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”
Earlier this year, Fixed rates hit new all-time lows. This must sounds like a broken record, or for those in the modern error, sounds like a glitch or a skip (somehow, ‘broken record’ sounds better).
5 year fixed rates hit 2.59%. This is the lowest we have ever seen. (before you start emailing me that you’ve seen lower rates, yes, I know.. I see them too and have access to them.. but those products are full of restrictions, limitations and inflated prepayment penalty calculations… for our purposes, I’m only discussing quality mortgage products with no gimmicks or strings attached).
Now, looking at the 5 yr govt of Cda bond yields (this is where fixed rates are closely priced from), we have seen this drop down to as low as 0.70%… it’s been holding steady in the 0.80% range since July. Normally, the 5 fixed rate is priced 1.10% to 1.50% above the 5 yr bond yield.. but the spread has been at or over 1.79% for quite a while. So, why haven’t the fixed rates gone down further? Continue reading “Have Fixed mortgage rates hit the bottom?”
History tells us that mortgage rates usually drop leading up to an election. And 2015 has followed that trend. It started in January of this year, when the Bank of Canada (BOC) Governor, Stephen Poloz, shocked Economists with his surprise 0.25% Bank Rate cut.
(CanadaMortgageNews.ca readers will remember, not all were shocked, as I had predicted a rate drop just days earlier).
Then in July, the BOC Govr did it again.. this time, it wasn’t as much a shock. The Bank Prime was cut by another 0.25% after months of negative Economist data showed the Canadian economy was slowing. Continue reading “Rates usually drop leading up to a Federal election!”
In her first public speech as Senior Deputy Governor for the Bank of Canada, Carolyn Wilkins brought some good news to Canadians with mortgages. Interest rates should remain low for some time….. and we can expect lower rates to be the “new normal”.
Ms. Wilkins went on to say that “the recovery has had repeated false starts and still faces considerable headwinds.” This seems to be the new message coming from the Bank of Canada. And I must say, it’s a refreshing change from the previous high-profile Governor, Mark Carney.
Remember our previous Bank of Canada governor? Mr. Carney earned high praise for helping Canada avoid any U.S. style recession. But in the years leading up to his 2013 departure, his repeated warnings of pending interest rate hikes never materialized. In fact, we now know they were way off. Interest rates went down and have stayed down. Looking back, Carney’s rate hike warnings sounded more like ‘the boy who cried wolf’. Continue reading “Senior Deputy Governor says lower rates are the new normal.”
FIXED OR VARIABLE?
The debate over fixed vs variable never seems to end. For the past 5 years, the Federal govt and the BIG SIX BANKS have been doing everything in their power to force us into choosing a 5 year Fixed rate. The govt says it gives us security and protection against the anticipated interest rate hikes. BANKS jumped on this bandwagon because 5 yr fixed is the most profitable mortgage product.. and with fixed rates hovering at 3.00% for the last 3 years, it’s been an easy sell.
On the surface, it’s not bad advice. Fixed rates were supposed to go up. The spread between Fixed and Variable has been less than 1.00% over the last 3 years. My rule of thumb is that Variable rates should be 1.00% lower than 5 yr fixed in order to benefit from the possible rate fluctuations. So naturally, 5 yr fixed was a better choice.
DO YOU TRUST YOUR GOVT AND YOUR BANK? Continue reading “Variable or Fixed? an update on how to choose.”