What is a mortgage stress test?


Everyone in Ontario applying for a residential mortgage has to pass what is known as a stress test. This is also the case for people who are refinancing their current home with a different lender, as well as those who are seeking a homeowner line of credit. 

In a nutshell, a stress test is a method used by lenders to determine if a buyer can qualify for a certain mortgage amount. Because of the fluctuating nature of mortgage rates, the Canadian government sets a minimum qualifying rate at a higher level than the prime rate to evaluate a buyer’s ability to make payments, even if the interest rate goes up.

How exactly does this work? Well, if you go to a lender for a mortgage, you will be offered an interest rate that will apply to that loan. However, it’s important to note that the lender will use a rate higher than that to assess how much they could approve you for. This is because a mortgage is a loan for a substantial amount of money and the lender is trying to assess if there is a risk that you may default on your payment if the interest rate goes up. 

In simple terms, they essentially evaluate whether you will be able to keep making payments if interest rates go up to a certain level. For example, if you are getting a mortgage at 5 per cent, they might see if you could manage interest at 7 per cent. Although it’s more complex, that is what the test basically does. 

To determine your eligibility the lender will look at several things, including the available down payment, the mortgage amount, current interest rates, the mortgage amortization period, your household income, and any debts you may have. They do this to make two critical calculations:

    • Gross debt service (GDS) ratio:the percentage of your income – before deductions – that you will use to pay for things like your mortgage, property tax and utilities.
    • Total debt service (TDS) ratio:any debt you may be carrying, such as credit cards, car loans, and student loans.

Rising interest rates are causing the stress test’s qualifying rate for a mortgage to increase. Given that the stress test is now harder to pass, it is likely that fewer people will qualify for a mortgage, and the amount they are approved for will also be lower. 

If you are in the market for a home and would like to improve your stress test results, try to save as much as possible to increase your down payment, and reduce or clear any debts you may have. This will lower your GDS and TDS ratios and put you in a better position to get approved for a mortgage.

To calculate how big a mortgage you can comfortably afford, I would recommend leveraging online resources, such as the federal government’s mortgage qualifier tool. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation also offers a number of homebuying calculators for mortgages, affordability and debt service that are worth checking out. 

For any specific questions, I would suggest speaking with a financial expert or mortgage broker. 

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email

This column is for general information purposes only and is not meant as legal or professional advice on real estate transactions.

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at


Holiday Cheer, Decorating Ideas and Inspiration?!

Instagram:  Christmastour.stouffville

Join the Stouffville Christmas Home Tour on line this year!

There is a collection of holiday decorating, tips and tricks from designers and an online auction.

Home for Christmas Tour Stouffville gives back 100% of donations to two very important local charities.

This house tour initiated in 2011, in 2014 the Tour Committee decided to focus on the promotion and support of two important children's charities:  The Jennifer Ashleigh  Children's Charity and The Able Network.


National Statistics

Canadian home sales and prices set records again in September

Ottawa, ON, October 15, 2020 – Statistics released today by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) show national home sales set another record in September 2020.


  • National home sales rose 0.9% on a month-over-month (m-o-m) basis in September.

  • Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was up 45.6% year-over-year (y-o-y).

  • The number of newly listed properties fell back by 10.2% from August to September.

  • The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) rose 1.3% m-o-m and was up 10.3% y-o-y.

  • The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average sale price posted a 17.5% y-o-y gain in September.


National Residential StatisticsNational Residential StatisticsNational Residential StatisticsNational Residential StatisticsNational Residential StatisticsNational Residential Statistics

Home sales recorded over Canadian MLS® Systems edged up a further 0.9% between August and September, raising them to yet another new all-time monthly record. (Chart A)

The small change from August to September had under its surface a mixed bag of results with about 60% of local markets seeing gains. Increases in Ottawa, Greater Vancouver, Vancouver Island, Calgary and Hamilton-Burlington sales were mostly offset by declines in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Montreal; although, activity in the two largest Canadian markets is still historically very strong.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity posted a 45.6% y-o-y gain in September. It was a new record for the month of September by a margin of some 20,000 transactions, the equivalent of a

normal month of September with an entire month of December tacked on. Sales activity was up in almost all Canadian housing markets compared to September 2019.

Chart of interest A

Chart A

So far this year, some 402,578 homes have traded hands over Canadian MLS® Systems, up 5.8% from the first nine months of 2019.

“Many Canadian housing markets are continuing to see historically strong levels of activity as we enter into the fall market of this very strange year,” stated Costa Poulopoulos, Chair of CREA. "Along with historic supply shortages in a number of regions, fierce competition among buyers has been putting upward pressure on home prices. Much of that was pent-up demand from the spring that came forward as our economies opened back up over the summer. With second wave worries growing, we will remain vigilant in adhering to government and health officials’ directives to keep our clients safe. Now as always, REALTORS® remain the best source for information and guidance when negotiating the sale or purchase of a home,” continued Poulopoulos.

“This is starting to sound like a broken record (about records being broken), but Canadian home sales and prices set records once again in September amid record-tight overall market conditions, as they did in July and August,” said Shaun Cathcart, CREA’s Senior Economist. “Reasons have been cited for this – pent-up demand from the lockdowns, Government support to date, ultra-low interest rates, and the composition of job losses to name a few. I would also remind everyone that sales were almost setting records and markets were almost this tight back in February so we were already close to where things are now, as far away from Goldilocks territory as we had ever been before,” added Cathcart. “But I think

another wildcard factor to consider, which has no historical precedent, is the value of one’s home during this time. Home has been our workplace, our kids’ schools, the gym, the park and more. Personal space is more important than ever.”

The number of newly listed homes fell back by 10.2% in September, reversing the surge to record levels seen in August. New supply was down in two-thirds of local markets, led by declines in and around Vancouver and the GTA.

With sales edging up in September and new supply dropping back, the national sales-to-new listings ratio tightened to 77.2% – the highest in almost 20 years and the third-highest monthly level on record for the measure.

Based on a comparison of sales-to-new listings ratio with long-term averages, about a third of all local markets were in balanced market territory, measured as being within one standard deviation of their long-term average. The other two-thirds of markets were above long-term norms, in many cases well above.

The number of months of inventory is another important measure of the balance between sales and the supply of listings. It represents how long it would take to liquidate current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

There were just 2.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of September 2020 – the lowest reading on record for this measure. At the local market level, a number of Ontario markets are now into weeks of inventory rather than months. Much of the province of Ontario is close to or under

one month of inventory.

The Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI) rose by 1.3% m-o-m in September 2020.

CREA is pleased to welcome a large number of Ontario markets to the MLS® HPI this month. The list includes Bancroft and Area, Brantford Region, Cambridge, Grey Bruce Owen Sound, Huron Perth, Kawartha Lakes, Kitchener-Waterloo, the Lakelands (Muskoka-Haliburton-Orillia-Parry Sound), London & St. Thomas, Mississauga, North Bay, Northumberland Hills, Peterborough and the Kawarthas, Quinte & District, Simcoe & District, Southern Georgian Bay, Tillsonburg District and Woodstock-Ingersoll.

Of the 39 markets now tracked by the index, all but two were up between August and September.

The non-seasonally adjusted Aggregate Composite MLS® HPI was up 10.3% on a y-o-y basis in September – the biggest gain since August 2017. (Chart B)

Chart of interest B

Chart B

The largest y-o-y gains in the 22-23% range were recorded in Bancroft and Area, Quinte & District, Ottawa and Woodstock-Ingersoll.

This was followed by y-o-y price gains in the range of 15-20% in Barrie, Hamilton, Niagara, Guelph, Brantford, Cambridge, Grey Bruce-Owen Sound, Huron Perth, the Lakelands, London & St. Thomas, North Bay, Simcoe & District, Southern Georgian Bay, Tillsonburg District and Montreal.

Prices were up in the 10-15% range compared to last September in the GTA, Oakville-Milton, Kawartha Lakes, Kitchener-Waterloo, Mississauga, Northumberland Hills, Peterborough and the Kawarthas, and Greater Moncton.

Meanwhile, y-o-y price gains were around 5% in Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, the Okanagan Valley, Regina, Saskatoon and Quebec City. Gains were about half that in Victoria and elsewhere on Vancouver Island, as well and in St. John’s, and prices were more or less flat y-o-y in Calgary and Edmonton.

The MLS® HPI provides the best way to gauge price trends because averages are strongly distorted by

changes in the mix of sales activity from one month to the next.

The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average home price set another record in September 2020,

topping the $600,000 mark for the first time ever at more than $604,000. This was up 17.5% from the same month last year.

The national average price is heavily influenced by sales in Greater Vancouver and the GTA, two of Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets. Excluding these two markets from calculations cuts around $125,000 from the national average price.


TRREB Statement Regarding Racism and Inclusion

Racism against any group is unacceptable. Recent incidents of anti-Black racism have caused shock and outrage worldwide. The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) is equally concerned about anti-Black racism and acts of racism against any group in our society.

TRREB is proud to serve a membership of over 56,000 that is a microcosm of Greater Toronto Area (GTA) residents. Our Members, leadership and TRREB staff reflect and serve communities made up of individuals from diverse ethnic, racial and multicultural backgrounds.

TRREB firmly believes that the GTA's diversity is one of its greatest strenghts. It requires us to collectively work together to preserve this.

Please do your part to embrace inclusion. We promise to do ours. It is up to all of us to listen to those whose lives are different from our own, and to do our part to ensure and reflect justice, compassion, and empathy.

We are professionals connecting people, property and communities.


HOME Buyer/SellerTM
issue 3

Dealing with Stress when Selling Your Home


Let’s face it. Planning events, even exciting ones like an overseas vacation, can be stressful. So, it’s not surprising that some homeowners — even those thrilled about moving — can slip into “worry mode” when putting their property up for sale.

Unfortunately, this anxiety can make the process of selling an unpleasant experience. Who wants that? So here are some things you can do to reduce selling stress and enjoy the adventure.

  • Understand the selling process. The more you know about the steps involved in selling your home, the less mysterious — and, therefore, less stressful — it will be.

  • Give yourself the time you need. Feeling rushed and stressed comes from trying to do too much in too little time. Even if you’re selling quickly, it’s important to block off sufficient time in your calendar for the things you need to do.

  • Take care of yourself. As television psychologist Dr. Phil often points out, you can’t give what you don’t have. When it comes to selling your home, that means you need to eat well and stay healthy, so you have the energy you need throughout the process.

  • Make your home attractive to buyers. That not only means tidying up and doing a little home staging, it also means setting the right listing price. Nothing eliminates the stress of selling more than having flocks of qualified buyers interested in your home.

Get the help you need. You don’t have to do everything on your own. That’s why working with The Antrobus Team is so advantageous. We take care of the many details for our clients so that they can enjoy
the journey.

Sure, there are going to be a few stressful moments. However, the process of listing and selling your property, while looking for your next dream home, can be an exciting experience.

Let us help you. Call today.  416.230.0929 Rodeen Antrobus-Broker


Think, Act... Live!

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” Walt Disney
“Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” Will Rogers
“If you are working on something exciting... you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” Steve Jobs


Speed up your home sale by preparing your home ahead of time using the following tips.  Your home inspection will go smoother, with fewer concerns to delay closing.

  1. Confirm that the water, electrical and gas services are turned on (including pilot lights)
  2. Make sure your pets won't hinder your home inspection.  Ideally, they should be removed from the premises or secured outside.  Tell your agent about any pets at home.
  3. Replace burned-out light bulbs to avoid a "light is inoperable" report that may suggest an electrical problem.
  4. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace dead batteries.
  5. Clean or replace dirty HVAC air filters.  They should fit securely.
  6. Remove stored items, debris and wood from the foundation.  These may be cited as "conducive conditons" from termites.
  7. Remove items blocking access to HVAC equipment, electrical service panels, the water heater, attic and crawlspace.
  8. Unlock any locked areas that your home inspector must access, such as the attic door or hatch, the electrical service panel,  the door to the basement, and any exterior gates.
  9. Trim tree limbs so that they're at least 10 feet away from the roof.  Trim any shrubs that are too close to the house and can hides pests or hold moisture against the exterior.
  10. Repair or replace any broken or missing items, such as doorknobs, locks or latches, windowpanes or screens, gutters or downspouts, or chimney caps.

Checking these areas before your home inspection is an investment in selling your property.  


Stouffville Christmas Home Tour November 2019

Be sure to save the date!  Friday November 1st and Saturday November 2nd

ANTROBUS TEAM are proud GOLD Sponsors of this annual fundraising event.  We look forward to welcoming you!!

Join us for our 9th annual Home for Christmas House Tour where the wonder and magic of the season is brought to life through the inspiring talents of our local interior designers and florists.  This stylish and anticipated seasonal event is made possible through the generosity our wonderful Stouffville homeowners who graciously open their doors to showcase what's new and exciting in holiday decor!  This year there are 6 unique featured homes that have been creatively bejewelled in holiday splendor sure to spark your imagination and Christmas spirit.


Multiple vendors will be located at Willow Spring Winery and latcham Hall so you can get a head start shopping!

Proceeds go to 2 local charities:

Jennifer Ashleigh Children's Charity 

The ABLE Network



In person and cash only.  

Stouffville Locations:

Stouffville Canadian Tire: 1090 Hoover Park Dr. Stouffville

Candlelight and memories Fine Gifts & Tea Room:  6198 Main Street, Stouffville

Red Bulb Espresso Bar:  6148 Main Street, Stouffville

Markham Location:

Kate's Garden:  227 Main Street N, Markham

Day of Tour:

You may purchase tickets the day of the tour upon availability at Willow Springs Winery.



While many Canadians have a good understanding of financial services terms, a recent Angus Reid survey revealed that only 51 percent of respondents were confident they knew what a mortgage deposit was, with 48 percent admitting they were "not very confident" or "not at all confident" they understood the term.

It's easy to see why there's some confusion over the definition, as homebuyers often use the terms "deposit" and "down payment" interchangeably.  While they both refer to money put forward in the home buying process, here's some clarification of each term:


A deposit is comprised of the initial funds the buyer submits during the offer process to secure or commit to a property they wish to purchase, as a gesture of trust and good faith to the seller.  It's typically made at the time the offer is made, or upon acceptance of the offer.  There's no typical amount for the deposit, although 5 percent is the norm and in a hot housing market, an offer with a higher deposit could be more attractive to the seller.


If the seller accepts the offer, the deposit will typically be kept in a trust account - usually by the seller's brokerage - until it becomes payable.


A down payment is the money the buyer pays to the seller to be eligible for financing once the offer is accepted.  It's a lump sum that's paid out of the buyer's pocket, not financed through a mortgage.  When the time comes to close on the home, the deposit will go toward the down payment and will be credited toward the home's purchase price.


Are you planning to make a move this summer? 

Call Rodeen Antrobus - Broker or Tami Antrobus - Sales Representative today for the latest market update!



The benefits of having a room plan



The benefits of having a room plan

A successful room that you enjoy spending time in can be achieved by creating a room plan.  The room plan lays out how best to use the space as well as sets the design and style to be achieved.  The way you feel in a space is influenced not only by the specific furnishings in the room, but by how they fit together, the existence of focal points, balance, textures and lighting.  This is the easiest time to make changes if desired before anything has been ordered.  A room plan incorporates any existing furniture you may want to keep as well as shows any furniture to be added.  The plan also includes all the colour, fabrics, window coverings, carpet and lighting that are necessary to complete the room.  Once all the selections have been finalized, a budget can be confirmed.  You know that when everything arrives it fits and money is not wasted.  Without a plan, purchases are made without seeing the whole picture and the results will reflect this.  Having a room plan not only ensures the best use of space and furnishings for the room, it alleviates stress for the client since they know how everything will work together before anything is ordered.

Pineapple Design is a full service Interior Planning and Furnishing company. The services we they provide you with will not only enhance the enjoyment of your home, but also add value to your investment.

Services Include:

  • Interior space planning 
  • Custom draperies and blinds 
  • Custom sofas
  • Custom headboards
  • Colour and design consultation
  • Art consultation and selection
  • Fine Linens made to order


To discuss your needs, please call Garry or Vanda and Let them know you saw their blog on

 "The benefits of having a room plan"
at 905 209-8989


March Into The Real Estate Season

It's time for homebuyers and sellers to take a deep breath...the busy real estate season is ready to take off!  What's the forecast for this year's real estate activity?

Research by the Bank of Canada suggests that tightened mortgage rules will reduce sales activity in housing markets across Canada, particularly in and around Torono and Vancouver.  Meanwhile, potential homebuyers throughout other areas of the country are anticipated to pause on the sidelines, as they save up larger down payment before purchasing and contributing to a modest improvement in sales activity during the second half of 2018.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) notes that the anticipated decline in Canadian sales activity in the fist half of 2018 due to an erosion of housing affordability from tighter mortgage regulations may be mitigated by a number of factors.  Some buyers who qualify for a smaller mortgage may purchase a lower-priced home, while others may opt to stretch the amortization period to allow for more affordable monthly payments when financing their purchase.

It's at times like this, when home sellers need help with crafting a well-honed and executed listing strategy in order to maximize their home's selling price and minimize the time on market, and home buyers struggle with affordability concerns, that the services of an experienced real estate sales representative become even more crucial.

Are you thinking of buying or selling this year?  Please remember that you're welcome to call wtih any and all of your real estate-related questions - there's never any obligation!


Is 2018 the year you or someone you know intends to retire?  If so, a big part of that plan will likely involve some serious decisions about long-term housing.


Retiring from a paying job typically means an adjustment in your income, so here are some important points to think through before you take that important step:


Are you anticipating that you'll be included in the 15 percent of Canadian seniors who still have an outstanding mortgage on their homes?  If so, you need to recognized exactly how much extra money you'll need in retirement in order to cover your housing costs.


If retirement is on the horizon but not yet imminent, you'll want to work with a financial planner and mortgage professional to see what you can do to reduce or eliminate your mortgage debt before you retire.  Bumping up your monthly payments now, while you're still working, will help the debt disappear quicker.  If you can refinance to a lower interest rate but keep your monthly payments the same, you'll also be able to chip away at your principal faster.


Consider if you still need your current space or if a smaller home would make more sense.  A smaller space typically results in lower home operation expenses and less work to keep the household humming.


Please call to discuss all your downsizing options, whether that mean a smaller house, a condo or some other, more practical housing alternative to your current house.


The weather outside is frighening... so why is your car suffering the elements on the driveway, while your junk sits protected and cozy inside your garage?  don't wait for spring cleaning-pull on some gloves, crank up your playlist and head into the garage to toss what you don't need, organize what you do need, and clear the way for a protected envioronment for your vehicle.

Garages tend to be a catch-all of all the clutter that nobody wants to trip over inside the house.  So step one is to sort all like-items together to get a handle on what the heck you have in that garage, anyway.  Chances are you have lots of duplicates of things you don't even need one of, things that you might be able to donate or even sell online to someone who actualy does need it.


Once you purge and can see the light (and the floor), then it's time to organize the remaining items.


Install shelving as needed, and take advantage of all vertical space to store frequently used items; if you can see them, you can find them.  A pegboard is ideal for hanging tools; draw an outline around each tool so you know exactly where it belongs.  Rakes, hoses, even bikes and other large items can also be hung on hooks and clasps designed just for this purpose, keeping such items off the garage floor.


Once the warmer weather comes, you may be inspired to paint your garage and organize even more, but in the meantime, clearing the way for a vehicle is a great start!