VARIABLE RATE MORTGAGES WERE THE BEST OPTION
For years, I’ve promoted the merits of Variable rate mortgages vs Fixed rates. To me, it was a no-brainer. Historical stats showed that you would save over 1.00% on your mortgage, per year, every year (some years had savings of over 3.00%!). Do the math… That works out to $1,000 to $3,000 per year for every $100,000 of mortgage.
And for years, the BIG SIX BANKS, the Bank of Canada, the Federal govt and other fear-mongers pointed out that Variable rates fluctuated and your rates would change and possibly go up…
If you were able to block out these warnings, do a little research, then you may have been lucky enough to enjoy the huge savings that Variable rates gave us over the last 15 years… Fortunately, over 80% of my clients listened to my advice and chose Variable rate. But even at the height of Variable rate popularity, just 45% of Canadians were ever in a Variable rate product at any one time. Today, it’s less than 15%.
In 2008, the U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis hit. Financial markets were in turmoil. New Variable rate mortgages were either pulled from the shelf or were priced so high as to make them an unattractive option (prime plus 1.00% with some Banks).
BEGINNING OF THE BANKS HIGHER PROFITS
The Banks actually liked this. After all, the most profitable mortgage product is the 5 year Fixed rate. Not hard to figure out. The lower the interest rate, the less the Bank’s make. This became a great opportunity for the Banks to reduce their Variable rate exposure… And so began the great campaign to force us into 5 year fixed rate mortgages. (by the way, these inflated Variable rate prices only lasted around 6 months…we’re not back to the good old days of Prime less 0.90% but anything at Prime less 0.50% or better is worth a look….it’s worth noting for the record that I still didn’t recommend 5 year fixed rates to my clients during this time… I recommended shorter term fixed rates ranging from 6 months to 3 years and then went back to Variable rate… history has shown that this was the right strategy).
Starting in late 2008, and continuing today, Bankers would call, email or write letters to their Variable rate mortgage clients to warn against higher rates coming… and they should consider locking into a 5 year fixed rate mortgage. There were many reasons given… a bad economy… uncertainty in the financial markets… or my favorite, a special rate offer (it was special alright! Lol!!)… And the media jumped in too. TV, radio, newspapers, major news websites…how many times have you have heard the warnings about rising mortgage rates??…or record personal debt levels?? This created an even higher level of uncertainty and fear… Mr. Potter would be proud!
Think about it… The Banks were strongly recommending that Variable rate clients go from a rate of 3.25% or better, and into a 5 year fixed rate of 5.50%!!? (November 2008). And the worst part about all this is that hundreds of borrowers listened and did it… and have regretted it ever since!!! Where’s your Banker now?…
watch for part 2 of 2… FED GOVT, BIG SIX BANK’S pushed us into Fixed rates!… tomorrow!
Getting a mortgage today? Speak with a Mortgage Broker…and think twice about sticking with your BANK…. you could just save yourself $thousands.
As always, I welcome your comments and questions. Let me know if I can help.
Steve Garganis 416 224 0114 firstname.lastname@example.org