My father keeps the news on constantly. It’s like an addiction, and CP24 is his drug of choice. It hurls bad news all day and all night. Not because it’s helpful, or even that interesting – but because it keeps his eyeballs on the screen. My father isn’t alone. CP24 and other 24-hour news sources are tattooed onto screens across the country.
Unfortunately, a lot of that bad news has to do with the housing market. It seems as though there’s a constant parade of “experts” telling you that we’re in a bubble. To sell now and rent until the market corrects itself. To avoid “risk” and go with a fixed rate mortgage.
This last myth in particular has gone viral and needs to be dispelled.
The fixed rate versus variable rate debate has never been more heated. With fixed rates currently averaging historical lows of roughly 2.25%, a lot of people are left wondering, “why wouldn’t I choose a fixed rate mortgage?” Fair enough – it certainly appears to be a safe bet on the surface. Lock in a low rate. Maintain it for the entirety of your term. Never worry about rates going up.
This belief is fuelled by the big banks spreading hysteria that variable rates are sure to shoot up. Why risk it when you can go with a record low fixed rate? Here’s the truth: The banks are pushing 5-year fixed rate mortgages because they’re more profitable for them. A variable rate mortgage isn’t the gamble it’s made out to be. In fact, it’s by far the more prudent move.
In July 2020, with CEO Evan Siddall at the helm, the CMHC decided to tighten the rules for insured mortgages. With revisions like a much higher minimum credit score, and much lower maximums for gross and total debt service ratios, it instantly became much more difficult for Canadians to qualify for an insured mortgage. Unsurprisingly, this proved to be an unpopular move. So why did Siddall do it?
I participated in a Q & A with one of my good realtor friends, Jenelle Cameron of Remax. We had a chance to discuss the current impact of COVID-19 on mortgages and the real estate market in general. Find out the latest on mortgages, what’s happening with closings during this time, and more!
For years, we’ve been told to pay our mortgage bi-weekly. Magically, it will pay your mortgage off faster. Hmm, let’s put that to the test.
(SPOILER ALERT!) Around 10 years ago, I wrote an article showing some simple but effective math to explain this. I’m constantly getting emails from my readers asking me what they should do. Obviously, a topic worth taking another look at.
Let me also say, there is merit to paying bi-weekly… I’ll explain further on.
HISTORY OF BI-WEEKLY PAYMENTS
Back in the mid-’90s, there was a huge marketing blitz by the Big Banks that promoted making bi-weekly payments instead of the traditional monthly payments. The sales pitch was that you could save huge amounts of money and pay your mortgage off much faster, shaving 4 or 5 years off your amortization. Sound familiar? While offering some benefit, BI-WEEKLY PAYMENTS DON’T SAVE AS MUCH AS YOU MIGHT THINK!