Skip to content

Surprise, Surprise: No Rate Hike From Bank of Canada

For months we’ve been warned by “experts” that rates are sure to shoot up. That the Bank of Canada will change their tune based on the state of the economy. That by year’s end, we’ll be well on our way to pre-pandemic rates that will make anyone with a variable rate mortgage regret ever buying a home.

It’s December. None of that has happened.

Continue reading “Surprise, Surprise: No Rate Hike From Bank of Canada”

What Nobody Is Telling You About Fixed Rate Mortgages

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.

Continue reading “What Nobody Is Telling You About Fixed Rate Mortgages”

Don’t Fall For Low Fixed Rates

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. 

Continue reading “Don’t Fall For Low Fixed Rates”

Despite Uncertainty, Canadians Are Keeping Up With Mortgage Payments

You might have heard some sensationalist news stories over the past year about Canadian homeowners over-borrowing. With the employment rate so low, and mortgage debt so high, how could Canadians possibly keep up with their payments? Headlines spewed dire warnings that once payment deferrals expired, borrowers would default in droves. 

Except that isn’t what happened at all. 

Continue reading “Despite Uncertainty, Canadians Are Keeping Up With Mortgage Payments”

Canadians Are Paying Down Their Non-Mortgage Debt

In so many ways, the pandemic has been devastating for Canadians. Between layoffs, supply-chain shortages, and healthcare challenges, the last year and a half has tested us in ways we never could have imagined a decade ago. And yet, in the midst of adversity, some silver lining has come to light: Canadians have actually been very smart with their money. 

We know that Canadians have never had more disposable income. Lockdowns physically limited our ability to shop and dine out while CERB payments padded our pockets for months. But people weren’t running out and buying Teslas. In fact, they were using their excess cash to pay down expensive debt

This happened almost immediately. Less than two months into the first lockdown, May 2020 saw the first decline in non-mortgage debt in decades. By January 2021, non-mortgage debt had plummeted by more than $20 billion, including a whopping decline of $16.6 billion in credit card debt. Now able to pay down their Visa bills, Canadians were able to incur more practical debt: mortgage debt.

Mortgage Debt in the Pandemic Era

As non-mortgage debt evaporated, mortgage debt ballooned. Almost $99.6 billion between the start of COVID and January 2021, to be exact. Why? Mortgage rates fell. The stock market soared. Extra disposable income made it a little easier to save for a down payment. But more than anything, the stay-at-home orders forced Canadians to really value their living spaces. 

The Bottom Line

Canadians are trading in their bad debt for good debt. What’s the difference? Bad debt is spent on inessential items that don’t retain or accrue value, while good debt can enhance your net worth over time. In my opinion, mortgage debt is good debt.

Real estate values in Canada have only increased over the last 25 years. So when you take out a loan on a home, you’ll almost certainly see a return. Having debt tied to a tangible asset that appreciates in value is prudent, whereas having debt tied to an overcharged Amex card is not. The trend towards good debt is an indication that Canadians are getting more savvy at managing their money. 

But it’s also a huge indication that Canadians value homeownership. You can even see it in how much they’re spending on home decor and renovations. With home values on the rise and rates remaining stable, it’s very likely that we’ll see mortgage debt climb even more than we already have.

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@canadamortgagenews.ca

%d bloggers like this: