Posted in Applying for a mortgage - Lisa Alentejano services the interior, British Columbia Mortgages, Canadian Economy, Canadian Housing Market - Lisa Alentejano, Debt, Home Loans, Interior Mortgage Expert - Lisa Alentejano, Interior Mortgages, kamloops mortgage financing, Kelowna Mortgage Financing - Lisa Alentejano, Mortgage Affordability

How much debt is too much?

Debt
How much debt is too much

How much debt is too much?

Smart thinking about money can help buyers avoid major stresses of home ownership

As housing prices across Canada continue to rise and a 20 per cent down payment gets harder to come by, many people find themselves wondering how big a mortgage is too big.

But they are asking the wrong question, says Henrietta Ross, chief executive officer of the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services, based in Grimsby, Ont. Her offices helped 130,000 Canadians face their debt problems — including mortgages — last year.

“People should not be looking at mortgage debt but rather at their overall levels of family debt,” she says. “Mortgages alone are not usually the cause of financial problems.”

Her advice is spot on, say mortgage brokers Sue Pimento, east Toronto regional manager for Invis, and Sean Binkley, a mortgage broker with Mortgage Intelligence in Ottawa. Both note that debt consolidation through home refinancing is on the rise.

“People are taking advantage of those historic low mortgage rates to get rid of credit card and other debt with interest rates as high as 19 per cent,” says Binkley. “The problem is they are taking short-term consumer debt and turning it into long-term mortgage debt.”

The move may solve their current financial problems but it also frees them up to take on even more new debt through credit card spending and household purchases, he says.

As Pimento notes: “money is never the solution to money problems. A change in behaviour is the solution to money problems.”

This is where Ross and the CACCS come in. Her members offer counselling on the phone, online ( www.caccs.ca) and in person to people struggling with creditors.

The telltale signs that family debt loads might be too high are not hard to spot. Binkley says debt consolidation through a mortgage is one. “I see people coming to me every two or three years,” he says. “That is a sure sign something is wrong.”

So is living on the financial edge, making minimum payments each month on bills and loans, especially credit card loans.

What are people caught in this situation to do? Ross offers a few tips to anyone taking out a mortgage. The first is to ignore guidelines offered by lenders as to what you can afford to pay. “As a rule of thumb, lenders allow you to borrow based on gross income — up to 30 per cent or even a little more. But we don’t live on gross income. We live on income after taxes and other deductions.

“You also have to remember that home ownership comes with a lot of other bills like taxes, utilities, heating, insurance and regular maintenance. That could in some cases drive the total cost of home ownership up to 40 per cent of gross income.”

She says a more reasonable guide is 30 per cent of net income — what you take home in cash to pay the bills.

Then keep all other debt to 10 per cent of net income. That includes things like car payments and credit card spending.

“Before taking out a mortgage think about the unexpected,” she says.

What happens if one spouse loses a job or becomes pregnant? What happens if illness strikes and the borrower is unable to work? What happens if interest rates begin to rise?

“Many young people also carry a large burden in student loans,” she says. “This obligation may mean either delaying a house purchase or opting for something less expensive.”

Vancouver Sun

Advertisements
Posted in Applying for a mortgage - Lisa Alentejano services the interior, BC Mortgages, Best Rate Mortgages, First Time Home Buyer Steps, Interior Mortgage Expert - Lisa Alentejano, Kamloops First Time Home Buyer Tips, kamloops mortgage, Kamloops Mortgage Broker, kamloops mortgage financing, Kelowna Mortgage Broker, Mortgage Broker Kamloops, Mortgages - Get a second opinion, Pre Approval Mortgage, Protecting your biggest investment your mortgage, Refinance Your Mortgage, Renewing your mortgage

Why you should always get a second opionion when financing a mortgage.

I couldn’t help but post this article i wrote AGAIN,  in hopes that it keeps catching the attention of consumers when shopping for a mortgage or refinancing an existing one.     I continually have clients coming to me that have been to their bank already,  looking for financing for a new mortgage or refinancing an existing one they have.  Consumers normally feel an obligation to go to their bank, and give them the right of first opportunity to arrange  financing for their mortgage.   To much of their surprise the banks seems slightly dis-interested in helping them, tell them that “we might” be able to provide you with financing and offer them a higher rate, or simply tell them they are pre-approved, having never even checked there credit first .  Leaving clients unsure whether they are truly approved or not?

Remember people, banks don’t specialize in mortgages or one specific product,  they have a line up of products including chequeing accounts, investments, RRSP,  unsecured line of credits, mortgages and the list goes on….

My job when going threw the pre-approval process, is always taking a full application, which involves checking my clients credit.   Checking your credit is an important parts of the pre-approval process as it will tell  a number of different things,  credit score, spending habits, if the debt outstanding is paid on time, how long have you have had credit and what debt is outstanding.  Both you and I want no surprises when it comes to financing your mortgage.

You will also find banks also don’t always offer you the lowest rate on your mortgage.  That’s right, you may be led to believe that because you are a current customer of theirs, with good credit (if they’ve check it), and job stability,  that you automatically will receive the best rate, well think again.  Banks “choose” who they give their preferred rates too.

A Statistic provided by CMHC says that approximately 60% of canadians take the first rate the bank offers them at renewal.  Just to give you snapshot of what that may look like; for example the banks posted rate today is 5.4% for a 5 year term.  The discounted rate available is 3.89%.   That’s a big difference in payment and interest savings over the term of your mortgage.  Consider this the next time you go to sign your renewal agreement or obtain your first mortgage from your bank.   Banks are in the business of making money, period.
Remember that you have the right to negotiate a better rate or seek out the services of a  mortgage broker who is trained in negotiating better rates, don’t be fooled into believing you have received the “best” rate or the right product .  Get a second opinion every time.  Why wouldn’t you if its Free?    Consult a mortgage broker like myself to determine if you truly are receiving the best rate and product to suit your needs.  I specialize only in mortgages and your positive mortgage experience is essential to my business , so your always guaranteed to receive the best rates, product that suits your needs as well as outstanding service!
Author - Lisa Alentejano
Posted in Bank of canada rates, BC Mortgages, British Columbia Mortgages, Canadian Economy, Canadian Mortgage News, Fixed rates, Interior Mortgage Expert - Lisa Alentejano, Kamloops Mortgage Broker, Kamloops mortgage consultant, Low Interest Rates, Mortgage Affordability, Real Estate Market

Bank of Canada backs off Housing bubble talks..

Bank of Canada

The Bank of Canada backed away Monday from its recent warnings about a real estate bubble in Canada.

In a speech in Edmonton, bank official David Wolf ruled out increasing interest rates to discourage mortgage lending.
The Bank of Canada says it sees the housing market ‘requiring vigilance, not alarm.’The Bank of Canada says it sees the housing market ‘requiring vigilance, not alarm.’ (CBC)

Wolf, an adviser to bank governor Mark Carney, said that in the central bank’s view it is premature to be talking about a housing bubble in Canada.

“We see the housing market requiring vigilance, not alarm,” he said.

He added that even if the bank was convinced housing prices were getting out of hand, raising interest rates would be too blunt an instrument, since it would mean cooling off all economic activity.

“We would, in essence, be dousing the entire Canadian economy with cold water, just as it emerges from recession,” he said in a speech delivered on behalf of deputy governor Timothy Lane, who could not travel to the Alberta capital for personal reasons.

“As a result, it would take longer for economic growth to return to potential and for inflation to get back to target,” he added.

Wolf said the bank considers the current hot market to be a phenomenon based on temporary factors, such as pent-up demand from the recession, and low mortgage rates. Moreover, he noted with starts below long-term demographic requirements, the number of houses on the market is still declining.

Better ways to cool the market

Wolf, a former chief economist with Merrill Lynch Canada, said there are better ways to cool the housing market.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has also mused about such measures, including raising the minimum down payment requirement above five per cent, or reducing the maximum length a house can be amortized from the current 35 years.

The bank has been highlighting for months the danger of Canadians getting in over their heads in purchasing homes, warning that buyers should ensure they don’t take on too much debt.

The bank’s worry is that homeowners with large mortgages that are manageable now with interest rates at record lows won’t be able to afford their monthly payments once interest rates start rising, as is expected later this year.

On the economy as a whole, Wolf said the bank believes the economic recovery is still dependent on government support and that “growth drive by the private sector has yet to materialize.”

CBC News

Posted by Lisa ALentejano

Posted in Applying for a mortgage - Lisa Alentejano services the interior, Best Rate Mortgages, British Columbia Mortgages, Fixed rates, Home Equity, Interior home mortgage, Interior Mortgage Expert - Lisa Alentejano, Interior Mortgages, Kamloops home mortgages, Kamloops Mortgage Broker, Kamloops mortgage consultant, kamloops mortgage financing, Kelowna Mortgage Broker, Low Interest Rates, Mortgage Affordability, Mortgage Broker Kamloops, Mortgage Consultant Kamloops, Mortgage Playground - Lisa Alentejano, Mortgage Consultant, Mortgage Rates, Refinance Your Mortgage, Refinancing, salmon Arm mortgages, Vancouver Mortgages, Variable rates, Vernon Mortgage Broker

Variable rates are looking good

Variable rate mortgages are looking good
Variable rate mortgages are looking good

Variable rates are looking good..

 Its a dicey decision whether to break your mortgage or not. Most banks are not encouraging it but in some cases it makes sense.  Anybody who bought their first house in the 1980s must marvel at mortgage rates today, or perhaps not.   With prime rate at 2.25% a variable rate mortgage today is looking pretty sweet. 

 Consumers who locked into variable-rate mortgages tied to prime before credit markets tanked are getting as much as 90 basis points below prime and borrowing as low as 1.6%.   It’s the deal of the century. In October, the banks suddenly changed the rules on borrowing and demanded consumers pay a 100-basis premium over prime if they wanted to go variable. The banks have eased up since and the premium on a variable-rate product is now 30 basis points above prime for a 2.55% rate. It poses an obvious question for anyone who has locked into rates as high as 5.75% on a five-year fixed-rate mortgage:   Should they break that mortgage? “It probably does make sense to break it now,” says Vince Gaetano, vice-president of Monster Mortgage. He gives the example of one client who came into his office this past week with a $205,000 mortgage and a 5.24% interest rate. The customer had 3½ years left on a five-year mortgage. The penalty to break his mortgage is the greater of three months interest or what is called the interest rate differential. The interest rate differential is the lost interest between your current rate and market rates. In that client’s case, his interest rate penalty is calculated based on the current four-year rate at his bank, now 4.14% on a discounted basis. The lost interest to the bank is about $7,800, which is what the customer will have to pay. It’s a big penalty but Mr. Gaetano argues that if that same customer breaks his mortgage and goes with the variable-rate mortgage at 2.55%, the savings would be in the $13000 to $14,000 range over 3½ years — more than offsetting the penalty.

There is also a nifty little trick you can pull off if you have a prepayment option on your mortgage. Mr. Gaetano’s customer has a 25% prepayment privilege, so he can knock $57,000 off his mortgage and lower his penalty by about $2,800. “You can access [that 25%] from an unsecured line of credit or some credit cards for a few days and reduce your penalty because the penalty is based on the balance outstanding,” says Mr. Gaetano.

While not encouraging people to break their mortgages, the banks are acknowledging that some consumers who locked into higher rates can save money if they refinance at the new lower rates. “I think it does make sense as an option for some people trying to lower their rate,” says Joan Dal Bianco, vice-president of real estate-secured lending at TD Canada Trust.   She says if you are refinancing your mortgage, you can take the interest rate differential penalty and tack it on to your new mortgage. If you have credit card debt, you can add that on too, and the refinancing makes even more sense.

The office of consumer affairs for the federal government has a great site to help you make the decision: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/%20eng/ca01817.html. Moshe Milevsky, a professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, who created the calculator used on the government site, says it ultimately comes down to how much money you will save on your mortgage if you break the contract. “To me, it’s pure mathematics. There is nothing speculative or probabilistic about the decision to break a mortgage. It is the classic example of undergraduate finance time-value-of-money calculations. If the homeowner can refinance into a mortgage with an identical term that reduces monthly payments above and beyond any penalty costs, then go for it. Plain and simple,” says Mr. Milevsky. Breaking your mortgage based on a decision to go into a variable-rate mortgage is an entirely different decision. “This decision shouldn’t be confused or muddled with the classic long or short decision, or whether real estate prices or interest rates are headed up or down from here,” he says. So, it comes down to two choices: The first is to break your locked-in mortgage and renew for another fixed term. If it saves you cash, that is a no-brainer. The second choice is whether to switch products and go with a variable-rate mortgage. Historically, consumers have saved money 88% of the time going variable, according to Mr. Milevsky’s own studies. I’m still in the camp that favours a variable rate.  This will not save you any money, but if you are strapped for cash because one of the breadwinners in your home has lost a job, the banks will let you lengthen your amortization period. If you have a 25-year amortization you can lengthen it to 35 years without any service charges — other than the huge jump in interest charges!

If your wanting to calculate a ball park figure, read my post on “calculating your mortgage penalty” it will help you put some real numbers together.

author - Lisa Alentejano
author - Lisa Alentejano
Posted in Applying for a mortgage - Lisa Alentejano services the interior, BC Mortgages, BCMortgage, British Columbia Mortgages, Canadian Housing Market - Lisa Alentejano, Canadian Mortgage News, Fixed rates, Home Buyer Closing Costs, Home Equity, Home Loans, Interior home mortgage, Interior Mortgage Expert - Lisa Alentejano, Interior Mortgages, Kamloops First Time Home Buyer Tips, Kamloops home mortgages, kamloops mortgage, Kamloops Mortgage Broker, Kamloops Mortgage Broker - Lisa Alentejano, Kamloops mortgage consultant, kamloops mortgage financing, Kamloops Mortgages, Kelowna Mortgage Broker, Kelowna Mortgage Financing - Lisa Alentejano, Low Interest Rates, Mortgage Affordability, Mortgage Broker Kamloops, Mortgage by Lisa Alentejano, Mortgage Consultant Kamloops, mortgage financing kamloops, Mortgage Rates, Pre Approval Mortgage, Real Estate Market, Refinance Your Mortgage, Salmon Arm Mortgage Broker, salmon Arm mortgages, Salmonarm Mortgage, Tax Break, Vancouver Mortgages, Vernon Mortgage

Could bonds pull mortgage rates down even more?

 

Could bonds pull mortgage rates down even more?Falling bond yields could spur a slight drop in medium-term residential mortgage rates this summer, but bargain-hungry consumers would be foolish to count on considerably cheaper borrowing costs, experts say.

About a month ago, banks blamed soaring bond yields for two sizeable hikes to key residential mortgage rates.

Those moves drove up posted rates on five-year fixed-rate loans by 60 basis points to 5.85 per cent.

While yields have reversed course in recent weeks, banks have yet to pass on those savings to consumers. Meanwhile, there are fresh signs of life in the housing market, fuelling increased demand for mortgages.

Some economists and rate strategists believe that yields could fall a bit further and speculate that mortgage rates might follow suit. But there are no guarantees and experts surmise those potential declines would be minimal at best.

Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, says banks will be more inclined to tweak their rates if yields continue heading south

“Typically, they want to be convinced that it is not a flash in the pan and that any retreat in yields is sustained,” he said.

“I believe that we are probably not too far away from that point. It might take a little more of a deeper rally (in bond prices) to make it completely convincing.”

Bond yields move inversely to prices. While variable-rate mortgages are largely influenced by the banks’ prime rates, conventional fixed-rate mortgages are linked to the bond market.

Banks generally try to match maturities when they finance mortgages with bonds. That means five-year mortgages are paired with five-year bonds.

Earlier this year, banks were confronted with a sharp spike in their own borrowing costs. Yields jumped after a flurry of better-than-expected economic data. At that time, traders were also focused on the threat of inflation as governments issued massive amounts of debt to stimulate growth.

Central banks usually try to control inflation by raising interest rates and the market was betting the U.S. Federal Reserve would hike rates this year.

That sentiment, however, has since soured.

Last week’s disappointing U.S. jobs report is among a string of more recent indicators that dampened earlier expectations of a snappy recovery.

The yield on the five-year Government of Canada bond peaked at 2.82 per cent on June 10. Yesterday, it closed at 2.39 per cent. Experts say it is impossible to predict how much lower it could go.

“I think most of the juice has been wrung from this move. I would still say the risk is that yields could fall a bit further, but I think we’re well past halfway,” said Eric Lascelles, a rates strategist at TD Securities.

Benjamin Tal, CIBC’s senior economist, thinks another 5 to 10 basis-point decline in yields is likely. He agrees that might cause mortgage rates to dip but believes the discounts will be minimal and short-lived. “By the end of the year, we’ll start seeing rates rising.”

Mark Chandler, a senior fixed-income analyst at RBC Capital Markets, stressed that other factors also influence mortgage rates, including higher demand and recession-driven risk premiums.

Even if rates don’t budge, they remain near historic lows, observed Jim Rawson, Toronto regional manager at mortgage brokerage Invis.

“I know that people are so rate-conscious these days, but really when it comes down to what (falling yields are) really going to mean for you on a monthly basis – it is really nothing

RITA TRICHUR Toronto Star

Posted in Canadian Housing Market - Lisa Alentejano, Canadian Mortgage News, Interior Mortgage Expert - Lisa Alentejano, Kamloops Mortgage Broker - Lisa Alentejano, Kamloops mortgage consultant

Canadian Economy beginning to heal, indexes show….

Economy shows signs of healing
Economy shows signs of healing

The signs increasingly indicate Canada will be out of recession by the end of the year, if not slightly sooner, even though consumers remain wary and unemployment is ticking higher, new data show.

Two separate economic indexes that gauge the conditions that create economic growth rose Tuesday, suggesting the economy was beginning to heal and growth would resume before the end of the year. However, without consumers on board, that growth is expected to grind along slowly.

The Desjardins Leading Index rose for a second consecutive month in May, to be up 1.1% after a 0.5% rise in April.

“If the DLI continues to rise this summer, the current cycle’s trough could be reached as of the fall, allowing a real recovery to materialize after that,” said Hélène Bégin, a senior economist at Desjardins.

All components of the index, with the exception of consumption, rose in the month. The financial component became positive, the export component stabilized and the housing group posted a large increase. Despite these improvements, consumers continue to retrench amid the uncertain employment outlook.

Ms. Bégin said the need to rebuild savings and a rising number of bankruptcies, which are up 15% since the start of the year, would weigh on consumption for the remainder of the year.

“A strong comeback is unlikely as households are in a fragile financial situation,” she said. “Consumption’s coming recovery could be fairly moderate and it will set the tone for the economic recovery overall.”

Meanwhile, the Ivey Purchasing Managers Index, an indicator of business activity, jumped more than 20% to 58.2 in June. A reading above 50 indicates an increase in activity. The employment index for June remained at 50, while supplier deliveries rose to 51.9 and prices increased to 60.4. Inventories was the only component to register a decline in activity, slipping to 43.

The improvement in the index was a welcome sign. However, Millan Mulraine, an economics strategist at TD Securities, noted that activity remained weak, particularly when adjusted for seasonal changed. He said headline PMI rose a more modest 11% to 48.4 in May once seasonally adjusted.

“On the whole, with the headline index on a seasonally adjusted basis remaining below the all-important 50-threshold, it suggests that the Canadian economy is continuing to contract, even though at a diminishing pace,” he said.

Building permit figures released Tuesday by Statistics Canada were also better than expected and suggested a rise in construction activity in the coming months. The number of building permits issued in May rose a strong 14.8% from the previous month and pushed the value of permits above the $5-billion mark for the first time since October 2008.

Financial Post

Posted in Applying for a mortgage - Lisa Alentejano services the interior, BC Mortgages, BCMortgage, Best Rate Mortgages, British Columbia Mortgages, Canadian Housing Market - Lisa Alentejano, Canadian Mortgage News, Debt, First Time Home Buyer Steps, Fixed rates, Home Buyer Closing Costs, Home Equity, Home Loans, Interior home mortgage, Interior Mortgage Expert - Lisa Alentejano, Interior Mortgages, Kamloops First Time Home Buyer Tips, Kamloops home mortgages, kamloops mortgage, Kamloops Mortgage Broker, Kamloops Mortgage Broker - Lisa Alentejano, Kamloops mortgage consultant, kamloops mortgage financing, Kamloops Mortgages, Kelowna Mortgage Broker, Kelowna Mortgage Financing - Lisa Alentejano, Low Interest Rates, Mortgage Affordability, Mortgage Broker Kamloops, Mortgage by Lisa Alentejano, Mortgage Consultant Kamloops, mortgage financing kamloops, Mortgage Playground - Lisa Alentejano, Mortgage Consultant, Mortgage Rates, Pre Approval Mortgage, Protecting your biggest investment your mortgage, Real Estate Market, Refinance Your Mortgage, Refinancing, Salmonarm Mortgage, Save your money, Vancouver Mortgages, Variable rates, Vernon Mortgage, Vernon Mortgage Broker

Dont handcuff your mortgage

Dont handcuff your mortgage
Dont handcuff your mortgage

Would you like to pay an extra $300 per month on your mortgage? Not likely.

That hasn’t stopped a number of Canadians, with the deal of a lifetime on a variable-rate mortgage, from switching over to a more expensive fixed-rate product and paying the extra freight.

A fear of rising rates is driving the rash decision. But if you’ve finally managed to pin your banker to the ground, why on Earth would you let him off the mat?

More than 28% of Canadians have a variable-rate product tied to prime, according to the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP). If you negotiated a deal before October of last year, chances are you are now borrowing money for as little as 1.35%. That’s based on deals that at one point saw the banks giving 90 basis points off prime. Prime is now 2.25%.

The average sale price of a home last month in Canada was $306,366. Based on a 25% downpayment and a 25-year amortization, your monthly payment would be $962.61 at 1.35%. Convert that to a five-year fixed-rate term and you’re probably going to have to consider a 4% mortgage rate and a monthly payment of $1,289.04.

Rates are rising fast. Most major banks upped their five-year rate by 40 basis points this week, although discounters were still offering 4% this past week.

“It’s not a mass rush yet, but we are starting to see … people locking in. But variable rates are still so good,” says Joan Dal Bianco, vice-president of real estate-secured lending, TD Canada Trust. She stops short of questioning why a consumer would pull out of these “deals” that are no longer available on the market.

Try to get a variable-rate mortgage today and the best you can probably hope to get is 60 basis points above prime, or 2.85%.

The landscape changed dramatically in October during the credit crunch. As the Bank of Canada lowered rates, the major banks reluctantly lowered prime because of the massive amount of customers with variable-rate products negotiated under the old, higher terms.

“Bonds yields are going up rapidly and people are starting to realize the rates are going to go up,” Ms. Dal Bianco says. Throw in the fact the Bank of Canada used the weasel word “conditional”(on inflation rates)when it promised not to raise rates until June, and you can understand why some people think today’s record-low prime rate might not hold.

But if you’re someplace between 60 to 90 basis points below prime, the rate is going to have to go up pretty fast to justify locking in today at 4%, even though that is just slightly above the all-time low hit last month for a five-year term.

“I don’t understand why you would lock in,” says Jim Murphy, chief executive of CAAMP. “Sure, if they start to rise, but [Bank of Canada governor Mark] Carney says they won’t rise, so you’ve got another year at that prime-minus rate.”

Don Lawby, chief executive of Century 21 Canada, says even when rates do start to increase, they are not going to jump significantly right away. You are not going to get 4% on a fixed rate again, but double-digit rates seem unlikely. “The only logic two locking in would be for someone very sensitive to any rate change and they just want to be secure,” Mr. Lawby says.

But at what price? If you’re using the “feeling secure” logic, why not go for the 10-year fixed-rate product? Rates on that product can be locked at 5.25%, ridiculously low by historical standards. Yet fewer than 10% of Canadians consider a 10-year product.

There are some compromises you can make. For starters, there is nothing to prevent consumers from having a blended mortgage at most Canadian banks. Some banks will let you take half your outstanding debt and lock it in. Diversity is preached for stock portfolios, but few people seem to adhere to the same philosophy when managing their debt.

Consumers might want to take their cue from business. Few companies would want all of their debt coming due at the same time — it presents too much risk. The other option is knocking down principal: Make payments based on a 4% rate and have that extra $300 go straight to your principal every month.

The bottom line is if you’ve got a deal on your mortgage, why would you give it back?

 

Gary Marr, Financial Post

Note: A variable rate mortgage  historically outperforms a fixed rate mortgage.  With a variable rate you hit some peeks and valleys when prime fluctuates but overall a better rate long term.  The question again is to ask yourself are you comfortable with fluctuating payments should prime rate increase.   Merix financial is offering prime plus .40% giving you a variable rate at 2.65% (prime rate at 2.25%), one of the most competitive variable rates out there currently in the marketplace.  Merix Financial is only accessed threw an approved mortgage broker.