The major lenders in Canada have stringent eligibility criteria for mortgage loans. The credit score is the most important consideration they make when determining whether to give a mortgage. However, you could still miss out on a mortgage, even with a good credit score, if you are self-employed. While there are self-employed mortgages by major banks, banks often require that you provide proof of income going back 2 years, which is not always easy. Subprime mortgages are also sometimes the only option available to those with low income, non-traditional incomes such as seasonal income and commission income, foreign residents, and those with high debt levels.
If you have been rejected by an A (prime) lender for whichever reason, do not lose hope. There are B (Subprime) lenders and private or syndicate lenders that can still make your journey toward homeownership a reality. Mortgages offered by B (Subprime) lenders are called subprime mortgages.
Are subprime mortgages still used today? Despite the higher interest rates, you will be surprised that 12% of Canadian mortgages are subprime mortgages (according to TransUnion Canada statistics). The statistics also show that a third of Canadians’ credit scores are “below prime.”
While A-Lenders such as the major banks have to follow strict government regulations, subprime mortgage lenders do not have to follow government regulations. For instance, subprime mortgage Canada lenders can offer long amortization periods of up to 40 years and LTV (loan-to-value) of 90% (or a down payment of as little as 10%).
Below is a list of B mortgage lenders in Canada. Note that some of these lenders, such as CMLS Financial, also double up as A-lenders.
In this article, we shall look at what subprime mortgages are and how they are different from prime mortgages. We shall discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these mortgages and see the services offered by B lenders. You can go directly to a B lender or enlist the services of a mortgage broker for assistance. We shall discuss the merits of hiring a pro for the job and the process of getting a subprime mortgage through a mortgage broker.
A subprime mortgage, also known as a “B lender” mortgage, is a mortgage given to individuals who cannot qualify for prime or “A lender” mortgages. These mortgages usually come with a higher interest rate compared to what is offered by “A lenders” due to the increased risk. They are meant for:
When most people hear about subprime mortgages, they immediately think of the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis that started in the U.S. and spread to the rest of the world. This still makes many would-be beneficiaries shy away from getting a subprime mortgage.
The subprime mortgage crisis in the U.S. was primarily caused by lenders giving mortgages to borrowers who could not afford to make their monthly repayments. Hedge funds and banks were making a killing by bundling these subprime mortgages into MBS (Mortgage-Backed Securities), which were then “insured” with CDS (Credit Default Swaps) and sold to investors. The majority of the mortgages had adjustable interest rates, starting with low initial rates, which would rise with time, leading to a high default rate. The failure to vet borrowers, the variable interest rates, the use of MBS sale incomes to get more borrowers, and the high demand for MBSs created a time bomb. The bomb finally burst when the housing bubble, characterized by home prices tumbling and foreclosures increasing, started.
Canada was lucky to escape the crisis, mostly due to the more stringent mortgage regulations in the country. Mortgage LTV (loan-to-value) ratios in Canada were much lower compared to the U.S. While the median LTV of new subprime mortgages in the U.S. was 100% in 2005, only 6% of Canadian mortgages had LTV over 90%. Subprime lending in Canada remains properly regulated, and there is little cause for alarm.
Are subprime mortgages still available? Although there has been a lot of stigma against subprime mortgages since the 2008 U.S. foreclosure crisis, subprime mortgages are still popular, with 12% of all mortgages in Canada being subprime mortgages.
What was the problem with subprime mortgages? The 2008 subprime mortgage crisis began with rock-bottom interest rates combined with lax lending standards. This created a housing bubble. The bubble burst in 2008, leaving banks with useless subprime mortgage investments (collateralized debt obligations or CDOs and mortgage-backed securities or MBSs) worth trillions of dollars. This caused an unprecedented recession that cost many people their homes, jobs, and savings.
The most impacted economies were the U.S., Ireland, Greece, Portugal, and Spain. Canada’s subprime mortgages have not experienced similar issues, mostly due to the stricter regulations in the country. Canadian banks have always been leery about investing in highly leveraged and complex instruments that are tied to subprime mortgages.
Canadians who are denied mortgages by prime lenders like chartered banks are credit unions have the option of getting mortgages from subprime mortgage lenders.
Other than the credit score, A lenders have other eligibility criteria. These include:
Proof of income stability and meeting debt-to-income ratio threshold: If your income is not stable or you are heavily in debt, lenders will see you as being a default risk. B lenders can lend to individuals with poor DTI ratios. They are also able to lend to individuals with unconventional income sources, such as freelance income, commission income, and disability income.
20% down payment: A lenders usually require a down payment of 20% of the home’s purchase price. Any down payment below 20% requires CMHC insurance. If you do not have this amount and do not qualify for a down payment assistance program (DPAP) such as a first-homebuyers’ incentive, a subprime lender is your best option since they take as low as a 10% down payment.
Proof of income: Self-employed individuals have to prove their income for 2 years. This means those who are newly self-employed cannot get mortgages from A lenders.
The stress test: You must prove that you are able to afford 2% over the current Bank of Canada 5-year benchmark rate.
Subprime lenders in Canada offer terms that stretch to even 40 years. This means you will spend a big chunk of your life making mortgage payments.
Given the higher cost of subprime mortgages and the fact that the loan helps improve your credit score over time, consider starting off with a subprime mortgage and then transferring your mortgage to a prime lender once you have fixed your credit score.
...pick the one thats right for you.
There are 3 options when it comes to subprime mortgage rates in Canada. What works for one person may not work for the other. We will help you determine what works best for you.
What is a subprime bank? There are many subprime lenders operating in Canada. They include Canadian Mortgages Inc. (CMI), Bridgewater Bank, Effort Trust, CMLS Financial, CWB Optimum Mortgage, Fisgard Asset Management, and MCAP Mortgage Corporation. Others are Haventree Bank, First Swiss Mortgage, Marathon Mortgage, Mercury Mortgages, XMC Mortgage, New Haven Mortgage, and Secure Capital Mortgage, among others. Different lenders have different requirements. We will help you find the lender who is best suited for your particular circumstances.
The characteristics of a subprime mortgage borrower are a poor credit score, a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio greater than 0.5, poor credit history, bankruptcy in the past 2 years, foreclosure, judgment, repossession, or charge-off in the past 2 years, a retiree, a new business owner, or a self-employed individual. However, this is not to say they give mortgages to everyone who comes knocking. We will help you meet the eligibility criteria of subprime mortgage lenders. These include:
One of the most important factors any lender considers, be it a prime or a subprime lender, is your credit score. One of the ways to improve your credit score is to do debt consolidation. Debt consolidation simplifies your payments, allows you to pay off debt sooner, and can lower your interest rate. Consolidation options include consumer proposals, debt settlement programs, debt management plans, and refinance with debt consolidation loans.
Yes. Although there has been a stigma around subprime mortgages since the 2007/2008 subprime mortgage crisis (housing bubble) in the U.S., subprime mortgages are still popular, with 12% of all mortgages in the country being subprime.
The major drawback of subprime mortgages is their higher interest rates compared to prime mortgages. The higher interest rates are because lenders have to take greater risks with borrowers who are less creditworthy. Subprime mortgages also have a longer amortization period (40-year amortization period is not uncommon), and the upfront costs are usually higher.
Subprime loans allow Canadians who would otherwise not get loans from prime lenders to fulfill their dreams of home ownership. These mortgages also help improve the borrower’s credit score. The cons of subprime mortgages are the higher interest rates, the more expensive upfront cost, and the longer amortization period.
Subprime mortgage interest rates vary from one lender to the other and from one borrower to the other. You expect to pay between 6.99% and 11.99% today, but this rate may go higher if your financial situation is very bad. There is a cap beyond which lenders cannot charge you.
Subprime mortgage buyers are Canadians who have poor credit scores (typically below 680), individuals who are self-employed and cannot provide proof of income, and those with unconventional incomes, such as those earning freelance and commission incomes. Others are individuals with high debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, new Canadians who are yet to work on their credit score, individuals with low incomes, and individuals who are buying unconventional homes such as boathouses, mobile homes, and tiny homes. If you have had a consumer proposal, a debt management plan, a bankruptcy, a foreclosure, a judgment, or a repossession, a subprime mortgage allows you to get a loan without waiting for the 2-year waiting period.
Yes. A subprime mortgage is a mortgage just like any other. You will still need to provide a down payment, and you will still need to prove to the lender that you are able to meet your repayment obligations.
Yes. Subprime mortgages play an important part in the Canadian economy as they help people who would otherwise never own homes to do so. The industry is heavily regulated to reduce the risk of a foreclosure crisis, as experienced in the U.S. in 2008. There are also interest rate caps put in place to ensure lenders are not predatory.
If you do not qualify for a prime mortgage, a subprime mortgage is your best bet. As you service your mortgage, your credit score will improve, and you can then transfer your mortgage to a prime lender for better terms.
Considering that these loans are reserved for individuals with poor credit scores and who have other financial problems, such as a history of bankruptcy and non-conventional incomes, these loans are riskier. Lenders protect themselves by charging higher interest rates. It is important to note that the Canadian subprime mortgage market was not hit even in 2008 due to the strong regulatory environment. The regulator continues to have stringent controls to date.
The term “subprime” indicates that the borrower is less creditworthy and therefore is at a higher risk of defaulting on a mortgage. The major basis for this is the borrower’s credit score.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) puts the minimum credit score requirement at 680 – anything below this is considered subprime. Visit Equifax or TransUnion to confirm your current score.
To qualify for a subprime mortgage, you will need to verify your identity, provide proof of income, and provide basic financial information such as bank letters. You will need to pay a down payment, provide details of the property you want to buy, and pay closing costs.
Just like with prime mortgages, most borrowers either go for fixed mortgages or adjustable-rate mortgages (ARM). Fixed mortgages are usually longer, going up to 40 years, while ARMs usually go up to 30 years. There are also interest-only mortgages, where you first pay off the interest before you can start paying the principal.
You first need to ensure you meet the general eligibility criteria. You will need to prepare all the documentation before you visit potential lenders. The eligibility criteria include personal information, including your SIN and ID, proof of employment or income, bank statements, and other documents showing your assets and liabilities. You will also need to provide a down payment and details of the property you wish to buy. At Turkin Mortgage, we will assist you in getting all the relevant documents and information in place.
Once we understand your particular requirements through the initial consultative session, we will then assist you in picking the interest rate that best suits you. Available subprime mortgage rates include fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), and interest-only mortgages. Each option has pros and cons worth careful consideration.
There are several subprime mortgage lenders available to choose from. We will match you with the most suitable lender based on your particular needs and circumstances. If your credit score is too poor or you have other financial issues, you need a professional who has a relationship with different lenders to increase your chances of getting a mortgage at a good rate. Hiring us offers unparalleled convenience since you don’t have to go from one lender to the other looking for a mortgage loan, and it ensures you get a credible lender.
We understand that some clients’ financial woes are too bad, even for subprime lending. We offer services that help clients improve their financial situations before they can go for subprime mortgages. Our debt consolidation service helps you repay your debts quicker, leading to lower interest rates, and it makes debt repayment convenient.
On our website, you will be able to see the rates that different providers are offering at a glance. We also have different calculators to help you determine how much you expect to pay with different types of interest rates over different amortization periods.
We are based in Toronto but serve clients in the Greater Toronto Area. Other than helping you with subprime mortgages, we also offer other services like mortgage refinance, mortgage transfer, home equity takeout, and U.S. mortgages for Canadians, among others. We have a good track record, and our rates are very competitive. You stand to win an iPad or $1,000 when you close with us. Call us today at +1 866 921 8890 to start your journey towards getting a subprime mortgage. Our agents are available around the clock.
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