Lenders chop rates again… 2.99%… and Variable rates at Prime less 0.35%!

Today we saw 2 announcements….   For the first time ever, we saw a 5 yr fixed rate being offered for 2.99%.    This is not a No Frills mortgage… so you don’t have to worry about minimal prepayment privileges, or restricted payout options, and no monkey business when it comes to penalty calculation….  You probably won’t see a lot of publicity about this because of the mainstream media was quick to promote the BMO NO FRILLS mortgage as the first 5 yr fixed mortgage under 3.00%….earlier this year.   But I can tell you, it’s a significant milestone.

And we also saw the introduction of the lowest Variable rate mortgage in almost a year… Prime less 0.35%, or 2.65%.   This isn’t one of those NO FRILLS Variable rate mortgages that is full of restrictions… you have all the regular options including being able to lock into the BEST discounted fixed rate at any time.

These 2 offers are very special…   They don’t come with hidden clauses or back door penalties, or exit fees.   These products are legit!

The driver behind the pricing is competition, the increased spread in profit margins and a slowing housing market..   The thirst to grow a business and keep the business on the books is going to see a lot of competition…. and the winners are us… the borrowers…

If you want more info on these rates or other mortgage related issues, call me anytime.

Steve Garganis

416 224 0114

 

 

2.89% 5yr fixed rates are available… but are those offers legit…?

You’ve heard the saying, “there are no free lunches”…. or “if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is”.…  I’m not sure how these sayings got started but they probably came from a bad experience…  My favorite is, “the problem with things that are free, is that they cost too much”.…   These sayings can be applied to most things in life…   including your mortgage.

Recently, I’ve seen a growing number of websites and radio ads offering these so-called “great mortgage products” at 2.99% and now 2.89% for 5 yrs… A number of readers have asked me if these offers are legit?  Here’s what I tell them…. Hope you find this useful…

In short, the rates are real but the product offerings come with too many strings attached for my liking….. things like the rates are for CMHC insured mortgages only… or the rates are only held for 30 or 60 days….you can’t pay the mortgage off for the first 3 years…. limited prepayment privileges…..prepayment penalties are far higher than other mortgages….you lose your ability to negotiate a rate if you have to refinance the mortgage.

These product have, and can, end up costing you more in the end.   This is why you won’t see me promoting or advertising these rates.

A CLOSER LOOK AT WHAT THESE PRODUCTS ARE ABOUT

In trying to capture market share, some Lenders have created products with slightly lower rates… Ok, I like that part of it…. BUT, they come with inferior terms and restrictions…… and this is where you could end up paying big time, on the back-end of these mortgages.    You’ve seen my previous articles about $20k, $25k, and $30k in mortgage penalties….. This is what makes these products and other NO FRILLS mortgages a bad option…and why I refuse to endorse them.

Let’s face it, the first thing most of us look at is the price… If I said you can buy and iPad for $200, or a 65″ Plasma TV for $500, you would keep listening… In the case of mortgages, we look at rate… 2.89%….  But hopefully, you keep asking questions.  9 times out of 10, you would probably find out there is a catch….. Maybe you have to buy something else, or the make and model is older or of a very poor quality, or the sale was only for a limited time, or it’s a refurbished model, etc….  You get the picture…

In most cases, those offers are just bogus.   The headlines are there to catch our attention… They want to entice you…to get you in the front door or to make that phone call, or to click that link on your computer….The seller is hoping that either 1 out of 10 will not ask too many questions and take the product… or they will shift you into another product… The old bait and switch….  That’s how most of this type of advertising works.  It’s a numbers game…

And it isn’t any different with mortgages.  But the problem with mortgages is that we are talking about a very complex financial product.  A mortgage is a loan agreement, a legal contract that will bind you for 5 years, in most cases.   The loan is secured by your house.  Think about that… You are putting up your home as security… you better understand all the terms, obligations, limitations, restrictions, privileges….. most importantly, look at how much it will cost you to exit this product.

Here’s where I have a BIG problem with these flashy ads….  in most cases, the borrower doesn’t even know what questions to ask…  They can’t get all the required info in order to make an informed decision.     We saw a great example of this earlier this year when BMO offered their 2.99% NO FRILLS mortgage… only, they didn’t market it that way… they called it a Low-rate mortgage…   Quite a play on words.  They made it sound like they were doing us a favour by pushing people into these mortgages… but as my readers know, the limitations to this product can and will prove costly for a large number of borrowers….  which is why I gave that product a huge thumbs down.

For those seeking my opinion and advice, I suggest you take a good hard look at these offers…. ask questions…. you’ll probably end up being part of the “9 out of 10 group” that asked too many questions and saved themselves from a mortgage disaster.

Should you need my help or advice, feel free to contact me anytime.   steve@mortgagenow.ca or 416 224 0114.

Steve

Wanna know where rates are going? Look at 2 yr bond yields.

Probably the most popular question asked is, “where are rates heading?”  Or “when will they go up?”   Let’s face it, if you have a mortgage or are invested in real estate, then you better know the answer or understand what affects rates.  After all, interest rates can make or break a housing market.

We decided to take a few minutes to explain how you can follow the indicators that affect interest rate movement….  We won’t make you a Financial Expert, but you will gain a better understanding of what affects rate movements…

My first suggestion is to stop paying so much attention to the news or TV… (apologies to my media friends)… but the wild headlines are there to grab your attention…  it’s not that difficult to understand…

Last week, the Bank of Canada met for the 5th time in 2012.   There are 8 scheduled meetings each year… (and by the way, this helps to keep rate movement and monetary policy more predictable…. the more predictable a Govt is, the more stable it’s economy is.)   The Key Rate is set during these meetings… this rate directly affects Variable rate mortgages…. No surprise, the Bank of Canada Governor, Mark Carney, kept the rate unchanged.

That means Bank Prime is still 3.00%.   And with more negative economic news from Greece, Spain, other parts of Europe, the U.S, and now Canada, it’s safe to say rates should remain flat for some time……(remember, bad economic news usually means rates will drop or stay low).

So the Bank of Canada’s Key Rate (also known as Target Rate or Overnight rate) directly affects Variable rate mortgages… but indirectly, they also affect Fixed Rates.   A better short term indicator to watch is the 5 yr Govt of Cda bond yield.   We watch this to see where fixed rates are headed in the short term… say, over the next few days or or few weeks.   A good long term indicator for Fixed rates is the 2 yr Gov of Cda bond yields.   Financial Experts  pay very close attention to this index if they want to know where rates are going in 6 months or longer.  And at present, the 2 yr yields are very low…..

Bottom line, rates should remain low for some time…   Not so hard to follow, right?

And not to confuse you, but historically, Fixed rates usually go up ahead of Variable rates…. so we need to watch Bond yields together, with the Bank of Canada’s Key Rate to gauge where rates are going…

Hope this helps… and as always, feel free to call or email me…

Steve Garganis

416 224 0114

steve@mortgagenow.ca

New Mortgage rules start today… but BMO study says Canadians pay their mortgages in 15 yrs!

  The govt’s new mortgage rules go into effect today… well, actually, most Lenders put them into effect a week ago to ensure they had enough time to process applications already in the pipeline.

The new rules are supposed to help us pay our mortgage off faster, make it tougher to borrow money and slow the housing market which in turn will save us from a housing bubble.   And this is also supposed to help lower our personal debt levels.   It all sounds great, but the govt has not provided us with any real data to suggest that we need saving from ourselves.

In fact, a new BMO study shows that Canadians are paying off their mortgages in 15 years or less.   Does that sound like a bunch of irresponsible borrowers?   And there is a lot more data out there that shows over 20% of us are making lump sum payments… and even more are accelerating their payment schedules by increasing their minimum mortgage payments..

If the govt did make a mistake and used a sledgehammer to kill a fly, then let’s hope they will act just as quickly to adjust the rules if their policies were too strong… Let’s hope they will put some sort of review procedure in place to measure the impact of these changes….We already have some pretty tough standards when it comes to borrowing for a house…. maybe we should bring in some rules for Credit Cards or personal loans…  seems like anyone with a pulse can get one of these….

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