Connect with us

Real Estate

GTAA, Metrolinx Working Together on Pearson Transit Plan




Here’s a pop quiz for regular UrbanToronto readers: What is Canada’s second-largest employment zone? If you guessed downtown Montreal or Vancouver, you haven’t been paying enough careful attention.

As we reported recently, earlier this year and last year, according to the NEPTIS Research Foundation, the area around around Toronto Pearson International Airport is the second largest employment zone in Canada after Downtown Toronto. More than 300,000 people work in an area that includes parts of Brampton, Mississauga and Toronto. NEPTIS reports that the concentration of jobs in financial services in workplaces near the airport is greater than the total number of jobs in North York.

Toronto Pearson International Airport Transit TerminalMost people working in the Airport Employment Zone travel more than 10 kilometres to their workplace, image, Neptis

Despite its second-place rank, the airport zone currently has poor transportation connections. Due to that lack of transit, NEPTIS found that the area generates more than 1 million car trips each day—more daily trips than to and from Downtown Toronto. That’s a key reason why the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) intends to develop a major transit terminal at the airport.

Toronto Pearson International Airport Transit TerminalEng (left) and Verster at the Board of Trade, with event moderator, Yvonne Rene de Cotret, image, GTAA

Howard Eng, the GTAA’s president and chief executive officer, and Phil Verster, president and CEO of Metrolinx recently addressed the Board of Trade of Greater Toronto about the issue.

The GTAA is already developing plans for what it’s dubbing “Union Station West“, a regional transit hub at Pearson, which it hopes to open by the late 2020s.

Toronto Pearson International Airport Transit TerminalA transit hub at Pearson would supply a vital link to the Golden Horseshoe, image, GTAA

The rationale for a building a major transit terminal at or near the airport is becoming increasingly clear. Pearson welcomes more than 47 million passengers annually and contributes directly or indirectly to 6.3 per cent of Ontario’s gross domestic product. More than 49,000 jobs in the airport zone are at Pearson itself. The GTAA estimates that “in the future”, the airport would handle 85 million visitors, while the nearby area would supply 700,000 jobs and generate 8.5 per cent of the provincial GDP.

In 2016, the GTAA hired Urban Strategies Inc., a global urban design consultancy to develop a white-paper, “Growth, Connectivity, Capacity” that described the remarkable passenger growth and economic significance of Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Toronto Pearson International Airport Transit TerminalMultiple transit lines could one day intersect at Pearson, image, GTAA

The white paper discusses how Pearson and the surrounding area have extremely few transit options connecting workers to their jobs in the burgeoning Airport Employment Zone or to other key employment nodes in the region. The Union Pearson Express is the only higher-order transit accessing the area. Buses operating in mixed traffic supply all other transit service. This lack of connectivity results in traffic congestion that is reaching critical levels, adding to commute times, threatening economic opportunity, and creating air pollution that affects local communities and impacting climate-change strategies.

“Road congestion is impacting our region’s ability to attract investment and also impacting quality of life for our residents,” Eng said. “We’re committed to working with the municipalities surrounding the airport, area employers and industry groups to improve ground transportation in the airport area. Our vision for a regional transit and passenger centre at Toronto Pearson will help to reduce congestion in the area, lower costs for industry and improve productivity for local business.”

Toronto Pearson International Airport Transit TerminalThe number of passengers travelling to and from other airports by transit is much greater than at Pearson, image, GTAA

The Union Pearson Express significantly upgraded public transit access between the airport and Downtown Toronto and is proving popular with passengers and employees. However, the UP express, the GTAA says, is not sufficient because it can only serve 800 passengers per hour. While there are a growing number of planned transportation routes approaching Toronto Pearson, few connect directly to Toronto Pearson.

The airport authority continues to reach out to, and work with, transit agencies and governments to firm up plans for rapid transit to and from the Pearson area. For example, the GTAA’s vision includes extending the light rail transit lines along Eglinton and Finch Avenues West and connecting the future Highway 407 transitway to the air terminals and the Mississauga Transitway.

For example, last April, the GTAA and Metrolinx announced that they are working together to study potential connections for the Kitchener GO Transit rail corridor to Toronto Pearson’s regional transit and passenger centre and other potential transit connections.

Toronto Pearson International Airport Transit TerminalMetrolinx and partners are studying the feasibility of extending the Eglinton LRT to a regional transit centre (RTC) at Pearson, image, GTAA

The GTAA-Metrolinx partnership is studying:

  • potentially connecting the GO rail corridor to “Union Station West”;
  • potentially connecting rapid lines and various local and regional bus services to Pearson;
  • improving ground transportation to and from the airport and the airport employment area; and
  • phasing these various projects so some of them are already available when “Union Station West” is a reality.

“Toronto Pearson is Canada’s gateway to the world and a key driver of jobs, trade and tourism,” said Eng. “The GTAA is committed to working with Metrolinx to improve transit. These studies will help to connect our region for the benefit of passengers, airport workers, local businesses and residents.”

“We are excited to be moving ahead with our partners to explore all options available. By strengthening connections among communities along the innovation corridor between Kitchener-Waterloo, Pearson Airport and Toronto, we will work to deliver faster, more frequent service for our customers” said Verster.

Toronto Pearson International Airport Transit TerminalThis map of the proposed Woodbine-Highway 27 GO station shows the Finch West LRT connecting with Pearson, image, Metrolinx

Although the UP Express has improved connectivity to Downtown Toronto, many Toronto passengers still require at least one connection and more than 1.5 hours of travel time to access Pearson. Meanwhile, passengers from elsewhere in Southern Ontario have no choice but to transfer at Union Station—even though GO and VIA Rail services already pass by the airport.

At the recent Board of Trade event, Eng and Verster reiterated their long-term plans to develop the first phase of the multi-modal transit hub at Pearson by the late 2020s. But, both CEOs talked about the importance of making smaller, incremental steps along the journey towards opening the airport terminal, as essential to the success of the plan. Eng pointed to the recent launching of MiWay‘s Airport express bus as but one example of those smaller steps towards better connections. Similarly, Verster spoke about recent improvements to GO bus services that provide passengers as far west as Hamilton and as far east as Richmond Hill with hourly service 24 hours a day to and from Pearson.

Toronto Pearson International Airport Transit TerminalThis chart compares the number of transit passengers at Pearson with the numbers for other airports, image, GTTA

While Eng and Verster did not discuss concrete plans for future rapid transit lines, at least two Metrolinx projects promise better connectivity to the airport area over the next few years. Metrolinx is leading a team, including the cities of Toronto and Mississauga and the TTC, to explore the feasibility of extending the proposed Eglinton West LRT to Pearson.

And, last week, the Metrolinx board of directors considered the business case study for a new GO Transit station on Highway 27 near Woodbine Race Track. While that station is east of the airport zone, the plans show an extended Finch West LRT connecting with the proposed new station–and continuing toward the airport.

The Urban Strategies research reveals that multi-modal transit hubs are a common component of the world’s largest airports, providing travel options for the millions of people who travel to, from, and through airports and their adjacent employment zone. These hubs:

  • connect air-travel passengers to and from the airport;
  • serve as major regional transportation hubs in their own right, providing key links between regional locations and transportation modes; and
  • connect employees to jobs at the airport and to those in the surrounding employment zone.

According to the GTAA, only 10 per cent of passengers and employees at Toronto Pearson use public transit. This figure is particularly low by international standards. For example, the figure for London Heathrow is 36 per cent, while the average percentage of passengers using transit at other airport hubs around the world is 34 per cent.

Toronto Pearson aims to achieve a figure of transit-using passengers and employees of between 20 and 30 per cent. It has determined that the Greater Golden Horseshoe area requires another multi-modal transit hub to support its growth. Such a facility should include a network of buses, airport express trains, rapid transit and regional trains. A multi-modal transit hub would provide travel options and capacity for the millions of people who travel to, from and through the airport, or the surrounding employment zone.

Toronto Pearson International Airport Transit TerminalAn early rendering of the proposed Pearson transit terminal, image, GTAA

Last February, the GTAA engaged HOK to design the regional transit centre, which would also act as a facility to improve passenger service at the airport. HOK is leading a design team that includes WSP Engineers and Weston Williamson + Partners. It intends to engage with many stakeholder groups, including airport partners, government and local community members. According to its website, HOK is a leader in sustainable, high-performance design and has led major aviation and transportation projects at some of the world’s most travelled international airports.

We will continue to update you on the project as it progresses. In the meantime, you will find more renderings of the transit terminal concept in our database file for the proposal, linked below. You can get in on the discussion in our associated Forum tread, or you can share your comments about the plan in the space provided on this page.


Source link

قالب وردپرس

Real Estate

5 ways to reduce your mortgage amortization




Since the pandemic hit, a lot of Canadians have been affected financially and if you’re on a mortgage, reducing your amortization period can be of great help.

A mortgage amortization period is the amount of time it would take a homeowner to completely pay off their mortgage. The amortization is typically an estimate based on what the interest rate for your current term is. Calculating your amortization is done easily using a loan amortization calculator which shows you the different payment schedules within your amortization period.

 In Canada, if you made a down payment that is less than the recommended 20 per cent of the total cost of your home, then the longest amortization period you’re allowed to have is 25 years. The mortgage amortization period not only affects the length of time it would take to completely repay the loan, but also the amount of interest paid over the lifecycle of the mortgage.

Typically, longer amortization periods involve making smaller monthly payments and having a much higher total interest cost over the duration of the mortgage. While on the other hand, shorter amortization periods entails making larger monthly payments and having lower total interest costs.

It’s the dream of every homeowner to become mortgage-free. A general rule of thumb would be to try and keep your monthly mortgage costs as low as possible—preferably below 30 per cent of your monthly income. Over time, you may become more financially stable by either getting a tax return, a bonus or an additional source of income and want to channel that towards your principal.

There are several ways to keep your monthly mortgage payments low and reduce your amortization. Here are a few ways to achieve that goal:

1. Make a larger down payment

Once you’ve decided to buy a home, always consider putting asides some significant amount of money that would act as a down payment to reduce your monthly mortgage. While the recommended amount to put aside as a down payment is 20 per cent,  if you aren’t in a hurry to purchase the property or are more financial buoyant, you can even pay more.

Essentially, the larger your down payment, the lower your mortgage would be as it means you’re borrowing less money from your lender. However, if you pay at least 20 per cent upfront, there would be no need for you to cover the additional cost of private mortgage insurance which would save you some money.

2. Make bi-weekly payments

Most homeowners make monthly payments which amount to 12 payments every year. But if your bank or lender offers the option of accelerated bi-weekly payment, you will be making an equivalent of one more payment annually. Doing this will further reduce your amortization period by allowing you to pay off your mortgage much faster.

3. Have a fixed renewal payment

It is normal for lenders to offer discounts on interest rate during your amortization period. However, as you continuously renew your mortgage at a lower rate, always keep a fixed repayment sum.

Rather than just making lower payments, you can keep your payments static, since the more money applied to your principal, the faster you can clear your mortgage.

4. Increase your payment amount

Many mortgages give homeowners the option to increase their payment amount at least once a year. Now, this is very ideal for those who have the financial capacity to do so because the extra money would be added to your principal.

Irrespective of how small the increase might be, in the long run, it would make a huge difference. For example, if your monthly mortgage payment is about $2,752 per month. It would be in your best interest to round it up to $2,800 every month. That way, you are much closer to reducing your mortgage amortization period.

5. Leverage on prepayment privileges

The ability for homeowners to make any form of prepayment solely depends on what mortgage features are provided by their lender.

With an open mortgage, you can easily make additional payments at any given time. However, if you have a closed mortgage—which makes up the larger percentage of existing mortgages—you will need to check if you have the option of prepayments which would allow you to make extra lump sum payments.

Additionally, there may also be the option to make extra lump sum payments at the end of your existing mortgage term before its time for renewal.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

Mortgage insurance vs. life insurance: What you need to know




Your home is likely the biggest asset you’ll ever own. So how can you protect it in case something were to happen to you? To start, homeowners have a few options to choose from. You can either:

  • ensure you have mortgage protection with a life insurance policy from an insurance company or
  • get mortgage insurance from a bank or mortgage lender.

Mortgage insurance vs. life insurance: How do they each work?  

The first thing to know is that life insurance can be a great way to make sure you and your family have mortgage protection.

The money from a life insurance policy usually goes right into the hands of your beneficiaries – not the bank or mortgage lender. Your beneficiaries are whoever you choose to receive the benefit or money from your policy after you die.

Life insurance policies, like term life insurance, come with a death benefit. A death benefit is the amount of money given to your beneficiaries after you die. The exact amount they’ll receive depends on the policy you buy.

With term life insurance, you’re covered for a set period, such as 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. The premium – that’s the monthly or annual fee you pay for insurance – is usually low for the first term.

If you die while you’re coved by your life insurance policy, your beneficiaries will receive a tax-free death benefit. They can then use this money to help pay off the mortgage or for any other reason. So not only is your mortgage protected, but your family will also have funds to cover other expenses that they relied on you to pay.

Mortgage insurance works by paying off the outstanding principal balance of your mortgage, up to a certain amount, if you die.

With mortgage insurance, the money goes directly to the bank or lender to pay off the mortgage – and that’s it. There’s no extra money to cover other expenses, and you don’t get to leave any cash behind to your beneficiaries.

What’s the difference between mortgage insurance and life insurance?

The main difference is that mortgage insurance covers only your outstanding mortgage balance. And, that money goes directly to the bank or mortgage lender, not your beneficiary. This means that there’s no cash, payout or benefit given to your beneficiary. 

With life insurance, however, you get mortgage protection and more. Here’s how it works: every life insurance policy provides a tax-free amount of money (the death benefit) to the beneficiary. The payment can cover more than just the mortgage. The beneficiary may then use the money for any purpose. For example, apart from paying off the mortgage, they can also use the funds from the death benefit to cover:

  • any of your remaining debts,
  • the cost of child care,
  • funeral costs,
  • the cost of child care, and
  • any other living expenses. 

But before you decide between life insurance and mortgage insurance, here are some other important differences to keep in mind:

Who gets the money?

With life insurance, the money goes to whomever you name as your beneficiary.

With mortgage insurance, the money goes entirely to the bank.

Can you move your policy?

With life insurance, your policy stays with you even if you transfer your mortgage to another company. There’s no need to re-apply or prove your health is good enough to be insured.

With mortgage insurance, however, your policy doesn’t automatically move with you if you change mortgage providers. If you move your mortgage to another bank, you’ll have to prove that your health is still good.

Which offers more flexibility, life insurance or mortgage insurance?

With life insurance, your beneficiaries have the flexibility to cover the mortgage balance and more after you die. As the policy owner, you can choose how much insurance coverage you want and how long you need it. And, the coverage doesn’t decline unless you want it to.

With mortgage insurance through a bank, you don’t have the flexibility to change your coverage. In this case, you’re only protecting the outstanding balance on your mortgage.

Do you need a medical exam to qualify? 

With a term life insurance policy from Sun Life, you may have to answer some medical questions or take a medical exam before you’re approved for coverage. Once you’re approved, Sun Life won’t ask for any additional medical information later on.

With mortgage insurance, a bank or mortgage lender may ask some medical questions when you apply. However, if you make a claim after you’re approved, your bank may ask for additional medical information.* At that point, they may discover some conditions that disqualify you from receiving payment on a claim.

Continue Reading

Real Estate

5 common mistakes Canadians make with their mortgages




This article was created by MoneyWise. Postmedia and MoneyWise may earn an affiliate commission through links on this page.

Since COVID-19 dragged interest rates to historic lows last year, Canadians have been diving into the real estate market with unprecedented verve.

During a time of extraordinary financial disruption, more than 551,000 properties sold last year — a new annual record, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association. Those sales provided a desperately needed dose of oxygen for the country’s gasping economy.

Given the slew of new mortgages taken out in 2020, there were bound to be slip-ups. So, MoneyWise asked four of the country’s sharpest mortgage minds to share what they feel are the mistakes Canadians most frequently make when securing a home loan.

Mistake 1: Not having your documents ready

One of your mortgage broker’s primary functions is to provide lenders with paperwork confirming your income, assets, source of down payment and overall reliability as a borrower. Without complete and accurate documentation, no reputable lender will be able to process your loan.

But “borrowers often don’t have these documents on hand,” says John Vo of Spicer Vo Mortgages in Halifax, Nova Scotia. “And even when they do provide these documents, they may not be the correct documentation required.”

Some of the most frequent mistakes Vo sees when borrowers send in their paperwork include:

  • Not including a name or other relevant details on key pieces of information.
  • Providing old bank or pay statements instead of those dated within the last 30 days.
  • Sending only a partial document package. If a lender asks for six pages to support your loan, don’t send two. If you’re asked for four months’ worth of bank statements, don’t provide only one.
  • Thinking low-quality or blurry files sent by email or text will be good enough. Lenders need to be able to read what you send them.

If you send your broker an incomplete documents package, the result is inevitable: Your mortgage application will be delayed as long as it takes for you to find the required materials, and your house shopping could be sidetracked for months.

Mistake 2: Blinded by the rate

Ask any mortgage broker and they’ll tell you that the question they’re asked most frequently is: “What’s your lowest rate?”

The interest rate you’ll pay on your mortgage is a massive consideration, so comparing the rates lenders are offering is a good habit once you’ve slipped on your house-hunter hat.

Rates have been on the rise lately given government actions to stimulate the Canadian economy. You may want to lock a low rate now, so you can hold onto it for up to 120 days.

But Chris Kolinski, broker at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based iSask Mortgages, says too many borrowers get obsessed with finding the lowest rate and ignore the other aspects of a mortgage that can greatly impact its overall cost.

“I always ask my clients ‘Do you want to get the best rate, or do you want to save the most money?’ because those two things are not always synonymous,” Kolinski says. “That opens a conversation about needs and wants.”

Many of the rock-bottom interest rates on offer from Canadian lenders can be hard to qualify for, come with limited features, or cost borrowers “a ton” of money if they break their terms, Kolinski points out.

Mistake 3: Not reading the fine print

Dalia Barsoum of Streetwise Mortgages in Woodbridge, Ontario, shares a universal message: “Read the fine print. Understand what you’re signing up for.”

Most borrowers don’t expect they’ll ever break their mortgages, but data collected by TD Bank shows that 7 in 10 homeowners move on from their properties earlier than they expect.

It’s critical to understand your loan’s prepayment privileges and the rules around an early departure. “If you exit the mortgage, how much are you going to pay? It’s really, really important,” Barsoum says.

She has seen too borrowers come to her hoping to refinance a mortgage they received from a private or specialty lender, only to find that what they were attempting was impossible.

Continue Reading