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CategoryInterest rates

Bank of Canada leaves Key Rate unchanged

This morning marked the fourth of eight scheduled meetings for 2011 by the Bank of Canada.  No surprises, the BOC left the rate unchanged. This keeps the Bank Prime rate at 3.00% and keeps those Variable rate mortgages well under 3.00%.  Great news for borrowers.

In their press release, the BOC noted concerns about the high Canadian $dollar… increasing the BOC rate would probably mean an even higher $CAD, putting more pressure on Canada’s exports.   The  $CAD is currently $1.02US.  Still, the BOC is concerned about inflation and keeping inflation within the Target Zone of between 1.00% and 3.00% has always been one of the biggest factors that drive BOC policies.   “…inflation expectations remain well-anchored.”

The next BOC meeting is July 19… right now, it does not appear as though we will see any hikes until September or later…

Economic and Real Estate Outlook from Annual Mortgage Broker’s conference.

On April 14, I attended the annual Independent Mortgage Brokers Association (IMBA) annual conference.   We were fortunate to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) Regional Economist, Ted Tsiakopoulos, share his outlook on the economy, real estate and interest rates.

Click here for the entire presentation.    This is a summary of CMHC’s outlook:

  • No evidence of housing bubble.
  • housing market is stabilizing in Ontario.
  • we won’t see the growth in prices as in years past.
  • this outlook is still uncertain given all the global events, both political and economic.
  • credit growth is slowing.
  • Interest rates will rise as economy improves.

The good news is that there doesn’t seem to be a housing bubble.  Interest rates will gradually return to normal.  And we don’t seem to be taking on as much personal debt as the government and media has led up to believe in the recent months.

The effect of an NDP win or coming in 2nd place and mortgage rates.

We don’t normally get involved in politics on this site… not unless it can affect mortgage rates, the housing market or the economy…One of the more infamous examples was in 1995 during the Quebec Referendum.   Does anyone remember that?

Just before the referendum, a new poll had suggested that Quebecers’ could win a majority vote to separate.  This sent the Canadian stock market and the Canadian dollar plunging.   You might also remember that the Bank of Canada rate jumped 1.00% over night along with mortgage rates.  It’s the single biggest increase that we have ever seen.  It forced many of us to lock into a 5 year fixed rate… (something the Banks loved as the 5 year fixed rate product is the most profitable).

I’m not saying this will happen again but there was a report in The National Post that says BMO put out a warning to investors that things could be shaky if Jack Layton and the NDP  continue to gain ground in the polls.

Another recent development this week is that a few major Lenders have increased their rates on new Variable rate mortgages.  We have seen them go from Prime less 0.75% to Prime less 0.50%.   They say it’s due to profitability pressures…. but I wonder if has more to do with the election next week?

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.

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