Season’s Greetings!.. time for a break.

happyHolidays

We are taking a break and will be back in January.

I want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very safe and happy holiday season!   Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Fed govt, BIG SIX BANK’s pushed us into Fixed rates!…part 2 of 2.

Flaherty and Harper

IT’S NO COINCIDENCE THAT THE BIG SIX BANKS CONTINUE TO REPORT RECORD PROFITS.

The Bankers were onto something.  Now if they could only keep Variable rate pricing higher or make itMark Carney tougher to get a Variable rate mortgage…. In 2010, the Fed govt would help increase those Bank profits…All new Variable rate mortgage borrowers would need to qualify at the Bank posted 5 year fixed rate.   The Feds said they had to tighten Mortgage Lending Rules… They had to make it tougher to qualify for a mortgage with fluctuating interest rates to ensure we would not have a ‘housing bubble’ and a ‘mortgage default problem’…  This pushed out 5% more borrowers from qualifying for, and benefiting from Variable rates.  And by the way, at that time, Variable rates ranged anywhere from 1.50% to 1.95% compared with the best discounted 5 yr fixed rate of 3.89%…..!  Anyone seeing a pattern here?   (Some stats to remember…Mortgage defaults have been under 0.50% for over 15 years are currently at around 0.33%… this is at or near record lows!!… so where’s the problem??)

This is also when the BIG SIX BANK’S inflated, and unfair mortgage penalty calculation came to light.   The lower rates became, the higher mortgage penalties climbed…  $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 in mortgage prepayment penalty charges were popping up in mortgage blogs and news sites.   Even the media had to jump in and cover some of this…  And when Canadians needed a break in their mortgage payments, they were left out in the cold.   These inflated penalties made it impossible to get out of their higher Fixed rate mortgages without paying an enormous penalty. Read the rest of this entry »

Fed govt, BIG SIX BANK’s pushed us into Fixed rates!…part 1 of 2.

Mark CarneyVARIABLE RATE MORTGAGES WERE THE BEST OPTION

For years, I’ve promoted the merits of Variable rate greedy bankermortgages vs Fixed rates.   To me, it was a no-brainer.  Historical stats showed that you would save over 1.00% on your mortgage, per year, every year (some years had savings of over 3.00%!).   Do the math…  That works out to $1,000 to $3,000 per year for every $100,000 of mortgage.

And for years, the BIG SIX BANKS, the Bank of Canada, the Federal govt and other fear-mongers pointed out that Variable rates fluctuated and your rates would change and possibly go up…

If  you were able to block out these warnings, do a little research, then you may have been lucky enough to enjoy the huge savings that Variable rates gave us over the last 15 years…  Fortunately, over 80% of my clients listened to my advice and chose Variable rate.  But even at the height of Variable rate popularity,  just 45% of Canadians were ever in a Variable rate product at any one time. Today, it’s less than 15%.

In 2008, the U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis hit.   Financial markets were in turmoil.  New Variable rate mortgages were either pulled from the shelf or were priced so high as to make them an unattractive option (prime plus 1.00% with some Banks).

BEGINNING OF THE BANKS HIGHER PROFITS

The Banks actually liked this.   After all, the most profitable mortgage product is the 5 year Fixed rate.  Not hard to figure out.   The lower the interest rate, the less the Bank’s make.   This became a great opportunity for the Banks to reduce their Variable rate exposure…  And so began the great campaign to force us into 5 year fixed rate mortgages.  (by the way, these inflated Variable rate prices only lasted around 6 months…we’re not back to the good old days of Prime less 0.90% but anything at Prime less 0.50% or better is worth a look….it’s worth noting for the record that I still didn’t recommend 5 year fixed rates to my clients during this time… I recommended shorter term fixed rates ranging from 6 months to 3 years and then went back to Variable rate… history has shown that this was the right strategy).

Flaherty and HarperStarting in late 2008, and continuing today, Bankers would call, email or write letters to their Variable rate mortgage clients to warn against higher rates coming…  and they should consider locking into a 5 year fixed rate mortgage.   There were many reasons given… a bad economy… uncertainty in the financial markets… or my favorite, a special rate offer (it was special alright! Lol!!)… And the media jumped in too.  TV, radio, newspapers, major news websites…how many times have you have heard the warnings about rising mortgage rates??…or record personal debt levels??   This created an even higher level of uncertainty and fear… Mr. Potter would be proud!

Think about it… The Banks were strongly recommending that Variable rate clients go from a rate of 3.25% or better, and into a 5 year fixed rate of 5.50%!!? (November 2008).   And the worst part about all this is that hundreds of borrowers listened and did it… and have regretted it ever since!!!  Where’s your Banker now?…

watch for part 2 of 2… FED GOVT, BIG SIX BANK’S pushed us into Fixed rates!… tomorrow!

Getting a mortgage today?  Speak with a Mortgage Broker…and think twice about sticking with your BANK…. you could just save yourself $thousands.

As always, I welcome your comments and questions.  Let me know if I can help.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

Giving up the Bank Kool-aid.

Big six banksRecently, I’ve had several new clients contact me about getting out of their higher rate BANK mortgage… No surprise here… with interest rates reaching new all-time lows, it only makes sense to look into this further…

But I’ve noticed a very familiar pattern developing….See if this sounds familiar:

1-First, you hear about these record low fixed rates… maybe online, from a friend, or from one of my current clients…

2- You contact your Bank to see what they can do…

3-Your Banker gives you 2 options… 1- pay an inflated prepayment penalty (BIG SIX BANKS make you pay for any rate discount) and get into a new 5 yr fixed rate of 3.29% (this is the best advertised rate today by a BIG SIX BANK).  OR 2- they’ll blend the penalty into a new mortgage but your rate will be higher… (this never works to your advantage.. there is NO assurance the Bank will offer you the absolute best discounted rate when calculating your new rate.. it’s been a favorite tactic of the Banks for decades…don’t drink this kool-aid… it will cost you $$thousands). 

Most of us will stop right there and go no further…We’ve consumed so much Bank kool-aid that it’s turned us into a flock of sheep… But if you’ve started to become immune to the Bank tactics and want to explore further, then read on…

4- You call a Mortgage Broker, maybe me… you discover that today’s best 5 yr fixed rate is under 3.00%…   (That’s today’s best 5 year wholesale mortgage rate with NO ADDITIONAL RESTRICTIONS OR LIMITATIONS…It’s important to understand this fine point.)  And you discover it’s now worth paying the penalty to get into this new mortgage.

5- Everything is going great… but come payout time, your Banker contacts you… They make a last-minute plea to save your business… Somehow, they miraculously offer to match the Broker rate…

Every heard of this before?  What would you do?

Most of my clients, that go through this process, quickly discover who has their best interests at heart.  They realize it’s better to deal with ‘rate-setters’ vs ‘rate-matchers’.    But oddly enough, I have seen some clients stick with their Bank… Like other addicts, they can’t seem to explain it..   Even after going through the entire mortgage review and approval process (or what I refer to as the  Bank detox process).   When asked why they stayed, they couldn’t give any logical reason.  They just keep going back to the Bank for another fix.

10 years ago, this happened more often.  But times have changed.  Kool-aid is out.  Protein shakes and Red Bull are in.  Today’s consumer is more educated… information flows faster.  Even the Bank of Canada said “borrowers who use a mortgage broker pay less, on average, than borrowers who negotiate with lenders directly”. (February 2011 entitled ‘Competition in the Canadian Mortgage Market’’).

As always, if you have any questions or comments or are just looking for a better mortgage, please free to contact me anytime.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

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