to work and for businesses to thrive commercially. People need to be able to get to every corner of the city with relative ease. Think about how many people go to York University every day or travel from Scarborough to Toronto’s financial district for work.

For decades, Toronto has received a lot of flak for its transportation system, and rightly so. It is far too meagre for the size and complexity of the city. In comparison to New York City’s subway system and the London Tube, it is sorely lacking.

Property Value

The LRT and new subway lines for York and Queen Street will raise property value for certain areas. Toronto’s east end, for instance, will have additional transportation options to go along with the streetcar, which will help make the area even more appealing to young professionals and families.

This investment should eventually impact Toronto’s waterfront, creating more property value and affordable housing in the downtown area. All this will help people discover more employment opportunities and ensure quicker and less stressful commutes.  

Daily Value

Of course, there is value simply in convenience. Having to be outside less in the Toronto winter while waiting for a bus or streetcar is a nice idea for many GTA residents. Ultimately, these projects need to be completed on time and on budget for residents to experience the best value.

We should benefit from this investment in infrastructure within the next five years, and it’s fair to assume that Toronto is changing in a positive direction.

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Is the GTA on the Verge of Market Moderation?

The GTA housing market can be a volatile place for buyers, sellers and investors. It is a market prone to bidding wars, high prices and Government intervention. Recently, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) surprised many by predicting that the national real estate market would moderate over the next two years.

For those in the market or looking to enter, the question is what does moderation mean exactly, and is it a positive or negative?

Market Moderation

A forecast predicting market moderation is essentially saying that prices will drop (or at least stop rising), and come more in-line with the economy. An example provided by CMHC suggests prices for single and multi-unit properties to fall in the range of $501,400 to $521, 600.

The reasons for this moderation are current housing prices, borrowing costs and inventory. Another contributing factor is an aging population who will be looking to downsize in the coming years. In addition, the affordability of condos and apartments versus single-detached homes will drive down prices and cause the market to plateau, which will lead to moderation in 2019.

An Economic Precursor

Market moderation often means that Canadians might be vulnerable to high debt loads. This is an ongoing issue for households and market moderation could be a precursor to greater economic turmoil. If one more domino falls—the job market dries up, the Canadian dollar plummets—then this debt load could spell trouble.

For some, market moderation can make the dream of home ownership a reality. For others, it means they that could be exposed to financial issues or might have to wait to sell the property they currently own. For first-time buyers, it could present an opportunity to enter the market.

Market moderation is too complicated to simply label as good or bad. It needs to be viewed in a broader sense along with the economic factors driving it and its potential ripple effect. This situation bears watching and it’s important to understand that real estate is often regionalized and can still increase or decrease in value independent of a supposed market moderation.

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Home Sales Data is Now Public

A recent Supreme Court decision could have an enormous impact on the GTA housing market. This ruling will make sales data public, thus removing a lot of the secrecy that shrouds transactions for both sellers and buyers.

This brings to end a longstanding 7-year battle brought forth by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) and will bring clarity to bidding wars and should lead to more informed purchases.

It’s hard to find any fault in giving people more information, so instead of pros and cons, let’s look at how things can change.

Transparency for Asking Prices

The GTA housing market has always been built on asking prices that had no meaning whatsoever. Since sales data has always been kept private, it was hard to know if an asking price was in line with the sales history of the neighbourhood or similar properties. It’s not uncommon for real estate agents to underprice a listing to drive some offers in the hope of a bidding war.

Making sales data public could make asking prices more reasonable, and not trap potential buyers into a bidding war that will see a home sell for hundreds of thousands above asking.

Real Estate Agent Reform

This is a big one. We’re not suggesting that real estate agents are deceptive but their job is to make money or find a home for their clients. They have several tools in their toolbox and one is the fact that they hold the keys to sales data. Buyers and sellers are in a position where they must trust what they’re being told.

People making the biggest purchase of their life or hoping to sell an asset to comfortably retire should have the information to empower them to make the right decisions.

Sales History

People will be able to see the entire sales history of a property. This will allow them to accurately price their home or know when they are getting a deal as opposed to being lulled into a bidding war. They will be able to see how a house appreciated or depreciated and work with their real estate agent in a more forthcoming manner.

This ripple effect of this Supreme Court ruling will be interesting to monitor. It feels like a monumental shift for the GTA housing market, and one that could lead to more stability and potentially more affordable housing.

 

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Why Choose Suburbia?

When most people think of suburbia, they picture two-car garages, uniform lawns, quiet streets, and spacious backyards. It offers a certain lifestyle that doesn’t appeal to everyone but it’s a reality for many who want to enter the GTA housing market.

The reason it is such a viable option isn’t just because of the ample inventory or the quiet and peaceful living. It’s because buying suburban property has historically been a wise investment in the GTA.

Let’s review some of the reasons why choosing suburbia might make a lot of sense for your lifestyle and finances.

A Sound Investment

As Toronto searches for some semblance of affordable housing, more people are looking towards areas outside Toronto like Mississauga, Oakville, Thornhill, Thornhill Woods, Milton and Aurora to get more bang for their buck. Homes in the suburbs tend to offer more square footage, larger lots and amenities like garages, finished basements and storage space.

Suburbia has evolved to become self-contained communities. Most feature community centres, malls, access to highways and a lot of big box and brand name stores. Gone are the days where you had to travel long distances to find a grocery store open late at night.

Inventory 

For decades, developers have invested in the suburbs because it offered the space to build complete neighbourhoods. The uniformity of homes allows for quicker construction schedules, which results in more inventory.

If downtown and midtown Toronto continue to suffer from a lack of detached homes, then it only makes sense that people will continue to head east, west and north to buy.

More Convenient than Ever Before 

The GTA has invested a lot of resources into creating public transportation infrastructure for the suburbs. You could avoid spending hours on the Don Valley Parkway by using the GO train or bus, certain subway lines or the LRT once it is completed. These are designed to help people commute to work every day with more convenience and ease.

Looking to buy your first home? The suburbs could be the place for you. Even if you are unsure about the lifestyle, remember that as an investment it typically offers a lot of value. Contact us to discuss getting pre-approved for a mortgage and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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Will the GTA Market Course Correct?

Many pundits and experts have been anticipating that the GTA housing market would experience a course correction at some point in 2018. Now that we’re in the last quarter of the year, it looks as if prices are trending up and that a full-blown course correction is probably not in the offering.

Let’s review what buyers and sellers should expect in the next two quarters. Keep in mind, markets are volatile and it only takes one regulation or development for things to change.

State of GTA Housing Market

Housing prices experienced a dip earlier in the year but prices are set to increase along with interest rates. This increase shouldn’t be back breaking but it will cause the market to cool as more people wait for prices to come down before buying or selling.

This small hike didn’t take anyone by surprised. It was caused by the current provincial economy, the lack of affordable housing and the overall tug of war that is occurring between supply and demand.

Earlier in the year, the average home price was down 13% in Ontario. This number should grow but to call it a course correction would be an exaggeration.

What’s in Store for Buyers?

Buyers should expect to pay a bit more than they would have last year. They will still need to pass the mortgage stress test and the supply of properties should be in line with the numbers reported in the GTA in 2017 and early 2018.

The province isn’t approaching any sort of bubble but there might be some vulnerability as inventory expands along with prices.

What’s in Store for Sellers?

Well, sellers could see a nice return on their properties but it’s only if they can sell. Properties might have less prospective interest and fewer bidding wars as people wait for prices to drop.

No reason to panic though as it only takes one motivated buyers or a strong real estate agent to make a sale happen.

Course correction or not, the GTA market always bears monitoring. Prices are up now but there’s a good chance that it will shift causing the market to head in another direction.