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MARKET TRENDS mortgage industry pros weigh in CLOSING THE DEAL what to do after the offer is accepted HEADING FOR HOME a checklist to keep your dream on track BUYING A HOME what new Canadians need to know DIGITALVERSION AVAILABLEAT HOMEOWNERSHIP.CA FALL 2O15 4 NEWS VIEWS 8 BUDGETING FOR FUTURE COSTS 10 NEW CANADIANS AND THE REAL ESTATE MARKET 14 NEW TO CANADA RESOURCES 16 CLOSING THE DEAL 18 MARKET TRENDS 20 IN THE COMMUNITY 22 FIRST-TIMER TIPS NEW COUNTRY NEW SEASON NEW START GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 3 WELCOME CHECK OUT GENWORTH.CA We understand that buying a home is a unique experience for new Canadians so in this edition of A Better Way to Home Ownership we decided to focus on the New to Canada experience. Youll find it jam-packed with advice and resources to help navigate this countrys diverse and at times complex housing market. So pull up a chair and get inspired to embark on your own journey to homeownership Curious about Canadas new homebuyers We start off on page 4 with some key data that offers a glimpse into the persona of todays generation of new immigrants and their views on homeownership. A handy homebuying checklist for new Canadians on page 14 will help ensure all your preparation is on track and throughout this issue youll find information on programs and tools available to help you in your homebuying process. Our main feature is a must-read. We focus on New Canadians and the Real Estate Market introducing you to industry professionals who share insights into different major markets across the country. In our Compass article on page 16 we explain what needs to be done once the offer is accepted and after the deal has closed. We hope you enjoy the next few pages. Have questions Join Genworth Canadas social media community on Facebook and LinkedIn and ask away. Were here to help Welcome to Canada and welcome home Debbie McPherson Senior Vice-President Sales Marketing Genworth Canada COVERPHOTO EDITOR Sean Deasy ART DIRECTOR Gordon Alexander FREELANCE CONTRIBUTORS Jasmine Miller Vawn Himmelsbach PROJECT MANAGER Kari Bronaugh 4 GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 THE EDGE CHECK OUT GENWORTH.CA Canada expects to welcome between 260000 to 285000 new permanent residents by the end of 2015 the highest planned level of admissions in recent Canadian history. NEW TO CANADA BY THE NUMBERS Canada was and continues to be built on immigration. Newcomers from around the world arrive daily to build new lives. For many no matter where theyre from homeownership is an important part of this new beginning. Here are some statistical insights into recent new Canadians their persona and their views on buying a home in Canada 20of first-time homebuyers are new Canadians GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 5 SOURCES The 2015 Genworth Canada First-Time Homeownership Study The 20152016Report on Plans and Prioritiesfor Citizenship and Immigration Canada CIC RBC Canada Bound MAIN REGIONS OF ORIGIN for new arrivals to Canada CHINATAIWAN 31 SOUTH ASIA 21 12WESTERN EUROPE 73 of newcomers believe buying a home is a good investment One of the biggest financial challenges for newcomers is ESTABLISHING CREDIT IN CANADA 3 IN 4 newcomers believe that getting the BEST INTEREST RATE is the most important consideration when buying a home In a recent study of first-time homebuyers in Canada 20 WERE BORN OUTSIDE OF CANADA and of those 12 IMMIGRATED IN THE LAST 10 YEARS 6 GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 HELP CHECK OUT GENWORTH.CA THE GENWORTH CANADA NEW TO CANADA PROGRAM. This versatile program makes it possible for new immigrants to Canada to purchase a home sooner and with as little as five percent down payment. Here is a quick glance at whats required to qualify for the New to Canada program. A comprehensive list of specific guidelines and criteria for eligibility is available on Notably eligible applicants Must have immigrated or relocated to Canada within the last 60 months Must have a valid work permit or obtained landed immigrant status Must ensure all debts held outside of the country are included in their total debt-servicing ratio Cannot rely on guarantors Cannot be foreign diplomats who do not pay tax in Canada If you recently immigrated to Canada and are interested in buying a home a detailed guide is available in six languages on Follow the links on the New To Canada Guide drop-down menu on the New to Canada page and browse through the many articles covering everything you need to know about the home buying process in Canada. Another helpful resource is This online magazine for immigrant professionals in Canada provides a variety of resources to help you navigate living and working in Canada. Welcome to Canada and good luck on your homebuying adventure Q We arrived in Canada three years ago and want to buy our first home. Is there a program that can help us even though we dont have an extensive credit history in this country A Yes. Genworth Canadas New to Canada program was designed to help qualified newcomers with little credit history in this country achieve homeownership with as little as five percent down payment. Heres how it works YOU ASKED WE ANSWERED Reg. U.S. Pat. Off. 2013 Hertz System Inc. Whether your car is in the shop or its time for a long vacation or a quick getaway to see family or friends choose Hertz for the widest selection of vehicles. From value savings options like a compact car to a roomy full size car or luxury model Hertz makes renting a vehicle easy and affordable. With locations around the world in all major airports and in neighbourhoods across Canada near your home or ofce theres sure to be a Hertz to get you on the road quickly and conveniently. Visit call your travel agent or call Hertz at 1-800-263-0600 Let Your Journey Begin 8 GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 BUDGETING CHECK OUT GENWORTH.CA HOW TO PREPARE FOR SURPRISE COSTS First-time homeownership often coincides with lifestyle changes such as marriage parenthood or an out-of-town commute that requires a new vehicle. Even if youre planning for an increase in expenses its important to stash away something extra for any surprises. Some first-time homeowners have a financial plan based on hope. They hope nothing happens because they dont have any extra money set aside says Doug Buss a financial planner with YourStyle Financial in Winnipeg. Most clients he works with are aware of their expenses and try to live within their means but they dont have much if anything saved up for unexpected expenses. But life happens. People dont plan to fail they fail to plan says Buss. For exam- ple if interest rates do go up a lot of people will be in trouble. Thats why its so important to have a financial plan stick to a budget and save for a rainy day. GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 9 You might be prepared for the cost of a new baby but then you find out youre having twins. Or perhaps unexpected med- ical bills come with that pregnancy or new addition to the family. Childcare is also a consideration for some people childcare can eat up a significant chunk of their take- home pay. The cost of groceries should also be considered. You might not be spending much on baby food right now but when your baby becomes a teenager they could proverbially eat you out of house and home. Some first-time homeowners choose to buy a home in the suburbs where theyll get more bang for their buck with more square footage and a larger yard. But that could mean a lengthy commute into work which in turn might require a new vehicle or other transit costs. Owning a home means additional expenses on top of your mortgage from property taxes to hydro and insurance. If you live in a condo youll have to pay monthly condo fees for maintenance of the building. These fees can increase over time or in some cases vary from month to month. There are also repairs and maintenance. The unexpected cost of having to repair or replace a major appliance can set you back a few thousand dollars but smaller repairs such as replacing your AC motor or garage door opener can add up over the course of a year. Also consider the cost of lawn maintenance and cosmetic upgrades. Even the costs of owning a pet pet food vet bills kennels if you go on vacation can start to add up quickly. If your pet requires medical care you could be thousands of dollars out of pocket. A financial planner can help you come up with a plan that takes the unexpected into account so even if life takes you by surprise youre ready for it. 10 GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 COVER STORY CHECK OUT GENWORTH.CA NEW CANADIANS THE REAL ESTATE MARKETBY JASMINE MILLER Canada has welcomed an average of 257000 immigrants every year since 2006 and while the vast majority are from Asia and the Middle East increasing numbers of people from Africa the Caribbean and South America are looking to make Canada home too. Homeownership can be an important part of feeling fully at home but buying property can be stressfulits the largest investment most of us will ever make so the stakes are high. For people newly arrived to the country there can be added hurdles but theyre not insurmountable. HERES WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW. GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 11 Recent immigrants tend to live in our largest and most expensive urban centres Toronto Vancouver Montreal. In the GTA all net population growth is based on immigration says Jason Mercer Director Market Analysis and Service Channels Toronto Real Estate Board. Theres a key reason for that we have one of the most diverse areas in North America. So theres already a basis of the population new Canadians can relate to. Thats why we see people moving into the Greater Golden Horseshoe which includes the area from St. Catharines to Durham. Those are the largest urbanized areas in Canada so they offer a lot of opportunities in the job market and also the real estate market. While most new immigrants rent housing when they first arrive Many newcomers want to get into the real estate market says Derek Burleton VP and Deputy Chief Economist at TD Bank. And why not Homeownership historically has been a good investment says Mercer. Even after a recession the housing market has shown strong rebound and sustained price growth. Why now is a good time Canadian real estate is hot right now and an important contributing factor is our historically low interest rates. That means the cost of carrying a mortgage is lower than ever but theres another factor at play rising home prices. The reason for that is simple demand is outstripping supply. When theres a constrained number of listings prices go up says Mercer. This is especially true for large urban centres like the GTA where the average price for a detached home is 816000. Numbers like that however dont tell the whole story. Headlines gravitate towards million-dollar homes but thats not to say you cant get into a semi a row house or townhome for 400000 or 500000 says Mercer. Theres always a trade off in terms of commute and size of home you may have to move further from downtown or to the suburbs to find those prices but there is choice. One choice that buyers in general and newcomers in particular are making is the condo alternative. The biggest wave of real estate activity is in the condo markets says Burleton. Condo development has been driving the new construction market since 2008. Theres more supply and a little more choice for buyers says Mercer. Price increases have also been lower for condos than for single- family homes. Bottom-line newcomers could have better luck finding an affordable home in the condo market than in the single-family home market. Affordability is key for all buyers but recent arrivals sometimes struggle more with that issue. When it comes to income newcomers do catch up with long-term residents but those first few years are spent building and Bottom-line newcomers could have better luck finding an affordable home in the condo market than in the low-rise market. 12 GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 COVER STORY CHECK OUT GENWORTH.CA establishing themselves says Burleton. That means less time for saving under those circumstances price really matters. Getting past the hurdles Even with a relatively low price most buyers need a mortgage according to Statistics Canada nearly 60 of Canadian homeowners had a mortgage in 2011 and it can be tough for newcomers to qualify. Why A very big issue for people who are new to the country is credit history says Dr. Sherry Cooper Chief Economist at Dominion Lending Centres. People new to Canada are not going to have the kind of credit scores that established Canadians have and the banks rely on those quite significantly to qualify. Theres a second problem If youre new to Canada youre not going to have employment history thats local either. So unless you have cash for a substantial down payment thats going to be a roadblock. It doesnt have to be a deal-breaker though because thats what mortgage brokers do they find alternative sources of money says Cooper. And if an applicant qualifies for mortgage insurance such as Genworth Canada that makes it easier to get a loan. Your broker can help with this. Thats why its especially important for newcomers to work with professionals when they explore homeownership. Get a team of experts says Cooper. That means certainly a real estate agent but also a qualified mortgage broker accountant and a financial planner homeownership is not a do-it-yourself project. It doesnt have to be hard to assemble your team either. The biggest thing for home buyers new to Canada is learning the various pieces of the puzzle involved in a home purchase here says Mercer. Its important to talk to a REALTOR who can provide information about your chosen home type and area and give you access to a network of other professionals a broker lawyer financial planner and others because most real estate agents are going to have that professional network. Ultimately though homeownership is a personal decision. You need to buy when the time is right for you says TDs Burleton. Weve been talking about a market correction for a long time and while I dont see that happening anytime soon prospective homeowners need to be secure in their jobs and mindful of interest rates. Rates arent likely to go up drastically but everyone needs to know rates are not going to stay at these levels forever. So factor in higher interest rates in your budgeting and consider mitigating that risk with five- or even 10-year-term mortgages. GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 13 14 GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 15 16 GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 CLOSING THE DEAL OFFER ACCEPTED NOW WHAT 16 GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 COMPASS CHECK OUT GENWORTH.CA GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 17 The purchase agreement is typically conditional on the buyer being approved for financing and being satisfied with an inspection ofthe property says Mark Weisleder a real estate lawyer with in Toronto. Youre usually given five days to do this which gives you enough time to ensure the property is professionally inspected so there are no surprises after closing. In some cases the bank may need to do their own appraisal to make sure that the buyer did not pay too much for the property and thus may not qualify for the mortgage they need to close the deal says Weisleder. The purchase agreement should also provide you with an opportunity for a pre- closing visit to make sure no damage has occurred on the property since the time you signed the agreement. And it should also indicate in detail all of the appliances and light fixtures you expect to keep after closing so theres no confusion. The buyer will also hire a lawyer to make sure that the title is checked before closing and to prepare all of the closing papers including the mortgage to be registered on title says Weisleder. The lawyer then crunches the numbers to calculate how much money youll need for the down payment to pay the balance owing to the seller and additional costs such as the land transfer tax and the legal fees. You can then arrange for home insurance and contact the utility companies to make sure the utilities are in your name on the closing date. There are a lot of steps to remember on the road to homeownership so Genworth Canada has put together a step-by-step guide from the dream of owning a home through closing and moving. This guide provides resources on everything from calculating closing costs to moving tips and more. Find it all at Youve found your dream home and your offer has been accepted. But there are still some loose ends to tie up before popping open that celebratory bottle of champagne. Fortunately there are several experts involved in the process who can help you along the way. Whats trending in real estate for newcomers to Canada Many newcomers to Canada are looking to build a life here and that means finding a home. We get the lowdown from industry professionals on the hottest neighbourhoods and latest trends in Toronto Vancouver and Montreal real estate markets for newcomers. MARKET TRENDS CHECK OUT GENWORTH.CA 18 GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 With home values in the major urban markets continuing to rise homebuyers are being forced to adjust their expectations says James Laird president and broker of record with CanWise Financial. Many people start shopping assuming that they will buy a detached home in a specific neighbourhood but quickly realize they will have to alter their criteria in order to become homeowners he says.This typically means purchasing a smaller more efficient home such as a condo or townhouse or moving further away from the city centre. The one factor that has helped ease the pain is continuously decreasing mortgage rates says Laird.With variable rates dropping below two per cent and fixed rates at 2.5 per cent mortgage payments remain manageable even at higher loan amounts. In Montreal Monique Assouline a REALTOR with Groupe Immobilier Londono often works with newcomers from France who are interested in condos as well as single- family homes. Newcomers used to rent first and then buy she says. Now they buy right away. They have healthy budgets and interest rates remain very low giving them more buying power. They seem better prepared and know which neighbourhoods they would like to be in. The price range for these buyers is varied ranging from 400000 to 850000. Their main criteria They want to be within walking distance of a metro station she says. Popular Montreal neighbourhoods right now are Le Plateau-Mt-Royal Le Sud-Ouest and NDG. Le-Sud-Ouestwhich includes Point St-Charles St-Henri Griffintown and Cote-St-Paul appeals to newcomers who want to live in an urban neighbourhood with a residential feel and quick access to downtown. Monkland Village in NDG is also at the top of the list with its good schools and municipal services as well as the popular Monkland Avenue with restos shops and terraces. Blair Smith a REALTOR with Royal LePage in Vancouver says newcomers to the city include people from all corners of the globe and all income levels some bring great wealth while others bring nothing but their skills and perseverance for a better life. All of Greater Vancouver is welcoming and extremely multicultural he says. But one up-and-coming neighbourhood is Brentwood Town Centre in North Burnaby a combination of well-kept working-class homes on larger lots and new 50- to 65-storey towers. These homes are more affordable but still a quick commute into downtown Vancouver says Smith all with excellent access to rapid transit and highways making it the new place to be. Doug Heldman a REALTOR in Toronto says many newcomers he works with would love to buy a house but the price is often more than they can afford for a first-time purchase. A condominium is thought of as a good starting point he says adding this gives them a springboard into the Canadian real estate dream. If a house is attainable the price tends to be in the entry-level range at 550000 or less. And it likely has two units one to live in and one for additional income or to accommodate in-laws. Thats not a new story thats what has gone on for generations says Heldman with The Doug Heldman Group. But newcomers will continue to consider the condo market which will remain an affordable option for Torontonians particularly as developers issue more inventory he says. While ethnic enclaves tend to be mixed race newcomers are looking for well- developed infrastructure good schools and access to public transit. GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 19 20 GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 COMMUNITY CHECK OUT GENWORTH.CA EMPLOYEES KICK IT UP A NOTCH WITH JUNE MONTH OF SERVICE E very June Genworth Canada employees are encouraged to participate in a variety of planned volunteer activities in support of charitable organizations in the community. This past Junes Month of Service was one of the most successful volunteer campaigns to date with employees contributing more than 1700 volunteer hours to nearly 30 organizations across the country. And the commitment comes from the very top with CEO Stuart Levings rolling up his sleeves and braving the heat on a Habitat for Humanity build day in Burlington Ontario That sense of volunteerism permeates the organization. Genworth employees are passionate about the work they do whether its in the workplace or in communities across Canada. And theyre eager to share that passion. Yesterday was one of the best experiences that I have ever had at a build site said Natalie Rendall Real Estate Specialist Genworth Canada about her Month of Service day on a Habitat for Humanity build. All the group leaders were fantastic encouraging us to try and get outside our comfort zones do something we havent tried before. They were patient and explained very well how to use the tools safely. We had a fantastic day even in the heat Being a partner with Habitat for Humanity really hits home with many of us as employees. Visit to find out more about the various charitable initiatives supported by Genworth Canada. GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15 21 Opposite page A Genworth Canada team including CEO Stuart Levings at Habitat for Humanity build site in Burlington ON. Left A Genworth Canada Team prepares a meal at Ronald McDonald House in Hamilton ON. Below The team from Genworth Canada Pacific plants a garden at Zajac Ranch for Children in Mission BC. SURPRISE PARTY Buying your first home Youre likely discovering theres so much to learn Thats precisely why we reached out to Genworth Canadas social media community. We crowd- sourced Facebook for the single-biggest first-timer surprises to help you learn from their homebuying experiences. I mainly remember that when it seemed everything was taken care of a new wrinkle would emerge a small issue with the paperwork shifting timelines. Fortunately we had great people working with us so everything came out wonderfully. In the end what I remember most of all is that feeling of turning the key in the lock and walking in for the first time. Greg B. Follow us on Facebook at THE BUZZ CHECK OUT GENWORTH.CA Though we were pretty sure our finances were all in order the mortgage process still took a long time with lots of documentation. It was very thorough but time-consuming Vik S. Because we took our time and did our research we ended up making an informed decision about our mortgage. With some additional investigation we were able to save thousands of dollars. Olivier G. Items like appliances sometimes come with the house and sometimes they dont. Make sure you know exactly whats included with the property because you may be surprised to discover as we were you may have to pay sales tax on them. William S. I recall all the paperwork. So much paperwork And the excitement of course Its such a big purchase its life changing. As a first-time buyer I couldnt imagine negotiating my way through all the items to be done without professional help. Trish K. The variability of the market was a surprise to us how inventory could dry up from one month to the next and how quickly housing prices could rise. Sam S. 22 GENWORTH CANADA FALL 2O15