One Good Earth Blog

Montreal Mortgage Lending Questions And Answers

Montreal Mortgage Lending Questions And Answers

Montreal mortgage lending questions and answers features a post by Michael Bolanakis, a mortgage specialist with Scotiabank. Many of my clients are searching for information about the mortgage process here in Montreal. Michael wrote this post below, to share some of his knowledge and information on this process.

 Q&A: The Mortgage Process

Many first time home buyers have not really thought about what the mortgage process entails.  You may have lots of questions about the products, rates and fees but there is also more to it.  Here are answers to some common questions:


How is a loan application assessed?

Most lenders base their affordability calculations on two traditional debt-to-income ratios. First, your Gross Debt Service Ratio (GDSR) is based on your monthly housing costs, including mortgage payments, property taxes, heating costs, and 50% of applicable condo fees. Lenders prefer that this ratio does not exceed 32% of your family’s gross monthly income, but can go as high as 44% in some cases.

Second, your Total Debt Service Ratio (TDSR) is your monthly housing costs plus all other debt (loans, credit cards, lease payments). Lenders prefer that this ratio does not exceed 40% of your family’s gross monthly income but can go as high as 44% for some borrowers.

As part of the mortgage qualification process, your lender will also review other important factors, such as your credit history or credit rating, your employment and the source of your down payment.

What information is needed when applying for a mortgage?

To help your Mortgage Advisor understand your financial situation, you will be asked for documents such as:

  • Income documents (T4, paystub, employment letter and/or Notice of Assessments);
  • Assets: The value of your savings, investments, properties and vehicles you may have;
  • Liabilities: Confirm the balances and monthly payments of your current debts, including loans, leases, credit cards and lines of credit.
  • Real estate: Information regarding real estate owned, such as mortgage statements, property taxes and rental income if applicable.
  • If you’re applying jointly, each of you must bring your own financial information.

Before you sit down with your Mortgage Advisor take a moment to think about your goals, and your ability to manage new debt. Ask yourself how much extra cash you have each month for a loan and if cash flow allows for monthly, bi-weekly or weekly payments.  Once you get to questions such as product choice and rates, you will already be in talks with your Advisor so you will be well- informed to make the right choices for you.


Michael Bolanakis
Home Financing Advisor
Tel: (514) 777-2862 
Fax: (514) 564-2488


Montreal Home Buyers Program Refund Up To $15000

Montreal Home Buyers Program

Montreal mayor Valerie Plante just introduced a new Montreal home buyers Program with refunds up to $15000.00. The mayor is trying to encourage more people to stay on the island by providing some financial support. The downtown Montreal core has not had much to offer for families, especially when it comes to affordability.

The new program has strict and defined criteria:

  • A single buyer purchasing a new development for a maximum price of $225,000 will receive $5,000 from the city.
  • A family buying a new development for a maximum price of $400,000 will receive $10,000.
  • A family purchasing a new property in what’s considered the downtown core would receive $15,000 from the city if the property costs a maximum of $450,000
  • Families purchasing an existing home who spend a maximum of $630,000 will receive between $5,000 and $7,000 back from the city


Although this is an improvement from what currently exists, the downside is that the purchase prices defined in the new plan don’t reflect the current Montreal home or condo prices for families looking to purchase in the downtown core. The good news is that the plan is for all buyers, not just new ones. The plan goes into effect June 1st, those that purchase in May can still be eligible.

Inspect to Sell

Inspect to Sell

Inspect to sell and why it’s important!

When it comes to selling your property the last person you’d probably take advice from is a home inspector. But in light of what I’m about to tell you maybe I should be the first one you come to.

Have you ever sold something that you knew nothing about. Or at least very little?

Chances are the answer is no. When you sell a car, you know when the last time you did an oil change was, how old the tires are, and when the breaks were last checked. That old iPhone that’s been in your drawer for the last year. Sell it on Facebook market place and you have answers to whatever questions come your way. How big is the hard drive, iOS update, whatever.

So why are so many people, virtually everybody in fact, selling their homes blind… it boggles my mind! Sure, you love your house, and you may know when the roof was done, the age of the hot water tank, when the roof was done and if there’s ever been a leak in the basement. But I can assure you that a home inspector will find something you didn’t know. So wouldn’t you rather that home inspector be on your side? Letting you know all those things that can effect your sale before they effect your sale?

Seems like a no brained to me!

Think about this, and this isn’t a limited example, your roof was done a few years ago and your think all is well. A buyer comes in and gets it inspected and he finds that the roof is actually damaged for whatever reason.. let’s say those 80 to 90 km gusts of wind we sometimes get. Whatever the reason something like that can and does effect the outcome of real estate sales all over the country. It might not shatter the deal to a million pieces, but the buyer now has leverage over you…
The number one rule in negotiating to win, is always have the better hand. In my humble opinion, not getting your home inspected before it even goes on the market is a recipe for disaster.


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Montreal Real Estate Performance March 2018

Info via Centris

Montreal Real Estate Performance March 2018

Montreal real estate performance March 2018 according to Centris, showed the 37th consecutive increase in sales and the best month of March in eight years.  Sales on the Island of Montréal were up +7 per cent from March 2016.  While sales of single-family homes remained unchanged, condominiums stole the spotlight with a strong sales increase of 19 per cent.

Mathieu Cousineau, President of the GMREB Board of Directors said “The condominium resale market is booming in the Montréal area.”

Prices of single-family homes across the Montréal CMA were up 5% from March of last year.  More than half of all condominiums sold for more than $240,000. Plexes registered the largest increase, as they enjoyed a prices jump of 9% to reach $495,000.

Part of the story behind these numbers is about the 16% drop in inventory compared to one year earlier

Watch the video:

View or download the complete report


For more reports visit my Montreal Real Estate Market Reports page.

Montreal Real Estate Market Update as of April 2018

Montreal Real Estate Market Update as of April 2018

Montreal Real Estate Market Update as of April 2018 begins with RBC’s recent housing report. The headline of the report says it all. “The payback continues: home sales fell again in February following regulatory change on Jan 1”. According to this report and the latest statistics, it appears as if the new mortgage tightening rules have been extremely effective. February sales across some of the major provinces in Canada show a significant decline in sales. The only exception is Montreal, which posted a 7.7% increase.

Read the full report or download it here.



The Financial Post just posted an article about the Toronto housing markets latest trends;

Toronto home prices see biggest drop in almost 30 years

March sales down 40% from a year ago, the lowest since 2009

Read the full article here:

RBC also released a new report on housing affordability, read or download it here:


Canada’s New Mortgage Rules

Canada’s New Mortgage Rules

Canada’s new mortgage rules and what they mean for you! With the advent of Canada’s hot housing markets, the Canadian and provincial governments introduced new stop gap measures to cool down the market. Provincially, both Vancouver and Ontario implemented the 15% foreign buyers tax. At the Federal level, as of January 1st 2018, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (Canada’s banking regulator) introduced three new rules on mortgage lending.

First of the three new rules, is the new “stress test“. All prospective home buyers, even those with a down payment of over 20%  will now have to undergo a new minimum qualifying rate. In the past, only buyers that had a down payment of less than 20% had to go through the stress test.  The stress test entails that potential home buyers need to qualify for a mortgage at a rate that is the greater of two indicators: either 200 basis points (2%) higher than the mortgage rate they qualified for, or the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate.

Although a higher calculation is used for qualifying purposes, the mortgage payment will be based upon the agreed upon rate offered by the lender.

Enhanced Loan-To-Value Measurements

Enhanced loan to value or LVT ratio is a number that describes the size of a loan compared to the value of the property. Canadian big banks are required to ensure that the LVT is reflective of current market value conditions. The LTV ratio is used to determine how risky a loan is; the higher the LTV ratio the greater the risk.

If you apply for a mortgage with a LTV ratio of 75% and the lender can only approve you for 50%, in the past, the lender could partner with a second lender for the additional 25%, to get a complete LTV loan of 75%. Traditional lenders are no longer allowed to do this.

What this means for prospective home buyers?

The purpose of the imposed stress test, which is now being applied to all home buyers, was created to ensure that borrowers could afford to pay their mortgage at a higher rate. The new rules mean you can afford less house for your income – it’s estimated that it could lower a family’s purchasing power by up to 21%.

For homeowners that want to refinance a mortgage, the new mortgage lending rules will be more difficult to negotiate. The stress test applies to mortgage renewals as well as new mortgages, unless the borrower renews with their existing lenders.

Current Mortgage Rates

Have questions? For more information, reach out and get in touch!


Wellness Communities Are A Multibillion-Dollar Real Estate Trend

Wellness Communities Are A Multibillion-Dollar Real Estate Trend

Our homes are the latest frontier for wellness

Wellness communities are  not only a multibillion-dollar real estate trend, but they’re here to stay. A recent 2018 research report from the Global Wellness Institute entitled Build well to live well: Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate & Communities, is the first research report to size and analyze the global and regional wellness lifestyle real estate and communities market. “The 150+ page report finds that real estate and communities that intentionally put people’s health at the center of design, creation and redevelopment are the next frontier in residential real estate. The global market is growing fast: over 6% a year from 2015-2022. Consumer demand for healthy homes is outstripping supply: in the U.S., for example, there are an astonishing 1.3 million potential buyers each year but with a pipeline of 335 projects – and that pipeline leads the world.”

First, let’s start with some definitions. Wellness lifestyle real estate is defined as “homes that are proactively designed and built to support the holistic health of their residents.” Wellness community is defined as “a group of people living in close proximity who share common goals, interests, and experiences in proactively pursuing wellness across its many dimensions.” There is a conscious shift from “me” to “we:” where there is ” an awareness that our individual health and wellbeing is intrinsically linked to our broader environment and the people around us.” Providing for a broader perspective that extends to the environmental, community, and economic/financial health and wellbeing of the community.

The 2017 Global Wellness Economy Monitor noted 7 Future Trends Driving Development:

1. Blurring the lines between home, work, and leisure
2. Making healthy homes affordable
3. Bringing back multigenerational and diverse neighborhoods
4. Catalyzing medical industry clusters and health services to build wellness communities
5. Moving from green to regenerative living
6. Leveraging technologies to create smart-healthy homes and cities
7. Rediscovering hot springs as a wellness living anchor

Watch the video from the 2017 Global Wellness Summit in Palm Beach presenting their research findings:


Key takeaways:

  • Wellness is a $3.7 trillion industry,
  • Residential real estate is the next frontier that will be radically transformed bythe wellness movement
  • Our modern living environment has also created new health risks – sedentary lifestyles, lack of physical activity, poor diet, stress
  • Wellness lifestyle real estate  represents a shift that explicitly puts people’s wellness at the center of the conception, design, creation, and redevelopment of our homes and neighborhoods
  • We can expect smarter use of technologies and innovations, new metrics to capture the Return on Wellness (ROW)
  • Buildings and infrastructure are as important as immunizations; pocket parks, paths, and plants are as beneficial as
    prescriptions; friends and neighbors are more important than Fitbits
  • Demand for wellness lifestyle real estate and communities is rapidly accelerating. Consumers are seeking out healthy places to live and are ready to pay for them
  • Wellness lifestyle real estate is poised to go from niche tomainstream. Eventually, building for wellness will become the norm.
  • GWI projects that the wellness real estate sector will expand by 6% annually in the next several years, growing to $180 billion by 2022
  • Wellness lifestyle real estate developments  are achieving home sales price premiums averaging 10-25% (but these can range widely from 5% to 55%). One reason for this premium is that there is not enough supply to meet demand!

Wellness Real Estate is a $134 billion global industry in 2017  with over 740 residential projects in the pipeline, across 34 countries


Download and read the full report:

Access the powerpoint presentation:

For more information please reach out and contact me, I’d love to hear from you!



The Latest Montreal Real Estate Sales February 2018

The Latest Montreal Real Estate Sales February 2018

The latest Montreal real estate sales February 2018 shows a 5 per cent increase compared to February of last year and the best month of February since 2012. Five of the six main areas of the Montréal CMA registered an increase in sales.  The Island of Montréal posted significant increases of +5 per cent.

Condominiums sales increased by 14 per cent in February, single family home sales +1% and plexes +3%. The median single-family home prices across the Montréal CMA was $310,000 in February, up 6 per cent compared to February 2017. The price of condominiums grew by 5% as half of all units sold were over 250,000$.  The median price pf plexes reached $481,500.

The cited reason for these market conditions is the tighter supply. with the inventory of active listings down 17% compared to last year.

Information Via Centris and QFREB

View the download the report


Montreal Investment Property Comparison

Montreal Investment Property Comparison

Montreal investment property comparison, determining which is the best type of property for you. Buying investment property is very personalized as each investor has their unique needs, budget and comfort level with renovations and maintenance. We’ll have a look at the four different types of investment property, revenue properties (duplexes triplex etc), condos, townhouses and single family homes. Multifamily is a specialized asset class that will be covered in it’s own blog post.

Let’s look at the Pros & Cons of each type of property:

Single Family Homes


Highest potential for appreciation,

Private form of ownership with freedom to do what you want with your property,

Larger green space such as a backyard and / or garden,

Spaciousness with multi bedrooms,

Great option for families and thus potential to receive high rent yields.


Expensive asset class to get into, especially in some of the more desirable neighborhoods

Likely to need some renovations which mean extra time and cost

Extensive maintenance and upkeep required

Repairs such a new roof or furnace system can be costly.

*  As an investor, if you live in Quebec and are not averse to the high maintenance demands of a home, especially with our Montreal winters, then this might be a great investment. If you’re a non resident, this type of investment would require some property management. My recommendations would be to buy in a thriving and high demand neighborhood, close to transportation and some great school options.



More affordable than a single family home

Although it may not be as large as a detached home, they are still quite a bit more spacious than a traditonal condo apartment

Great option for families and will yield higher rent values than traditional condos.

Less maintenance than a detached house, some townhouses are classified as condos, making some of the common areas a shareable expense.

Private backyard area


More maintenance than a traditional apartment condo,

Higher repair costs than traditional condos

*  Super option to consider with the same recommendations as listed above in the single family homes category. If you live in Quebec and are not averse to maintenance especially with our Montreal winters, then this could be a great investment. If you’re a non resident, this type of investment would require some property management. Buy in a thriving and high demand neighborhood, close to transportation and great schools.

Revenue Property


Depending on the cap rate and rental yields, ideally your tenants can be paying off the property and you cash flow positive

If you’re living in your investment, the rent from your tenant can be substantially subsidizing your mortgage payment.

Good opportunity for appreciating over time, especially while the asset is ideally paying for itself


As a landlord, you’re responsible for the maintenance and repairs

Can require renovations to actualize it’s revenue potential

*   Plexes are an extremely popular investment here in Montreal. They’re in high demand and Montreal is strong in this type of property option. If you’re looking to live in the property, the advantage is having your tenant (s) pay off  a portion of your mortgage. Again, buy in an desirable, in demand neighborhood like the Mcgill Ghetto, Le Plateau, Rosemont Le Petit Patrie, etc. These neighborhoods also have micro sections with some areas performing better…much will depend on your budget. If you’re not comfortable with renovations and maintenance, this may not be the right type of investment for you.



Most affordable and accessible option. It’s possible to purchase a nice one bedroom condo for 350k, depending on the area

Least amount of maintenance, as the building and it’s common areas are most often professionally managed and overseen by a board of co-owners, depending on the size of the building.

Easy to rent, (ensure that the building rules allow and match your rental needs)

Makes a great pied a terre.

Profitable if held for a minimum of at least 5 years and more


Can have high condo fees

Less living space and storage

Indoor parking, if available, is not automatically included and often has an extra cost.

*  Location, Location, Location! Buy in a fantastic neighborhood where there is a more limited supply. Thankfully, there are many great quartiers to choose from, some up and coming. One of my personal favorites is Old Montreal also known as Vieux Montréal or the Old Port. Bustling areas like Downtown, Old Montreal or Le Plateau are highly walkable and filled with wonderful shops, restaurants, bakeries and fun things to do. Very high condo fees will reduce your return your investment and resale opportunities. If you are a non resident investor or someone who travels alot, it may be prudent to invest in a larger condo building where there is strong and excellent management in place.





Montreal Compared To Toronto & Vancouver Markets

Montreal Compared To Toronto & Vancouver Markets

Montreal compared to Toronto & Vancouver markets, is a quick snapshot of the the three cities in terms of their overall real estate performance. All three cities, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are strikingly different. Montréal is very European in feeling, with old architecture and rich history. The province’s predominant language is French with a small Anglo minority.  Montreal is world renown for it’s awesome food culture! Montréal’s real estate market, due to political instability, endured periods of stagnation, keeping price points much lower than the Toronto & Vancouver markets. Over the past few years, Montréal has been steadily enjoying a golden renaissance in it’s recognition as a world class city!  Enjoy these few articles that make an interesting read;

A Luxury Building Boom Hits Montreal

Square Feet Along the main shopping street in the area of downtown Montreal known as the Golden Square Mile, Sonya Szczygiel and her husband, John Guinto, have sold beaded bracelets made of semiprecious stones for the last five years.

Why Judd Apatow Loves Montreal (You’ll Laugh)

Q. and A. Montreal, which is celebrating its 375th birthday this year, is known for history, food, architecture and the hometown performance group Cirque du Soleil. But for the filmmaker Judd Apatow, whose credits include “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Bridesmaids,” the Canadian city is synonymous with comedy.

Toronto is a fun and urban city, predominantly English speaking. Over time, it became the business hub of Canada. Toronto feels like a big American city and is somewhat like the New York of Canada. It’s taken a while, but the food scene in Toronto has been steadily improving, but it doesn’t quite yet compare to Montreal’s. …Toronto has also experienced exponential growth in it’s real estate market with home price values steadily increasing over many years. The market in fact got so overheated, the provincial government decided to follow Vancouver’s lead and implement a 15% surtax for foreign buyers.

Vancouver, is already differentiated from the other two provinces by being situated on the west coast. It is a gorgeous, coastal seaport city with mountainous views, water and milder winters than Montreal and Toronto. “Vancouver is the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada. with the highest population density in Canada. It also happens to be one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities in Canada. Vancouver’s real estate market was overheating with staggering price growth and a favorite of foreign buyer speculation. The government’s intervention, attempting to cool the hot market led to this Canadian city beccoming the first to implement the foreign buyers tax. The tax imposes an additional property transfer tax of 15% on all residential property purchased by foreign buyers. The new budget of 2018 is expanding the tax.

Cost of Living:


Cost of living in Montreal (Canada) is 21% cheaper than in Vancouver (Canada)
Cost of living in Toronto, (Canada) is 25% more expensive than Montreal


Here is a side-by-side review of some of Canada’s largest cities.

City Toronto Montreal Vancouver Calgary Edmonton Ottawa Winnipeg Halifax
6.0 million 4.0 million 2.4 million 1.4 million 1.3 million 1.3 million 0.8 million 0.4 million
Born Overseas 49% 21% 38% 22% 19% 18% 17% 7%
Visible Minorities 43% 16% 37% 19% 23% 14% 13% 7%
Average House Price
Mid 2016
$710 K $349 K $1008 K $469 K $370 K $374 K $279 K $293 K
Median Employment Income of Families (2014) $77,400 $70,200 $82,100 $110,100 $99,000 $94,000 $73,800 $64,800¹
Median Income
Per Family Household (2014)
$90,800 $82,600 $93,300 $121,200 $105,400 $112,100 $87,300 $76,200¹
Unemployment Rate
Mid 2016
7.2% 6.8% 5.3% 9.5% 8.3% 6.9% 7.4% 9.2%
Violent Crime Rate per 100,000 people (2015) 735 889 1,043 779 1,174 616 1,127 1,095
Crime Severity Index
(2015) *
45.7 59.1 96.2 78.3 101.6 46.5 87.2 62.8

Economic families, two persons or more
* Takes into account the seriousness of crimes reported to the police.
¹ Nova Scotia data used

Chart Source Via

The rental picture across the three cities of Montreal, Toronto & Vancouver

Feb 2018 Rental Rates Via Padmapper

Top 5 Most Expensive Markets

1. Toronto, ON held onto its position as the most expensive city in the nation with one bedroom rent continuing to grow last month, up 2% to $2,060. Two bedrooms saw a similar trend, climbing 1.2% to $2,550.

2. Vancouver, BC saw one bedroom rent fall below the $2,000 threshold again, decreasing 0.5% to $1,990. Two bedrooms stayed flat at $3,200.

3. Burnaby, BC remained third with one bedroom prices increasing 0.7% to $1,440, while two bedrooms saw a 0.9% dip to $2,130. Though fairly flat on a month to month basis, both bedroom types have rents up over 15% since this time last year.

4. Montreal, QC held onto its ranking as fourth. One bedroom rent grew 3.1% to $1,350, while two bedrooms jumped 5.1% to $1,660. One bedroom rent in this city is up over 13% since this time last year.

5. Barrie, ON rounded off the top five list with one bedroom rent increasing 0.8% to $1,270, while two bedrooms dropped 3.1% to $1,560.

Chart and information source via Padmapper

Montreal has three main popular rental categories, students, who want to be close to their universities. Working young professionals who ike to be close to work and transportation, and families looking for great neighborhoods with good walkability, schools, transport and housing features.


Rents in Toronto have now climbed above those of Vancouver, the long-running (and now former) champion of pricey apartments in Canada. A one-bedroom apartment in Toronto now rents out for an average of $2,020, a 15.4-per-cent jump in the space of a year.
Vancouver has been experiencing a real housing crisis, the sky high prices have left most Canadians unable to afford to rent or purchase in their own city. In fact the lack of affordable housing has been a major problem across these three cities….British Columbia in particular is working to address this issue with it’s government’s commitment to create solutions.

Best Places to Live in Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia

Information Source Via Moneysense

Every year Moneysense reviews the best places to live and 2017 was no exception. Have a look at the extensive research Moneysense compiled providing detailed information on the distinct communities and/or neighborhoods across the provinces.


Moneysense’s  profile of the best places to live in Quebec:
Moneysense’s  profile of the best places to live in Ontario:
Moneysense’s  profile of the best places to live in Vancouver:

The Lastest Real Estate Sales Stats In January 2018 For Montreal, Toronto & Vancouver


Information source via Crea  (The Canadian Real Estate Association)
MLS® Home Price Index Benchmark Price
Composite HPI January 2018 Percentage Change vs.
1 month ago 3 months ago 6 months ago 12 months ago 3 years ago 5 years ago
Aggregate $602,100 0.30 0.17 -0.73 7.66 34.70 48.77
Lower Mainland $961,200 0.93 2.07 4.55 18.38 67.10 79.60
Greater Vancouver $1,056,500 0.58 1.36 3.64 16.64 63.05 77.96
Fraser Valley $778,100 1.59 3.56 6.55 22.43 78.11 84.12
Vancouver Island $450,000 1.19 2.56 4.50 19.63 49.26 54.16
Victoria $633,400 1.21 2.10 1.90 14.33 47.39 50.68
Calgary $426,500 -0.20 -1.51 -2.53 -0.46 -6.30 10.78
Regina $279,400 -1.26 -3.32 -5.41 -4.85 -2.19 -9.22
Saskatoon $293,300 -0.59 -2.20 -3.37 -4.10 -7.08 -3.37
Guelph $412,200 -0.75 1.33 -1.84 10.89 35.81 49.92
Oakville-Milton $695,700 1.80 -1.09 -1.51 -1.21 38.25 59.01
Greater Toronto $743,200 -0.04 -0.61 -3.85 5.16 41.99 63.11
Ottawa $370,100 0.18 0.24 1.73 7.17 12.36 13.21
Greater Montreal $330,500 -0.12 0.35 1.30 5.17 10.61 13.25
Greater Moncton $176,700 0.40 0.81 0.87 7.52 15.01 15.81

Via Crea