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CategoryInterest rates

TD and RBC are first to raise fixed rates…

RBC and TD Canada Trust are raising fixed mortgage rates from 20bps on shorter terms, to 35bps for longer terms…. The new posted 5 year fixed rate is 5.69%…

The so-called ‘special fixed rate’ advertised by Retail Banks is now 4.44% at TD and 4.54% at RBC.… (Of course, Mortgage Brokers have access to even lower rates…)

Three weeks ago, Banks lowered their fixed rates after the Bond market dropped due to the Mid-east turmoil and the Japan Tsunami.   Bond yields have gone up from 2.45% on March 16 to 2.77% today.    That 32bps increase has prompted the Banks to raise rates.   Fixed mortgage rates are affected by Bond Yields.

Variable rates remain unchanged.   Not sure what’s best for you?  Speak with a qualified Mortgage Broker to get some direction.

 

Inflation rate drops in February and rate hikes pulled back.

It may seem hard to believe  but Canada’s core inflation rate is down in February to lowest level since 1984 as reported by CBC.  It’s now 0.90%.

Filling up my car at the gas pumps or buying groceries is certainly costing me more… So how can the inflation rate be lower be lower?

The Core inflation rate strips away food and energy costs resulting in a lower rate of inflation.

The Bank of Canada has a Target inflation rate of 2%.  The Target range is 1% to 3%.  When you combine a high Canadian $dollar that is at par with the $US dollar and this low inflation rate, the Bank of Canada less likely to raise the Target Rate….for now.

Here are a few forecasts…  Citigroup says a rate hike will not take place in April but instead, July.  And retired RBC Chief Economist, Patricia Croft says to watch the Bank of Canada 2 year bond yields for an indication of where the market thinks rates are headed.   The yields have dropped from 1.90% to 1.68%.    She says the market thinks rates won’t go up til October and only by 35bps.  But she thinks we should be ready for summer rate hikes.  The next few inflation reports will play a big part in the Bank of Canada’s future decisions.

I tend to agree with both forecasts… Summer rate hikes are  likely…. but I’m not sure how high and how quickly these rate hikes will happen.   We’ll be watching and reporting.

CBC news reports Scotiabank slams client with $30,000 penalty!

A word about world events the past 4 weeks…  We have seen a lot of turmoil overseas……  Egypt, Libya  and other middle east countries…. We need to pay attention…. Let’s hope for an immediate and peaceful resolution…

The Tsunami in Japan has been horrible… the images on TV are tough to watch…what a tragedy… Our hearts go out to the people of that nation.

Fixed rates drop slightly and Variable rates remain flat.

We have also seen how mortgage rates can be affected by these events… The uncertainty has caused the Bond market to fall…. and we even saw a very small rate reduction by the Big Banks… Posted Fixed rates are down around 10bps… 5 yr fixed is 5.34%. Continue reading “CBC news reports Scotiabank slams client with $30,000 penalty!”

The Big Six have all raised their rates now…

A look at locking into a Fixed rate

By now, you’ve heard that Fixed Mortgage rates have gone up by 0.55% since November…5 year fixed is currently sitting at around 4.04% vs 3.49%.  (these are best broker rates…the best retail bank rates are 4.39%)…. Let’s take a closer look at what this will cost you.

On a $200,000 mortgage with a 25 year amortization, your monthly payment goes up by $58.89 or about $3,500 over a 5 year period.    That’s quite a bit of money…. and this probably gets a lot of us thinking about locking into a 5 year fixed rate….But is this the right strategy for everyone?

For some of us, it will make sense to take a 5 year fixed rate… this is not a bad option for those on a tight budget, pension income, or just can’t sleep at night thinking about rates…  make sure you are locking in for the right reason…

A look at NOT locking into a Fixed rate

Current Variable is 2.25%….  A $200,000 mortgage with a 25 year amortization has lower monthly payments by $185.16.  Okay, I know what you’re thinking and you’re right… this rate will not remain the same for 5 years.. In fact, we know it’s probably going to go up.   So it’s difficult to calculate exactly how much you would save or lose by sticking with a Variable rate…  History shows us Bank Prime goes up and down around 2 to 3 times a year….Look at this chart of Historical Rates. The RBC is forecasting for Bank Prime to go up by 1.00% this year and another 1.50% next year!!  (not sure I agree with this forecast).     If you like flexibility, are willing to tolerate rate movements, and want to take a calculated risk of floating your rate, then Variable could be a great option for you.

Is Variable rate more stable than Fixed rate?

The media keeps telling us mortgage rates are going up.. they will skyrocket….So why are people still considering Variable Rate mortgages?   We looked a little deeper and found some interesting trends…

-From Oct 2008 (the month of the U.S. Mortgage crisis) to Oct 2009, the Bank of Canada only changed Bank Prime 4 times…This was the worst recession since the Great Depression of 30’s….and yet Bank Prime only changed a handful of times….

-the BOC raised rates in 1992 because they thought the economy was strong enough to handle… they quickly lowered them but it was a little late as the economy staggered for another few years… this pattern has repeated itself on more than one occasion…most recently, 2010…

-the BOC forecasted that interest rates would skyrocket in mid to late 2010… they were wrong…

-Variable rate has historically been 1% to 3% lower than fixed rates.

Conclusion….Variable rate moves less often than Fixed rates… And yes, it’s more stable if you measure stability by rate movements… But there will be movement.. and maybe that’s what makes Variable rate a choice for only 25% of Canadians…  Us Canadians are a conservative bunch, or so our rep goes….  And by the way… The Banks would LOVE to have everyone take a 5 year fixed rate.. these are the most profitable mortgage products for them…. Keep that in mind…

Bank of Canada action not always prudent or correct…

Have to share this article giving us some history on the accuracy of the Bank of Canada (BOC)  interest rate forecasts…   This should get you thinking a little the next time you hear the  BOC forecasts…. Take a look at this Historical Rates chart.. look at the Bank Prime section…   You will notice some trends of rates hikes followed by rate drops…

We aren’t saying BOC rates will fall anytime soon… it’s clear the rate will go up…. but there is no straight line increase if you look back in history… Increases are followed by decreases…

-1992.. the BOC erred and raised rates thinking the economy was strong but they quickly retreated and reversed those increases after realizing it was too much, too soon.

-1995…the Quebec referendum year… remember that?  I do.. I bought a house that year… and interest rates went up 1.00% overnight after fears of a Quebec ‘YES’ vote was more than possible… but then rates dropped like a rock and remained low for several years…

-2000….another recession… the dot.com, dot.bomb error of hi-tech stock greed…  rates had climbed in 1998 and 1999 but dropped in 2001 and remained low once again…

-2008…the U.S. mortgage crisis… the worst Global recession since the Great Depression of the ’30s…. we saw BOC drop the rate to a modern-day record low…Bank Prime was 2.25%…

-2010…the BOC kept it’s promise to raise rates and increased the rate by 0.75% over a 3 month span to 3.00%….

-2011…. ?????  the BOC is expected to raise rates by as much as 1.00% this year, and another 1.50% next year, according to the RBC Economist…. Did the BOC raise rates too quickly?  Can our economy absorb these increases?   Questions that won’t be answered for a while…

It doesn’t mean you have to sit and do nothing

But this doesn’t mean you have to stand by and be a spectator.   By keeping informed with historical trends and understanding your own personal situation, you can be in control…. Understand where you fit in… Is Fixed rate better for you now?  Does Variable Rate still make sense for you?   Can you handle the potential increases that are coming?    A good Mortgage Broker can help guide you to the right answer… Remember, it’s your mortgage, your payment…your decision.

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