A 2nd Bank of Canada rate hike surprises many.. what’s it mean?

 The Bank of Canada Governor, Stephen Poloz, has been full of surprises since he took on his current role.  With a second 0.25% rate hike today in consecutive BoC meetings, he’s pushed the rate to 1.00%.  This should result in a Bank Prime rate of 3.20%.   The move has surprised many experts as the economic indicators don’t justify a rate hike.

The move comes following last week’s surprising positive stats showing the Canadian economy grew by 4.5% in the 2nd quarter, according to stats Canada.   Could this be a knee jerk reaction?

Usually, the Bank of Canada increases rates when inflation rises above the Target level of between 1% and 3%.  A quick search on the BankofCanada.ca website and we see the inflation level is just 1.2%.   So, why raise the rate now?   According to the BoC press release, it’s all about that recent positive economic data. Hmmm, you have to wonder is they jumped the gun on this one?

WHAT’S THIS MEAN FOR MORTGAGE BORROWERS IN CANADA?

Standing back, we need to look at where current interest rates are in relation to historical rates.  With an expected Bank Prime rate set to increase by 0.25% (Banks usually follow and match the BoC rate movement except 2 yrs ago when the Boc cut the Target rate by 0.50% in 6 months, but the BIG SIX BANKS only cut their Prime rate by 0.30%, pocketing the difference and stumbling to explain why they would profit off the backs of Canadian consumers and businesses during an economic recovery…nice, huh?) This means the new Bank Prime rate will be 3.20%.

REALITY CHECK.

Are rates high? Are they low?  Historically, we are still in record low territory.   Fixed Mortgage rates are still just over 3.00% today.  Variable rate mortgages are 2.45% to 2.55%.    Hey, that’s not bad at all. In fact, it’s still great!  Too much emphasis has been put on these rate hikes, as though they would paralyze consumers from being able to spend or make their mortgage payments.   This is just untrue.

Canadians have had to qualify at Bank Posted 5 yr fixed rates for years, if you chose and Variable rate mortgage.  That means you had to pass the stress test using a rate that was 2.00% higher than your actual mortgage.   And what’s not talked about enough is that Canadians don’t just pay their minimum required payment.  They accelerate and increase their payments.  They pay more to pay the debt off faster!.  Canadians pay their mortgages off in around 17 yrs on average….with many paying them off in 12 years.

Bet ya didn’t know that?!

FUTURE RATE HIKES

Not likely.. at least not for a while.  These 2 consecutive rate hikes will be closely monitored to see how the consumer and the economy can absorb them.   If we start to see negative economic stats, we could see rate cuts.  It’s not out of the question and it wouldn’t be the first time the Bank of Canada had to reverse their increases.

Remember, we have seen major mortgage rule changes that have made it harder than EVER to qualify for a mortgage.  This lack of access to mortgage money is having a negative effect on the housing market.  Sales are down.  Prices have fallen (price decrease isn’t bad but we don’t want a free fall)..  Put it all together and you end up with less money flowing into the economy.   A slower economy usually means sustained low-interest rate environment… stay tuned folks..

MY ADVICE

If you are in a Variable rate mortgage, I would stay there.  Your rate is less than 3.00%.  Why would you want to lock in at over 3.00%?   If you are worried that rates could skyrocket, it’s unlikely given the fragile global economy and even our own economic instability.  However, if you can’t sleep at night because you are worried about the rates, and don’t mind paying a higher fixed rate for the assurance of knowing what your payment will be, then lock in or choose a fixed rate.   I’ll be staying in short term priced products like the Variable rate or a 2 or 3 yr term.  These products have proven to be the lowest cost products.

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@mortgagenow.ca

Enjoy the low rates..No rate hike with Bank of Canada

The Bank held their third, of eight, scheduled meetings this week.   As widely predicted, the Bank of Canada announced that it is holding the key rate steady.

While noting that “economic growth has been faster than expected”, the bank said it’s too early to determine if the economy is on a “sustainable growth path”, citing weakness in export growth, business investment and employment.

The Bank’s three measures of core inflation, taken together, continue to point to material excess capacity in the economy. While there have been recent gains in employment, little growth in wages and hours worked continue to reflect economic slack in Canada, in contrast to the United States.

The bank also took into account uncertainties that include the potential impact of U.S. trade policies. The next rate-setting day is May 24.

This announcement means there should be no change to the prime rate. Great news if you have a variable-rate mortgage or line of credit, need a new mortgage, are renewing, or want to save thousands by consolidating debt at the lowest-cost funds. Or perhaps you are thinking of using home equity to invest in a rental property or second home, or cost effectively complete renovations.

Given the uncertain economic outlook, we continue to expect interest rates to stay low in Canada well into 2020, although the new mortgage rules have caused mortgage rates to be very complicated. Quick rate quotes are not very reliable! That’s why it’s so beneficial to work with an experienced mortgage broker who has access to a wide range of lenders and knows the right questions to ask to assess your situation and provide the best mortgage for your needs. Save yourself time and stress; don’t just ask what the rate is, have a conversation instead.

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@mortgagenow.ca

US election year… low rates today, but higher rates tomorrow.?

US electionLooking at this pic, aren’t you happy to be living in Canada?    Ok.. back to the article…

September 7th is the sixth of eight scheduled meeting dates for 2016.  The Bank of Canada governor, Stephen Poloz, is expected to leave the rate unchanged.  The Bank of Canada rate affects Bank Prime rates and Variable mortgage rates.  It also affects Fixed mortgage rates, indirectly.stephen poloz

Historically, Canadian mortgage rates have followed the US election year.  As we lead up to an election, rates tend to lower than normal.   And in the months after the election, rates go up.  Not always, but this happens often.

Will this happen in 2017?   Hard to say… however, we’ve seen the US Fed Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen, state that the US rate could go up as soon as Sept 21.

This may or may not happen.   Ms. Yellen has hinted at a looming rate hike for months.   (sort of reminds me of our previous Bank of Canada governor, Mark Carney, making numerous statements of a pending rate hike that didn’t materialize for years).   Be careful, she could be known as “The woman who cried wolf”?

Stay tuned.. the next few months could be a bit of a roller coaster..   And as always, don’t panic.  If you’re not sure, contact an experienced Mortgage Broker for neutral, unbiased advice.

Oh, by the way, did you know we are experiencing the lowest fixed rates in history?  For those that have a mortgage, congrats.  You should be paying less interest than ever before.

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@mortgagenow.ca

US Fed rate hike doesn’t mean Bank of Cda rate hike!

Janet YellenLast month, the US Fed Reserve Bank Chairperson, Janet Yellen, raised rates for the first time since 2006.    Historically, Canada follows the US with rate movement..  However, times are changing…Don’t expect Canada to follow the US move anytime soon.

stephen polozDivergence.  That’s the new buzz-word.  Bank of Cda Govr, Stephen Poloz said, “Usually you think of the Canadian economy following the U.S. economy fairly closely. This will be one of those places where it really doesn’t.”   “But as a macro statement, there will a divergence there. We’re already seeing it, and so you should expect a divergence in policy too,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

Negative interest rates by the Bank of Canada… No, not likely.

stephen polozYou gotta love the media.  Yesterday, the Bank of Canada Governor gave a speech and announced a change in contingency plans should we fall into another financial crisis… like the US-made global recession in 2008.

But if you read the headlines, you would think the sky has fallen.  All I kept seeing were headlines claiming “Canada could see Negative interest rates.  Below zero interest rates.   Canada would consider negative interest rates…  ”   Wow, talk about misleading the public.

Okay, so here’s what he really said, and this is straight from the Bank of Canada website…I quote… “We don’t need unconventional policies now, and we don’t expect to use them. However, it’s prudent to be prepared for every eventuality,” Governor Poloz said in a speech today to the Empire Club of Canada.

He went on to say that he believes that our economy is on target to rebound for 2017.. and here’s another direct quote.  The Bank is forecasting increasing annual growth in 2016 and 2017, with the Canadian economy expected to reach full capacity around mid-2017.”

I think this is pretty clear.   The ‘worst case scenario’ plan has changed..  and the BOC govr expects our economy to rebound in the next 12 to 18 months.   Hope this helps to clarify the message.  Keeping it real.. and keeping it simple.

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@mortgagenow.ca

New threat of Rate hikes… it’s called Finance Minister Flaherty.

Flaherty thumbs up The Federal govt of Canada and the Bank of Canada are supposed to operate independently.  The Minister of Finance gives the Bank of Canada its objectives or its mandate.   And the Bank of Canada is supposed to carry out that mandate.   The dotted line is supposed to allow the Bank of Canada Governor to exercise his/her powers without fear of political influence.

THE COMMENT

But our current Finance Minister, Mr. Flaherty, doesn’t seem to like those rules.  He has repeatedly opened his mouth at inopportune times.   Take last year, for example, when he publicly criticized Manulife Bank and BMO for advertising a 2.99% 5 yr fixed rate.  He actually asked them to pull those ads!  Not that they were the lowest 5 yr fixed rates at the time, but they were the lowest advertised rates by a major BANK. (as my regular readers know, mortgage brokers had lower rates… as they usually do). Read the rest of this entry »

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