If you’re buying a house and are shopping for a mortgage this spring you may come across something called a collateral mortgage. This home financing tool has been around for a while, but mainly in the background. Now it’s going mainstream with both TD Bank and no-frills ING Direct abandoning the conventional mortgage in favour of this type of financing exclusively. Other big banks make collateral mortgages available, but for now offer both kinds.
Many consumers hunting for a mortgage would be hard pressed to explain the difference between the two, but here it is:
With a conventional mortgage, you and your lender agree on how much you can borrow, the length of the term and the interest rate. As an example, say the house you’re buying is worth $200,000. With 20 per cent down you would borrow $160,000. You might select a fixed-rate, five-year term, which this week is between 3 and 4 per cent.
With a collateral mortgage, you still have an agreed interest rate and term, but the bank registers a charge of up to 125 per cent the value of your home, provided you have at least 20 per cent equity in it. In this example the charge would be $200,000 plus up to another $50,000.
That’s because a collateral agreement assumes you will want to borrow more in the future and so makes this extra amount available now. As long as you maintain 20 per cent equity in your home, you borrow up to 80 per cent of its value.
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