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TagFixed rates

Have Fixed mortgage rates hit the bottom?

record low ratesEarlier 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?”

Rates usually drop leading up to a Federal election!

Election 2015History 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!”

Senior Deputy Governor says lower rates are the new normal.

Carolyn Wilkins 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.

UNPOPULAR COMMENTS

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.”

Variable or Fixed? an update on how to choose.

Variable rate mortgage

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.”

Choose short term money for long term gains.

short termOnly recently has 5 year fixed rate become a product worth considering when it comes to paying the least amount of interest on your mortgage.   Studies prove that short term mortgage funds are the cheapest way to finance a house.. this includes Variable rate mortgages.

Historically, Variable rate and short term fixed rates have had lower rates than long term rates.   And yet, the BIG SIX BANKS, the Federal govt, and several popular finance experts have preached 5 yr fixed.  ‘You must take 5 year fixed so you know what your rate is.’   That’s a load of nonsense.   It’s true, that over the past 2 years, 5 yr fixed did make more sense given that the spread between Variable and Fixed was less than my target of 1.00%.  (I like to see a 1.00% spread between Variable and 5 yr fixed before recommending Variable).    Continue reading “Choose short term money for long term gains.”

Wanna know where rates are going? Look at 2 yr bond yields.

Probably the most popular question asked is, “where are rates heading?”  Or “when will they go up?”   Let’s face it, if you have a mortgage or are invested in real estate, then you better know the answer or understand what affects rates.  After all, interest rates can make or break a housing market.

We decided to take a few minutes to explain how you can follow the indicators that affect interest rate movement….  We won’t make you a Financial Expert, but you will gain a better understanding of what affects rate movements…

My first suggestion is to stop paying so much attention to the news or TV… (apologies to my media friends)… but the wild headlines are there to grab your attention…  it’s not that difficult to understand…

Last week, the Bank of Canada met for the 5th time in 2012.   There are 8 scheduled meetings each year… (and by the way, this helps to keep rate movement and monetary policy more predictable…. the more predictable a Govt is, the more stable it’s economy is.)   The Key Rate is set during these meetings… this rate directly affects Variable rate mortgages…. No surprise, the Bank of Canada Governor, Mark Carney, kept the rate unchanged.

That means Bank Prime is still 3.00%.   And with more negative economic news from Greece, Spain, other parts of Europe, the U.S, and now Canada, it’s safe to say rates should remain flat for some time……(remember, bad economic news usually means rates will drop or stay low).

So the Bank of Canada’s Key Rate (also known as Target Rate or Overnight rate) directly affects Variable rate mortgages… but indirectly, they also affect Fixed Rates.   A better short term indicator to watch is the 5 yr Govt of Cda bond yield.   We watch this to see where fixed rates are headed in the short term… say, over the next few days or or few weeks.   A good long term indicator for Fixed rates is the 2 yr Gov of Cda bond yields.   Financial Experts  pay very close attention to this index if they want to know where rates are going in 6 months or longer.  And at present, the 2 yr yields are very low…..

Bottom line, rates should remain low for some time…   Not so hard to follow, right?

And not to confuse you, but historically, Fixed rates usually go up ahead of Variable rates…. so we need to watch Bond yields together, with the Bank of Canada’s Key Rate to gauge where rates are going…

Hope this helps… and as always, feel free to call or email me…

Steve Garganis

416 224 0114

steve@mortgagenow.ca

Fixed vs Variable in 2011

FIXED RATES MAKE MORE SENSE TODAY.

If you were  in a Variable rate mortgage over the last 2, 3, 5, 10 years or longer….then you paid less interest than someone in a Fixed rate product.   You probably saved $$thousands each and every year.    Variable rate has been lower than the 5 year fixed rate in over 88% of the time.

But how about today….?  Well, the Banks have changed the mortgage landscape.   They have decided there isn’t enough profit in Variable rate mortgages.    Up until 6 months ago, anyone needing a new mortgage could get a Variable rate at Bank Prime (3.00%) less 0.75% and maybe even a little better..!    If you took a Variable rate 4 years ago, you might still be enjoying Prime less 0.90%!!   Today, a quick search on the net for Variable rate pricing and you’ll find Bank Prime less 0%…. some are actually charging Bank Prime + 0.15%.

But it’s not all bad news.   With the bond market hitting all time lows, we are also experiencing historical low 5 year fixed rates.   Today, the best 5 year fixed rate seems to be 3.39%  (WORD OF WARNING… there are some NO FRILLS rates of 3.19% or lower being advertised out there… these NO FRILLS products carry limited or no prepayment privileges and you cannot exit these product without selling your home.   We are not quoting those rates).

Any upward movement in the Bank Prime rate and you could actually be paying more for that Variable rate vs today’s 5 year Fixed rate.   Yes, today we must consider Fixed rate as a good option…. Just make sure you are choosing the appropriate term.   Anything shorter than 3 years does not seem to give enough of a rate guarantee for most of us.  Anything longer than 5 years is too costly.   5 years seems to be a good option in most cases.  But not for all… we are all different and have different needs… speak to a Mortgage Broker to review all available products and decide which one fits you best.

My guess is that Variable rate pricing will continue to be priced at Bank Prime for the next 6 months to 12 months or at least until Bank Prime moves up or until one of the Banks is losing too much market share and wants to attract more business.

We will be watching and reporting.

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