Olympics are coming.. and so are the dumb bank ads.

RBC-Bank I’m a huge hockey fan.   I love watching Olympic hockey.  It’s fast paced and every game counts.    If you’re like me, then you’ll probably be glued to the TV set watching and cheering on Team Canada.   GO CANADA GO!

Unfortunately, that means you’ll also have to put up with those dumb bank ads.   These ads drive me nuts.  They deliver a terrible message to consumers.    Here’s one from RBC  from the 2010 Olympics about a young couple buying a home, probably their first, and the RBC mortgage specialist recommends they ‘split their mortgage to save money…. part fixed and part variable’.   Anyone get that?  Sounds like some sort of magic solution.   Confused?  You should be.

Splitting your mortgage is probably the worst thing you can do.  Here’s why the BANKS like it.  There are certain BANKS that will allow you to split your mortgage into 2 or more parts.   This product was introduced in the mid ’90s.   Now ask anyone that took this type of mortgage it they’d ever take it again.   NO WAY!   Read the rest of this entry »

Bank of Canada says no rate hikes, but possible rate drops!!

stephen poloz  Last week, the Bank of Canada governor, Stephen Poloz, held the first of 8 scheduled meetings to set the Target Rate.    This is the rate used to set the Bank Prime rate which currently sits at 3.00%.   No surprise, no change in the rate.  It has been the same since Sept 2010.

From 2011 to 2013, the previous Bank of Canada governor, Mark Carney, continually announced of a pending rate increase.   But late last year, Poloz changed the tide when he announced it could be a few years before rates go up.   One of the key drivers for rate hikes is inflation.  The BoC target for inflation is between 1% and 3%.  If inflation goes above 3%, we can expect rate hikes.

Inflation is not a concern.  In fact, there are concerns about deflation as the current inflation rate sit at 1.2%.  Some experts believe we could see the BoC rate drop.  Great news for anyone in a Variable rate.   We are also seeing the govt of Cda bond yields drop.   Friday’s close was down to 1.59% for 5 yr bonds.  Haven’t seen that level since June 2013.   This means Fixed mortgage rates will probably go down further. Read the rest of this entry »

Debt consolidation tip… just pay less interest!

Good debt Bad debtJanuary is usually a tough financial month for most of us.  Holiday bill payments, rrsp contributions, property tax bills and if you are self-employed, you probably have to make some sort of business tax or corporate tax payment.  If December is the Holiday Season, then January feels like a hangover!

BANKS and Credit Card companies love this time of year because this is when we will normally carry a balance and have to pay those crazy interest rates that range from 9% to 24%.  Wait, before you get too depressed, there could be a better option.  There’s a less expensive way to manage your debt. Read the rest of this entry »

Buy now or wait for house prices to fall? The results may surprise you…

Housing-affordability

Should I buy now with interest rates still hovering at record lows, or wait for prices to fall?   When will house prices fall? … and by how much?    What will the interest rate be in the future when house prices fall?

These are the questions most Canadians asking themselves these days.   It’s no secret that Real Estate values are at an all time high in most parts of the country.   The calls for a housing correction, crash, or bubble have been going on for almost 10 years now but it hasn’t materialized.

I won’t get into the discussion here about whether house values will drop or crash or when that could happen.. because I don’t think it should be part of the buying decision.   That’s not a typo.  Market timing is a dangerous thing.  Stock advisors will tell you this.  Buy now, if you are able to commit to the plan.  Read on to see why I believe this to be true. Read the rest of this entry »

Unexpected job loss report and effect on mortgage rates.

unemployment Last week’s Employment Stats shocked everyone when we didn’t see the expected 14,000 new jobs created as Economists were expecting.  Instead, we got hit with a reported 46,000 jobs lost in December.    Economists aren’t always accurate with their forecasts (news flash) but they usually aren’t this far off either. We won’t look at why they miscalculated here, but I do want to look at the effects of this bad news on your mortgage.

EFFECT ON FIXED MORTGAGE RATES

Higher unemployment and job loss is never a good thing.  We’re not celebrating here.   But we need to understand how it affects our mortgage rates.     When it comes to rates, bad economic news is good news.    And we saw the effects almost immediately.  Bond yields dropped by around 0.15% to 1.73%, taking the pressure off Lenders to raise rates (fixed mortgage rates are priced closely to Govt of Cda bond yields).   This means fixed mortgages won’t go up anytime soon and could even fall should the bond yields remain at this level. Read the rest of this entry »

TD car loan rates at 25%!! Over 4000 comments!

cbc news

Last week, CBC’s Kathy Tomlinson made national headlines with her breaking story about TD charging car loan interest rates of 25%.  Wow!   Are you kidding me?  The reaction was incredible and went viral.  Over 4000 comments in just a few days.

Now, this doesn’t have anything to do directly with mortgages, but it’s relevant news given that TD is one of the largest BANKs in Canada.   It also shows our Federal Govt’s lack of focus when it comes to different types of consumer debt.    This should serve as a reminder that a BANK is a business.  They aren’t your best friend.    They want to maximize profits and are accountable to its shareholders.

The article reports that TD has approximately $14.3billion of indirect loans on its books brokered by dealers.   With an estimated 25% of these loans being priced at subprime rates (subprime means higher rates for riskier borrowers), that would work out to around $500million in interest costs being collected by TD each and every year! Read the rest of this entry »

New threat of Rate hikes… it’s called Finance Minister Flaherty.

Flaherty thumbs up The Federal govt of Canada and the Bank of Canada are supposed to operate independently.  The Minister of Finance gives the Bank of Canada its objectives or its mandate.   And the Bank of Canada is supposed to carry out that mandate.   The dotted line is supposed to allow the Bank of Canada Governor to exercise his/her powers without fear of political influence.

THE COMMENT

But our current Finance Minister, Mr. Flaherty, doesn’t seem to like those rules.  He has repeatedly opened his mouth at inopportune times.   Take last year, for example, when he publicly criticized Manulife Bank and BMO for advertising a 2.99% 5 yr fixed rate.  He actually asked them to pull those ads!  Not that they were the lowest 5 yr fixed rates at the time, but they were the lowest advertised rates by a major BANK. (as my regular readers know, mortgage brokers had lower rates… as they usually do). Read the rest of this entry »

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