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What’s the TRUE Impact of Policy Changes on the Canadian Mortgage Market?

Boc Mortgage Rule Impacts, Dec 2018

It’s certainly not what the Bank of Canada (BoC) is claiming!

The BoC recently released a document detailing what it believes to be a positive report on the Canadian Mortgage Market, but this article clearly shows how out of touch our government is.

The BoC is applauding their statistics… yet, these numbers show that the government appears to be measuring affordability as a multiple of one’s income – and not by the proven, standard method of debt servicing ratios. This is very odd and, quite frankly, I find it absurd.

Continue reading “What’s the TRUE Impact of Policy Changes on the Canadian Mortgage Market?”

Where are rates headed? Down!

Rate Image, Nov 2018

Whenever there’s speculation that the Bank of Canada (BoC) will raise its key interest rate – or rates actually rise – many people are preoccupied worrying about locking in if they have a variable rate or renewing early in a fixed rate.

But, don’t panic! Rates aren’t going through the roof.

Continue reading “Where are rates headed? Down!”

Why Did the Bank of Canada Raise Rates Last Week?!

Canada Mortgage rate 20180509

Last Wednesday, the Bank of Canada (BoC) raised its overnight target rate to 1.5% – up from 1.25%. This is the fourth increase since last June, when the target rate was 0.5%.

The timing is suspect to me. Last year, we had an increase around this time, but that was coming off of the hottest housing market in 29 years. We’re currently on the heels of a brutally slow spring market, yet rates are still rising? I don’t get it… this is a poor decision, in my opinion.

When it comes to four rate increases in the past year, there are facts, realities and perceptions that come into play… Continue reading “Why Did the Bank of Canada Raise Rates Last Week?!”

Record-Low Variable Rate Wars EXPIRE THURSDAY… Don’t miss out!

Don't Miss Deadline

The incredible variable rate wars we’re seeing this month are about to come to a close! It would be a shame to miss out on these savings! And, while there is a possibility that they’ll extend into June, I wouldn’t risk it – deep savings like these don’t come around every day! In fact, I’ve never seen advertised variable rates this low!

If your mortgage is coming up for renewal soon – or, even if it’s not – it’s worth a call to your mortgage broker to discuss the possible savings. The math speaks for itself…

Continue reading “Record-Low Variable Rate Wars EXPIRE THURSDAY… Don’t miss out!”

And the Variable Rate price wars begin… Here’s how you can benefit!

Variable Discounts Image, May 2018In order to fully understand how to take advantage of record-low variable rates, it’s important to learn some mortgage history.

BMO came out swinging first a week ago with a variable rate of Prime minus 1.00%. Historically, when a BIG SIX BANK comes out with a huge price decrease, it’s only for a very short time – likely 2-3 weeks. But, during that time, they can gain massive volumes and satisfy their market share requirements from the average borrower.

With all the talk of interest rates going up, this is welcome news for borrowers. Last week, I wrote about Variable rates at Prime minus 1.09%. This week, the banks have caught on.

Continue reading “And the Variable Rate price wars begin… Here’s how you can benefit!”

Prime minus 1.09%… Yes, this is a record-low Variable Rate!

Money TreeQuoting rates isn’t straightforward anymore. Your final rate is based on your credit score, purchase price or home value (homes over $1 million purchased after Oct 17, 2016 have higher rates), the loan to value (mortgages under 65% LTV and above 80% LTV get best rates), location, job type and income confirmation documents.

That’s right… ALL these factors will determine your interest rate!

Today, there’s a great variable rate available at Prime minus 1.09%. That translates to 2.39%. This is a real rate… it’s not a bait-and-switch ad like so many rate-comparison sites are quoting these days.

Continue reading “Prime minus 1.09%… Yes, this is a record-low Variable Rate!”

TD & RBC raised the POSTED rate… but not their REAL rates

Rate Image, May 2018

Much has been written about last week’s Posted rate hikes by TD and RBC. Don’t panic! This is just their posted rate – it’s not the actual rate they give to clients.

I do, however, think we’ll see a minimal rate hike in the coming weeks due to five-year Government of Canada bond yields increasing slightly. Fixed rates are priced closely to bond yields.

Continue reading “TD & RBC raised the POSTED rate… but not their REAL rates”

Mortgage Penalties: You could pay thousands to break your mortgage depending on your lender!

Young family discussing family finances

I originally posted a breakdown of how mortgage penalties are calculated by different lenders on January 4, 2011.

This remains relevant today and, since this has been my most popular article to date, it’s worth a repost!

WE TOOK THE MYSTERY OUT OF HOW PENALTIES ARE CALCULATED

We decided this needed a more detailed explanation… but a strange thing happened when we started to answer these questions. We made a startling discovery. We caution you – the results could get your blood boiling if you’ve had to pay a penalty!

We found that the banks have shrunk or reduced the spreads between their Posted and Discounted rates on shorter-term mortgages over the past few years… and this has had a huge impact on Interest Rate Differential (IRD) penalty calculations. Continue reading “Mortgage Penalties: You could pay thousands to break your mortgage depending on your lender!”

Got a mortgage? Good news: Bank of Canada didn’t raise rates yesterday!

Blog Image, Your Best Mortgage is About More than Rate, Feb Mar 2018

Yesterday, Bank of Canada (BoC) Governor, Stephen Poloz, left rates unchanged. This kept the bank prime rate at 3.45%.

This also, indirectly, affects fixed mortgage rates. Great news for anyone with a mortgage. Go ahead, it’s okay to feel good about paying a low interest rate on what’s probably the biggest debt of your life!

ARE ECONOMISTS RIGHT?

For months we’ve heard economists forecasting 2-4 BoC rate hikes for 2018. So far, we’ve had one increase – in January. Should we be expecting three more increases? Only time will tell, since the BoC raises its rate when inflation rises above the target inflation rate… currently the range is between 1% and 3%, and sits at an acceptable 2.10%. Some believe inflation has increased temporarily, in part, due to increased minimum wage.

Continue reading “Got a mortgage? Good news: Bank of Canada didn’t raise rates yesterday!”

How can an extra $100 boost your mortgage?

Extra Payment Image, March 2018

When it comes to mortgages, $100 isn’t going to get you very far. But what if you paid an extra $100 a month towards your mortgage? It’s not a lot of money these days, but it can add up to some solid savings over time.

Let’s look at a $300,000 mortgage with a 2.89% rate and a 25-year amortization. At the end of five years, you’ve paid off an extra $6,444. The balance owing is $249,435. And the remaining amortization is 17 years and 9 months instead of 20 years.  This also represents an interest savings of $11,423 over the life of the mortgage. Not bad!

Now let’s look at paying an extra $200 per month. At the end of five years, you’ve paid off an extra $12,888. The balance owing is $242,991. And the remaining amortization is 15 years and 11 months. This represents an interest savings of $20,708 over the life of the mortgage! Continue reading “How can an extra $100 boost your mortgage?”

Yes, you can still buy a home in Canada… Keeping the dream alive

Homeownership Image, March 2018

Canada’s a nation of immigrants. It truly is the land of opportunity. Chances are, your parents, grandparents or great grandparents came here from another country.

There are many reasons why people left their homeland. Some left by choice to pursue a better life. Others had to leave for safety reasons. Whatever the reason, most of us have a common goal: A better life.

Homeownership has always been an important part of that dream. We want to own something. We want to plant roots. There’s a pile of statistics to support this claim. In my 28 years in the financial services industry, I can attest to this claim.

Continue reading “Yes, you can still buy a home in Canada… Keeping the dream alive”

Interest Rates are Rising… and Expected to Continue… But!

December Blog Image

Rates have been rising gradually over the past six months following several years of historically-low rates. There should be no surprise that rates are rising – it was bound to happen. But, we can be thankful they’re not predicted to spike. It’s much easier to deal with – and plan for – gradual increases.

Benjamin Tal, Deputy Chief Economist of CIBC World Markets Inc, spoke last week about his predictions for rates and a bunch of other economic indicators. I’ve been following him for 15 years now. He’s one of the few economists whom I respect, as his forecasts have proven very accurate. So, let’s pay attention!

Continue reading “Interest Rates are Rising… and Expected to Continue… But!”

Reverse Mortgages growing in popularity… Product of the year 2018?

Reverse mortgage

Mortgage stress test is the buzz phrase in mortgage lending for 2018. Every borrower, regardless of how much down payment you’re making, must pass a stress test to qualify for a mortgage. The math is simple, yet intimidating. Lenders must now use your mortgage contract rate PLUS 2.00% to qualify you.

Yes, that’s correct. You need to qualify at a rate that’s 2.00% higher than your actual rate. And it doesn’t matter if you have 35%, 40%, 50%, 60% or even 70% down payment. That will not have any impact on your approval. It’s all about how much income you can prove you earn and the strength of your credit worthiness.

For many, this new rule will prevent them from qualifying for a mortgage. And for seniors or people approaching retirement who still require a small mortgage to get through the next 10 or 20 years, these new mortgage rules are a killer. The stress test is surely causing stress among many Canadians!

I’M RETIRING AND WANT TO STAY IN MY HOME…

A reverse mortgage is a terrific option for homeowners who are at least 55 years old. It empowers them to be able to stay in their home and access tax-free equity without having to make regular payments.

Continue reading “Reverse Mortgages growing in popularity… Product of the year 2018?”

Rent is up, vacancy is down… rental properties make sense

Real Estate Investment Image, Feb 2018

Rental properties are a secure long-term investment. Note the emphasis on “long-term”.

Check out any seven-year period over the past 50 years (anyone who has read this news site knows that I always recommend buying and holding for at least seven years). Property values have almost always risen.

Sure, the last five or 10 years have seen fantastic appreciation in almost every part of Canada. But, let’s leave capital appreciation out of the equation for now.

Why aren’t we talking about rental income? Or, how about the equity growth through your mortgage being paid down each year?

RENTAL INCOME IS UP, UP, UP!

Rents have definitely gone up with inflation (or even higher, in many cases, as we have seen in urban markets like Toronto and Vancouver). This is part of what makes rental properties attractive rent rises with inflation and, in many cases, even higher. This is how you create your own pension or retirement income! Continue reading “Rent is up, vacancy is down… rental properties make sense”

Rates are going up… for now… is this the end of low rates?

 Next Wednesday will be the first Bank of Canada meeting date to set the Target rate, which directly affects Bank Prime rate and Variable rate mortgages. It’s almost a certainty that the Bank of Canada Governor, Stephen Poloz, will raise the rates.

POSITIVE DATA MEANS HIGHER RATES

There’s been too much positive economic data lately. Low unemployment levels (5.7%, the lowest since the ’70s), higher spending by consumers, slightly higher inflation (2.1%), record level stock market. We’ve also seen some comments and posturing by the Bank of Canada Govr that suggests we should expect a 0.25% increase.

Bond yields have also been moving steadily upward. Yup, we should expect a rate hike. And depending on how the market reacts to this, we could possibly see another rate hike at the next Bank of Canada meeting on March 7th.

BUT WAIT, IS THIS THE END OF MORTGAGE RATES IN THE 3.00%’s?

Continue reading “Rates are going up… for now… is this the end of low rates?”

A 2nd Bank of Canada rate hike surprises many.. what’s it mean?

 The Bank of Canada Governor, Stephen Poloz, has been full of surprises since he took on his current role.  With a second 0.25% rate hike today in consecutive BoC meetings, he’s pushed the rate to 1.00%.  This should result in a Bank Prime rate of 3.20%.   The move has surprised many experts as the economic indicators don’t justify a rate hike.

The move comes following last week’s surprising positive stats showing the Canadian economy grew by 4.5% in the 2nd quarter, according to stats Canada.   Could this be a knee jerk reaction?

Usually, the Bank of Canada increases rates when inflation rises above the Target level of between 1% and 3%.  A quick search on the BankofCanada.ca website and we see the inflation level is just 1.2%.   So, why raise the rate now?   According to the BoC press release, it’s all about that recent positive economic data. Hmmm, you have to wonder is they jumped the gun on this one?

WHAT’S THIS MEAN FOR MORTGAGE BORROWERS IN CANADA?

Standing back, we need to look at where current interest rates are in relation to historical rates.  With an expected Bank Prime rate set to increase by 0.25% (Banks usually follow and match the BoC rate movement except 2 yrs ago when the Boc cut the Target rate by 0.50% in 6 months, but the BIG SIX BANKS only cut their Prime rate by 0.30%, pocketing the difference and stumbling to explain why they would profit off the backs of Canadian consumers and businesses during an economic recovery…nice, huh?) This means the new Bank Prime rate will be 3.20%.

REALITY CHECK.

Are rates high? Are they low?  Historically, we are still in record low territory.   Fixed Mortgage rates are still just over 3.00% today.  Variable rate mortgages are 2.45% to 2.55%.    Hey, that’s not bad at all. In fact, it’s still great!  Too much emphasis has been put on these rate hikes, as though they would paralyze consumers from being able to spend or make their mortgage payments.   This is just untrue.

Canadians have had to qualify at Bank Posted 5 yr fixed rates for years, if you chose and Variable rate mortgage.  That means you had to pass the stress test using a rate that was 2.00% higher than your actual mortgage.   And what’s not talked about enough is that Canadians don’t just pay their minimum required payment.  They accelerate and increase their payments.  They pay more to pay the debt off faster!.  Canadians pay their mortgages off in around 17 yrs on average….with many paying them off in 12 years.

Bet ya didn’t know that?!

FUTURE RATE HIKES

Not likely.. at least not for a while.  These 2 consecutive rate hikes will be closely monitored to see how the consumer and the economy can absorb them.   If we start to see negative economic stats, we could see rate cuts.  It’s not out of the question and it wouldn’t be the first time the Bank of Canada had to reverse their increases.

Remember, we have seen major mortgage rule changes that have made it harder than EVER to qualify for a mortgage.  This lack of access to mortgage money is having a negative effect on the housing market.  Sales are down.  Prices have fallen (price decrease isn’t bad but we don’t want a free fall)..  Put it all together and you end up with less money flowing into the economy.   A slower economy usually means sustained low-interest rate environment… stay tuned folks..

MY ADVICE

If you are in a Variable rate mortgage, I would stay there.  Your rate is less than 3.00%.  Why would you want to lock in at over 3.00%?   If you are worried that rates could skyrocket, it’s unlikely given the fragile global economy and even our own economic instability.  However, if you can’t sleep at night because you are worried about the rates, and don’t mind paying a higher fixed rate for the assurance of knowing what your payment will be, then lock in or choose a fixed rate.   I’ll be staying in short term priced products like the Variable rate or a 2 or 3 yr term.  These products have proven to be the lowest cost products.

Your best interest is my only interest.   I reply to all questions and I welcome your comments.  Like this article?  Share with a friend.

Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 steve@mortgagenow.ca

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