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

Spring housing market in the Fall?

Fewer homes in the summer.  Lower average home selling price in the summer.  That’s this year’s headline.  But it could also apply to last year or the year before or the year before that.

What hasn’t been said much is that house prices almost always go up in the Spring and fall during the summer. 

This year isn’t much different.  Except that this Spring, we saw ridiculous price increases in the 20% range.

That’s just not sustainable.  Check out some of these graphs from Canadian Real Estate Association.

This summer, house prices have fallen a little more than average.   And sales are also down compared with the last 2 years.  But listings haven’t increased.  In fact, listings dropped in July signalling we could have reached the bottom.

Hey, if we were in a housing bubble, you would have seen new listings continue to spike up.  That’s when we know the market will have changed gears.

 

PENT UP BUYER DEMAND?

Some are speculating that we could see a busy Fall market this September or October.  The Fall has historically been the 2nd busiest housing market.    If we look at Vancouver in 2016, after they announced their 15% Foreign tax rule, their market went soft and was very quiet.  Many pessimists were saying it was the bubble bursting.

Six months later and Vancouver’s market is busier than ever. Fully recovered.  The initial shock of the Foreign tax rule came and went.   We could see that same sort of comeback for Toronto.

A WORD TO OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND REGULATORS…

To the Federal govt:  Please, no more mortgage rule changes.  Let the market absorb all the massive changes already made.  Listen, I’m telling you with 28 years of mortgage lending experience.. I can’t recall when qualifying for a mortgage has ever been harder… and I was around during the last real estate recession of 1990.

Non-bank lenders are being penalized as their cost of funds are higher than BIG SIX BANKS (thanks to the new Fed govt mortgage rules), hence driving more customers towards the BANKS… THE WINNERS:  BIG SIX BANKS.  THE LOSERS: CONSUMERS. Let’s bring back competition among Mortgage Lenders… and let’s make mortgage financing accessible again.  The pendulum has swung way too far to the conservative lending side.

BANK OF CANADA RATE HIKES ON HOLD?

The Bank of Canada hiked the Prime rate by 0.25% in July.  It was headline news for weeks.  Many said this was the 1st of many hikes to come.  Today, the forecast is for a possible October hike.  But that isn’t a sure thing.  And if the uncertainty with the housing market continues or if the NAFTA trade agreement gets turfed like President Trump says, you can bet the Bank of Canada governor will think twice about raising the rates.   More likely a rate drop!

Stay tuned.. Maybe we’ll see a Spring market in the Fall?

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

Bank of Canada rate hike.. it’s really not a big deal.

BREAKING NEWS… BANK OF CANADA RAISES RATE BY 0.25% AND THE SKY HASN’T FALLEN!!

Stephen Poloz, the Bank of Canada Governor, raised the Target rate by 0.25% to 0.75%.   Maybe now the media will move on to other news.

Seriously, aren’t we all kinda tired of hearing how rates are going to skyrocket,…how this is going to make our mortgages unaffordable… how we have record debt levels.. how we are going to default our mortgages, lose our homes and go into a recession…it’s doom and gloom?  This isn’t happening.

SOME FACTS ABOUT THE RATE HIKE Read the rest of this entry »

Mortgage rates going up a little.. for now. What should you do?

Happy 150th Canada!  Mortgage rates are going up.  Hooray!  Ok, yes, I’m being sarcastic.

This isn’t the cheery message you wanna hear if you have a mortgage coming up for renewal soon. But, hold on.  What does this really mean?  It’s a great attention grabber.  And now that you’re reading, let’s cut through the bull!

It’s true.  Wholesale fixed mortgage rates have gone up.. around 0.15%.  Yup, that’s it.  Yet, reading all the media headlines would make you believe mortgage rates went up 1.00% or something like that!!   This just isn’t the case.   And Variable rates haven’t changed as of yet.. Mind you, we could see an increase of 0.25% on July 12.. That’s still putting most Variable rate borrowers at 2.25% and 2.40%.. That’s a ridiculously low rate.

Here’s what’s happening…We’ve seen the media take little snippets of the Bank of Canada Governor, Mr. Stephen Poloz’s comments and turn them into front page headlines.  Great for headlines but short of full disclosure.  Here’s a more complete picture. Read the rest of this entry »

Bank of Canada hints of rates hikes.. bond yields spike up

Bank of Canada Senior Deputy governor, Carolyn Wilkins, made headlines this week when she hinted of pending rate hikes.

The reaction by investors was swift.  Bond yields were up 20bps. Fixed mortgage rates are priced from Gov of Cda bond yields.  Variable mortgage rates are priced from Bank of Canada rate.  And the next Bank of Canada meeting is scheduled for July 12th, the fifth of eight scheduled meetings.  Many are betting we could see a rate hike then.

DON’T PANIC…. RATES ARE STILL RIDICULOUSLY LOW…   The media was quick to find ‘so-called’ experts to quote.  I’ve seen some saying we should all lock in our variable rate mortgages into fixed rate products.  And others say you should brace yourself for payment shock.

Here’s a reality check..   Variable rate mortgage are around 2.20% .. Some are higher, some are lower..    EVERY Canadian must qualify for a Variable rate, using the POSTED 5 year fixed bank rate.  That rate has been at or near 4.64% for several years.

If rates go up, we can expect a slow gradual increase..  around 0.25% at at time.  And here’s the thing..If you can qualify at 4.64%, what makes you think you can’t afford your mortgage at 2.45% or 2.70%??

The sky isn’t falling.   Many Canadians are already paying more than they have to by increasing their regular payments to accelerate the amortization and retire their debt sooner.  In fact, most of my clients are doing this because they can.   Don’t believe everything you hear or read in the media…  We are experiencing record low interest rates and yet, we’re made to feel like it’s a horrible time to have a mortgage..  Anyone else seeing something wrong with this?

By the way, I still like Variable rate mortgages today.

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

Mortgage rate outlook 2017.. Expect Fixed mortgage rates to go up…Expect Variable rate pricing to drop.

trudeau-trumpFixed mortgage rates have increased by about 0.40% in the last 6 weeks.   Today’s 5 year fixed rates are at around 2.89% and will could continue to go up in 2017.   There are political and fundamental reasons why rates have gone up. (oh, by the way..  it’s not panic time.. who ever said that 5 yr fixed rates were the best product to choose anyways? more on this later.)

FUNDAMENTAL REASONS

Govt of Cda bond yields have gone up around 0.55% since October (fixed rates are priced from govt of Cda bond yields).  It’s more expensive for Lenders to fund mortgages due to stricter government regulation and higher Capital holding requirements.  These increased costs are being passed down to the consumer.

Okay, this is the “how” the rates are higher.. but what’s prompted these fundamentals?  Why are rates higher?

POLITICAL REASONS.. IT’S ALL POLITICS Read the rest of this entry »

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