Mark Carney, the Bank of Canada Governor, kept the overnight rate at 0.25%…(yawn…)… The rate that affects all Bank Prime rates and Variable Mortgage Rates has remained at this level since April 2009….
In the announcement, the Bank of Canada stated they were concerned about inflation increasing a little faster than they had forecast. The Economy also grew at an annualized rate of 5% in the fourth quarter of 2009….. (personally, I think it would be surprising to see it continue to grow at this pace…. )
Governor Carney has repeatedly stated he will not increase the rate before June… well June is approaching and some of the Economists are starting to forecast for possible rate hikes as early as June… but nothing too drastic..
One rule of thumb or interesting historical trend is that fixed rates usually increase first or before the variable rates rise….we’ll be watching the bond market (bonds affect fixed rates)….
BANK PRIME RATE FORECAST
The CIBC’s Senior Economist, Ben Tal, says Bank Prime rate will start to increase this summer… but only by 0.50% to 0.75% by end of the year… and then will pause in 2011 to see where the U.S. rates are headed…. click here Feb 26 2010 CIBC Forecast.
Mr. Tal thinks this is “risk move” pointing to similar Bank of Canada action in 1992 and 2002 when the Bank hiked rates only to reverse the decision a few months later…
Mr. Tal also points out that real inflation is around 1.5% and will continue to remain low into 2011.
Does this mean we should lock in our variable rate mortgages? For most of us, probably not… but if you aren’t sure, then speak with your Mortgage Broker.
NEW MORTGAGE RULES EFFECT
Mr. Tal sees the new mortgage rules having little effect on most of us. Here are his calculations…
- Increase down payment requirement for refinancing: 7%-8%
- Increase down payment requirement for non-primary residence: 2%-3%
- Increase qualifying rate on variable mortgages: 5%-6%
This is the first outlook I have seen…and it’s really not bad at all… Enjoy the weekend… and GO CANADA GO!
As we reported last week, the speculation about possible Mortgage Rules changing has become a reality…. the Federal government is going ahead with changes in Mortgage lending policies…..and these will come into effect April 19, 2010. Here are the 3 changes as reported on CBC.ca:
- all borrowers will now have to qualify using a 5 year fixed rate even if they choose a shorter term or a variable rate mortgage. (3 years fixed was the standard qualifying rates)
- refinancing your mortgage is now capped at 90% of the value of the home instead of 95%.
- investment properties will now require a 20% down payment instead of the current 5% down.
This last change will probably have the greatest impact in my opinion… It’s designed to discourage buying condos and houses for speculation purposes. However, ask anyone how their RRSPs are doing lately… the answer will probably not be good… A great many Canadians starting turning to real estate as means of buying a safe, long term investment… this could be done with as little as 5% down… but no more.
Early reaction is that these rule changes will create a small surge in house sales and then we should see a cooling off in the market…. only time will tell if these measures will have the desired effect or if they will simple force Canadians to get back into the Mutual Fund and Stock Market…. stay tuned as we follow this story..
TIGHTER MORTGAGE RULES
Too many articles this week about possible changes coming from the Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty, on budget day March 4th. Globe and Mail and CTV.ca Where there’s smoke, there’s fire… or at least there is some serious consideration being given to changes in mortgage lending. If you’re a first time homebuyer that’s looking to buy this year, you may want to get your mortgage preapproved sooner than later… talk to your Mortgage Broker.
HIGHER HOME SALES AND HIGHER HOUSE PRICES
And how about the effect of CREA making the MLS public or more accessible? Will this affect house prices? Some think it will fuel house price increases…. Read this article from the Financial Post.
Here’s an article from The Star that shouts out ‘home sales skyrocket 87%’. Wow, that’s a scary number…And here’s another article from The Star that paints a clearer picture… ‘Some encouraging news and numbers’ they say…it can be confusing … but here’s an article with a good graph from The Financial Post .. look at the figures.. we are still below pre-recession figures… January 2010 sales were about the same as January 2008 sales.. maybe the market isn’t on fire, maybe it’s just active?
What’s this? RBC, BMO and National Bank have lowered their posted fixed rates? Yes, it’s true… the 5 year fixed rate is now 5.39%. Bond rates have come down over the past few weeks after some concerns about the speed of the recovery.
These are posted branch rates…some banks advertise lower special rates of around 4.09%…. of course, there are even lower wholesale or discounted rates through the mortgage broker market…. speak to your mortgage broker to get current rates.
Variable rates aren’t expected to move anytime soon… in fact, here’s one forecast for interest rates to remain flat for the entire year…. and I think this is very possible.. Happy Savings!!!