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Mortgages and real estate: A snapshot of recent market changes

Posted on Friday July 17, 2020


Mortgages and real estate: A snapshot of recent market changes

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted almost every area of the financial sector – and the real estate market is no exception. If buying your first home during a pandemic sounds impossible, read this blog post.

Jérémie Vautour, Mortgage Specialist at UNI in Dieppe, and Steeve Savoie, Mortgage Development Manager at our head office, take a look at the issue and discuss mortgages, loans and the real estate climate.

What’s new in the real estate sector?

The real estate sector is not immune to market fluctuations. In terms of supply and demand as well as mortgage rates, the pandemic’s impact has not gone unnoticed.

Slowdown in the real estate market

Steeve Savoie explains that often one of the first effects of an economic downturn is a drop in new real estate listings. In the midst of uncertainty, many potential sellers delay the sale of their home, which limits the number of new listings on the market and can help keep prices higher.

Buyers therefore temporarily find themselves vying for a declining number of listings. In spite of all this, Mr. Savoie believes that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. “We can already feel the effects of the recovery in the real estate market, so we anticipate a good fall... that is, if there’s no second wave of the pandemic.”

Great mortgage rates for buyers

Despite rising market prices, new buyers can still benefit from UNI’s historically low interest rates. “Interest rates for mortgage loans are among the best I’ve seen and make buying a property very attractive, even in the current context,” explains Jérémie Vautour.

Be aware of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation conditions. It can now be harder to get a mortgage when you have a down payment of less than 20%. Mr. Vautour suggests that new buyers research the tighter conditions for securing their loan on the CMHC website or discuss them with their advisor.

Client service at UNI: Support, flexibility and easy access to resources

While the pandemic has disrupted several aspects of client service, it has not undermined our ability to adapt, according to Mr. Vautour. Despite the changes in the way we deliver our services, our cooperative values remain intact: quality service at all steps of the process, availability and flexibility of advisors, support measures adapted to your needs and personalized service for every situation.

Our priorities, even at a distance: Efficiency, quality and availability

Telephone calls, video conferencing, texting and e-mail – the number of communication options has increased since the introduction of social distancing measures. That said, these technologies were already part of UNI advisors’ daily life before the crisis, Mr. Vautour says. “Most of our communications were already done through email and telephone calls. It’s faster and more efficient that way.”

This virtual shift also allows Client Service to maintain its level of excellence. According to Mr. Savoie, the cooperative’s priority is to always be there for its client members and offer them flexible and personalized support.

Measures and resources put in place to support you

The relief measures implemented to deal with the financial challenges of COVID-19 are intended to be accommodating and adapted to the needs of each of our client members.

Payment deferrals: Flexibility in your finances

Deferred payments allow you to postpone three monthly payments until the end of the term defined in the sales contract. This solution could help ease the financial burden of the crisis.

Mortgage pre-approval is easy

Taking out a mortgage doesn’t have to be a headache. At UNI, the mortgage pre-approval process is now easier for first-time buyers. This is particularly advantageous in times of a pandemic, Mr. Savoie confirms. “Real estate agents are attracted to pre-approved buyers for whom the mortgage process is quick and easy.”

Have a mortgage to pay and stressed about your finances? Your advisors are there for you!

The pandemic also presents new challenges for lenders and homeowners: reorganization of finances, second mortgages and payment deferrals. “Now more than ever, we need to be in close contact with our customers to give them the support they need. We analyze each person’s situation carefully in order to organize their finances in a personalized manner.”

Mortgage advisors therefore work on a case-by-case basis before suggesting extended amortization or refinancing of debts or personal loans. The goal? To help you reduce the amount of your monthly payments to get through the crisis.

Don’t neglect your finances because of social distancing! Since the beginning of the pandemic, UNIAssisT has been there to guide you so you can carry out secure transactions remotely.

The current real estate climate: Is now a good time to buy?

Buying a home can be a worthwhile investment if you’re in a good financial position. The current real estate climate is favourable for those who haven’t been affected by the instability created by the pandemic.

In the right circumstances, take the plunge! 

“With all the support measures available – in addition to falling mortgage rates – borrowers have an incentive to buy their homes before interest rates rebound after the crisis. Provided, of course, that they have a stable job and are in a financial situation that allows them to absorb the expenses that come with such a purchase,” Mr. Savoie says.

Assessing your financial situation before you dive in: Advice from the experts

Want to take the plunge? For potential buyers, Mr. Vautour suggests thinking about the monthly payments and commitments they will have on top of their mortgage loan. Credit cards, vehicles, tuition fees, daily expenses: pay them down to increase your available cash on hand keep your options open.

Mortgage advisors supporting you every step of the way

They are there to help you achieve this major goal. Call on our mortgage specialists to help make your dream of becoming a homeowner come true. Accessible and professional, they will quickly step up to help when and where it’s convenient for you.

https://www.uni.ca/fr/uniassist/specialistes-hypothecaires/ - lien en anglais?

If you’re unsure about getting a mortgage and buying your first home during the crisis, don’t worry – it’s normal! Most people feel a bit overwhelmed before embarking on what is often the largest investment of their lives. To get a clearer picture, talk to your mortgage advisor.

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