Canadian sub-prime lenders seek billion-dollar government bailout

An estimated 30,000 mortgages granted to Canadians with poor credit or insufficient incomes at the height of the Canadian housing boom will not be renewed when they mature over the next three years, according to a story on globeinvestor.com. The sub-prime lenders who granted the loans say that the investors who financed buyers at above market interest rates, and in many cases charging add-on fees that many might consider unconscionable, are no longer interested in these investments so they’re calling for full payment at the mortgage maturity date.

Knowing full well that calling these loans will lead to losses, these sub-prime lenders are hard at work using lobbyists to try to convince your government that you ought to be on the hook. Apparently, these are “healthy mortgages” given to individuals with “impeccable payment histories.”  The lenders will be “forced to foreclose on them” if the government doesn’t establish a one billion dollar fund to bail them out.

The effort is cleverly disguised as a bailout of unfortunate homeowners, but hopefully the Canadian people can read between the lines. Apparently, most of these mortgagors would not qualify for financing through a mainstream lender, or for mortgage insurance. As the Canadian Mortgage Trends blog points out, “Makes you wonder how healthy they are if the borrowers can’t re-qualify.”

Ivan Wahl, CEO for Xceed, a sub-prime lender who will call loans on 1,100 Canadians when they come due reportedly said in an interview with the Globe, “The government certainly should step up to the plate to provide some facilities for people who got caught in the crunch.”

It’s clear what a win this proposal would be for these investors who would land on their feet with every penny due after milking this risky scheme for all it was worth. As sad as it would be for those homeowners who took these loans and lived up to their agreement, the taxpayer should not be on the hook for these mortgages. The mortgages should be dealt with in the manner prescribed within the agreement. Some people will lose their homes. That’s a harsh reality of these types of risky ventures. For those that have sufficient equity, the months ahead should provide some strong selling opportunities. For those who are in for more than the home is worth, let’s send that loss back where it belongs, to those who cooked up the hair brained scheme in the first place.

Homeowners that have been notified that their mortgage will not be renewed should immediately explore their options. Can you re-finance with another lender? Is there enough equity in the home that you may be able to sell the property? See a lawyer who understands foreclosure to find out what rights you have under the law.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Real estate geeks can follow our daily updates on Twitter @norm_fisher.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Just how big a problem are subprime mortgages in Canada?

A story titled, “Canada’s dirty subprime secret,” appears in today’s Globe and Mail and claims that Canadian leaders are simply wrong about the extent to which the subprime mortgage mess will affect Canadians. According to the Globe’s report, it’s a bigger problem than we might have expected and its effects are already being felt in British Columbia and Alberta where “lenders are foreclosing on the homes of overextended borrowers at an alarming pace.”

Since the subprime mortgage meltdown in the United States, Canadian leaders have assured the public that a similar tidal wave of foreclosures can’t hit here. They have cited the prudence and market dominance of Canada’s five most prominent banks, the conservatism of Canadian consumers and the tiny, 7-per-cent market share of subprime lenders, which is much lower than their 22-per-cent market share in the United States. Just four days ago in a speech, Prime Minister Harper said: “We have avoided the extreme of the unregulated, or barely regulated, financial and mortgage industries that has caused such grief around the world.”

However, The Globe’s investigation shows that while Canada’s real estate sector hasn’t suffered as much as its counterpart in the United States, the Prime Minister and others have grossly underestimated the impact of that small portion of subprime lenders. Until recently, companies who touted their low standards with slogans such as “We Say Yes When The Banks Say No!” and “No Income Verification” proliferated here.

Read the Globe and Mail story here.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

U.S. Federal Reserve to tighten lending rules

CNN: The Federal Reserve is expected to overhaul lending rules on Monday in an effort to prevent another mortgage crisis.

Good idea Ben! It would be foolhardy to encourage a second mortgage crisis while you’re busy dealing with the first one.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @SaskatoonHomes.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

U.S. foreclosure rates see massive jump and worst not yet over

CNN Money is reporting today that the U.S. home foreclosure rate “spiked 112%” in early 2008, and the worst of it likely isn’t over, as some $362 billion dollars worth of adjustable rate mortgages will “reset” this year.

More than 155,000 families have already lost their homes this year. Approximately 1 in 194 U.S. households have received some sort of foreclosure filing.

Nevada is the hardest hit state with 1 in 54 households received foreclosure filings. Stockton, California tops the list for foreclosures in a U.S. municipality. Approximately 1 in 30 homes have received foreclosure notices.

Read the CNN Money article here.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @SaskatoonHomes.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

City of Cleveland sues sub-prime mortgage lenders for negligence

City of Cleveland sues sub-prime mortgage lenders for negligenceThe City of Cleveland is suing 21 mortgage lenders for damages that they claim to have incurred as a result of the U.S. sub-prime mortgage fallout. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson compares the resulting chaos to “organized crime activity on neighborhoods, cities and individual lives, sucking equity out” and says that city has been devastated by the negligence of lenders who signed off on deals they know they shouldn’t have made.


Cleveland, one of America’s poorest urban areas has seen over 7,000 foreclosures through both 2006 and 2007. In some areas of the city entire blocks of houses are abandoned, boarded up, and stripped of anything valuable. Most often, they ultimately meet a wrecking ball at the tax payer’s expense.


The City is claiming hundreds of millions in damages which result from lost tax revenue, the cost of demolished abandoned homes and the added cost of policing neighbourhoods which have become dangerous due to high rates of abandonment.


Mayor Jackson says, “We have to hold accountable those who are responsible.”


CNN report here.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @SaskatoonHomes.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate