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Tagcanadian mortgage rates

What’s the TRUE Impact of Policy Changes on the Canadian Mortgage Market?

Boc Mortgage Rule Impacts, Dec 2018

It’s certainly not what the Bank of Canada (BoC) is claiming!

The BoC recently released a document detailing what it believes to be a positive report on the Canadian Mortgage Market, but this article clearly shows how out of touch our government is.

The BoC is applauding their statistics… yet, these numbers show that the government appears to be measuring affordability as a multiple of one’s income – and not by the proven, standard method of debt servicing ratios. This is very odd and, quite frankly, I find it absurd.

Continue reading “What’s the TRUE Impact of Policy Changes on the Canadian Mortgage Market?”

Looking ahead to 2015 rates and trends

happyholidays (1) Seasons Greetings!  Happy New Year!   Quick thank you for making 2014 a great year!  Hope yours was just as special.  And I’m wishing you much success and happiness in 2015.

I’ll make this quick as I’m sure you have some New Year’s Eve celebrations to attend to.

QUICK YEAR IN REVIEW.

  • Interest rates haven’t really changed this year.
  • 5 yr fixed rates are under 3.00%.
  • Variable rate pricing improved to around Prime less 0.60% (less in some cases and dropping).
  •   In fact, looking at the big picture, interest rates haven’t really changed much in the last 4 yrs.   Yet, you wouldn’t know it by reading the newspaper headlines….(sorry to my media friends…)

Let’s get to it.  MY THOUGHTS ON 2015. Continue reading “Looking ahead to 2015 rates and trends”

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). Continue reading “New threat of Rate hikes… it’s called Finance Minister Flaherty.”

Govt regulator says interest rates extremely attractive…

We can interpret a sentence to mean several different things…   Take for example the following comments made by the head of the Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), Julie Dickson:

“current levels of interest rates have already made borrowing extremely attractive to all borrowers.”  (Wall Street Journal)

– “Extremely low rates will be with us for even longer than envisaged before the summer.” (Globe and Mail)

What does that mean to you?   To me, it simply means we are in a historic low interest rate environment.. with an economy that is better off than the rest of the world…  add it all up and it looks like a pretty good time to borrow, if you ask me… Borrowing for a house is NOT the same as borrowing for a car or a trip… A house is a tangible asset.. it appreciates tax-free.  It’s a good investment…

Borrowing to invest

Speaking of borrowing to invest…. rental properties have never looked more attractive…  Borrowing to invest is NOT a bad thing and it is NOT what the regulators and economists are concerned about… They are concerned about borrowers that have borrowed to their absolute maximum capacity and cannot afford to miss a day’s work without being in danger of defaulting on a payment…

Take a bow Canadians… we are doing great!

Last time I checked, Canadians were acting as conservative as ever…. paying down their mortgages faster and borrowing at a slower pace…  Look at these stats from The Montreal Gazette:

“In Canada, an average of 63 per cent of a household’s home value is equity, while in the U.S. this figure is just 39 per cent.” (Matthieu Arseneau, National Bank).

“In Canada, 40 per cent of homeowners have no mortgage debt; in the U.S. it’s 31 per cent.” (Matthieu Arseneau, National Bank).

“Debt amounts to just 24 per cent of a household’s average net worth in Canada, while it’s 29 per cent in the U.S.”  (Matthieu Arseneau, National Bank).

“Mortgage debt, which was climbing by 10 per cent or more through last year, has throttled back to a six-per-cent pace. Other consumer borrowing hasn’t grown at all over the past year.” (Benjamin Tal, CIBC World Markets).

–  “More than 70 per cent of all mortgage-holders are on an accelerated payment schedule, Tal says, adding: “That’s a smart use of low interest rates.” (Benjamin Tal, CIBC World Markets).

Hmmm… the economists tell us we are doing pretty good, judging from those comments….

Final thoughts.

If interest rates were 6%, 7% or 8%, what we would the media be saying?   ‘INTEREST RATES AT HIGHEST LEVEL IN 10 YEARS!’ … or something like that…  and I bet we would also see this headline…  ‘BANKS WARN THAT FURTHER RATE HIKES ARE ON THEIR WAY….BEST TO LOCK INTO A LONG TERM FIXED RATE NOW’…..

Use your own judgement… seek out professional, non-biased (non-bank) advice…. Hey, I don’t know about you, but I’d rather borrow at 2.60% for aVariable rate or 3.39% for a Fixed rate, than 6%, 7%, or 8%…..  We are experiencing historical low interest rates… they will be here a little longer but they won’t last forever.. enjoy them now… take advantage…

Higher Bond yields are bringing higher fixed rates..but that’s not all.

Some of Canada’s major banks have raised their 5 year fixed mortgage rates… but not their posted rates.   It’s become common practice for the Big Six Retail banks to show a posted 5 year fixed rate ….but in the past few years the Banks have also started to advertise their so-called ‘special’ rate.

The ‘special’ rate has increased by 0.25% to 4.19% to 4.29%, depending on which Bank you visit.  Of course, these rates are still much higher than the true discounted rates available through Mortgage Brokers.   Wholesale 5 year fixed rates are still around 3.69% to 3.79% (these will probably go up in a few days by 0.25%).  But this is nothing new.

What’s different this time is that the Posted Rates didn’t go up.  We’re not sure why, but here is one definite result of this move…your mortgage prepayment penalty will not decrease, which is the usual effect of an interest rate hike.   That’s right, if you have a closed fixed rate mortgage to payout, your penalty is either 3 months interest or Interest Rate Differential (IRD).

IRD is calculated many different ways now and we are hoping the Federal Govt’s announcement of a standardized prepayment penalty will come soon (we hear it could come this spring).   Currently, Banks use formulas that include the Posted rate to calculate your penalty.  This calculation has become a lucrative source of revenue for the Banks.  Reports of 6, 10 and even 14 months worth of interest have been charged to unsuspecting borrowers.  Record low rates means record HIGH penalties.  Come on Federal Govt, we need this change now.

As an aside, Variable rates are still around 2.25%…. this larger gap between fixed and variable is going to make Variable more attractive.

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