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Mortgage Rates have Dropped and Will Fall Further

Mortgage shopping

Rate forecasting isn’t rocket science – it’s more common sense than you think! But, it requires a clear mind to make sense of all the rubbish that’s being published these days.

I’ve been forecasting for a while now that interest rates would start to come back down this year. Currently, interest rates are down by around 0.4% and will come down further.

WHY ARE RATES FALLING?  Continue reading “Mortgage Rates have Dropped and Will Fall Further”

Got a mortgage? Good news: Bank of Canada didn’t raise rates yesterday!

Blog Image, Your Best Mortgage is About More than Rate, Feb Mar 2018

Yesterday, Bank of Canada (BoC) Governor, Stephen Poloz, left rates unchanged. This kept the bank prime rate at 3.45%.

This also, indirectly, affects fixed mortgage rates. Great news for anyone with a mortgage. Go ahead, it’s okay to feel good about paying a low interest rate on what’s probably the biggest debt of your life!

ARE ECONOMISTS RIGHT?

For months we’ve heard economists forecasting 2-4 BoC rate hikes for 2018. So far, we’ve had one increase – in January. Should we be expecting three more increases? Only time will tell, since the BoC raises its rate when inflation rises above the target inflation rate… currently the range is between 1% and 3%, and sits at an acceptable 2.10%. Some believe inflation has increased temporarily, in part, due to increased minimum wage.

Continue reading “Got a mortgage? Good news: Bank of Canada didn’t raise rates yesterday!”

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

Rates went up, so now what do you do?

fearOn July 12th, for the first time in seven years, the Bank of Canada increased the overnight rate by .25%, withdrawing some of the stimulus that was needed after the oil price collapse and 2008 financial crisis. Variable rate mortgages and lines of credit will see higher rates and modest payment increases. Fixed-rate mortgage – which are based on the bond market – had already been trending slightly upward, although if you have a fixed mortgage, you aren’t affected until it’s time to renew. Keep in mind that this is a very small increase, and we’re still in an ultra-low rate environment and an incredibly stable market. We’ve also seen increases before to only see them decrease again. But rates have risen, so here are answers to the questions I’m getting:

Should I jump into the market now? Actually, my advice is always the same: buy when you are financially ready. Don’t jump the gun just because rates “may” go higher. But by all means, if you’re thinking about buying, I can arrange a pre-approval so you’re protected from rate increases while you shop around.

Should I lock in my variable rate mortgage ASAP? 
Continue reading “Rates went up, so now what do you do?”

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 Continue reading “Bank of Canada rate hike.. it’s really not a big deal.”

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

US Fed rate hike doesn’t mean Bank of Cda rate hike!

Janet YellenLast month, the US Fed Reserve Bank Chairperson, Janet Yellen, raised rates for the first time since 2006.    Historically, Canada follows the US with rate movement..  However, times are changing…Don’t expect Canada to follow the US move anytime soon.

stephen polozDivergence.  That’s the new buzz-word.  Bank of Cda Govr, Stephen Poloz said, “Usually you think of the Canadian economy following the U.S. economy fairly closely. This will be one of those places where it really doesn’t.”   “But as a macro statement, there will a divergence there. We’re already seeing it, and so you should expect a divergence in policy too,” he said. Continue reading “US Fed rate hike doesn’t mean Bank of Cda rate hike!”

Mortgage rates went up…. but why? And will they continue to go up?

fearup down graph

A month ago, I said Fixed mortgage rates probably hit the bottom.   A week later, fixed mortgage rates started to go up… around 0.20% over the past 3 weeks.  Variable rate mortgage pricing has gone from Prime less 0.65% to Prime less Prime less 0.40%.

Now, here’s the thing….  I don’t think rates will skyrocket over the next 6 or 12 months, like the pessimists would have you believe.  I think mortgage rates hit the bottom….BUT, they probably won’t go up very quickly.

In fact, the forecast now is for the Bank of Canada rate to stay the same until 2017.   This is just another example of how the world has become a smaller place.  If someone sneezes in Germany, we catch a cold.  With most of the global economies just getting by, there isn’t much reason for mortgage rates to go crazy.   They should remain low.

The key driver for rates going up recently is nothing more than profit taking.  Banks have had a great year… In case you didn’t know.  That’s right.. we seem to forget that 2015 was one of the best years on record for real estate and mortgage volume…  and house prices have never been higher.    Funny how that seems to get lost in the media reports.

Look for Variable rate pricing to fall in the new year…  Fixed rates could also come down slightly, but don’t count on them hitting the record lows that we saw this summer.   Hey, that’s not to say rates are bad.   We are still well under 3.00%.   These are ridiculously low mortgage rates.    Enjoy them while you can.

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

Bond Yields are up… will Fixed Mortgage rates follow?

graph trend upFixed mortgage rates are tied closely to the Govt of Cda bond yields.   And bond yields are up…  Since mid April, the 5 yr Gov of Cda bond yield has gone from 0.75% to 1.07%.   That’s a 0.32% jump.   Normally, we would see fixed mortgage rates go up.

So far, no increase.  But that’s probably more to do with a competitive Spring housing market.   This is when most house sales and mortgage transactions take place.   The Banks need to maintain certain market share levels in order to keep shareholders happy.    They are willing to sacrifice a little profit margin (and I do mean little… they seem to make up for this with higher service fees as was recently reported, but let’s not get into that now…).

If the bond yields continue to increase, we will see fixed mortgage rates rise.  That’s an automatic.   The real question is how long will the bond yields continue their climb?   It will be interesting to watch the next few months.   We can expect to see some rate increases as the Spring market ends and Banks look to increase their profit…. A pattern that repeats itself year after year..   but here’s what you can do to protect yourself… Continue reading “Bond Yields are up… will Fixed Mortgage rates follow?”

So, you think rates are gonna spike up this year? Who says?

Variable rate mortgage Here we go again…  The beginning of a new year, and the same annual forecasts for interest rates to go up!   Before I share my thoughts.. Here’s some of the recent headlines that I’ve seen….

  • a report by CBC News sharing 4 ways to prepare.. including selling your home, waiting to buy and locking into a Fixed rate mortgage!    (Can you say panic?)
  • Here’s another from The Globe and Mail telling us it’s “Bad News for Borrowers: The economy could improve this year”.  Really?  Tell that to the people in Alberta, Newfoundland and Saskatchewan.
  • And this one from last week says Get ready for Interest Rate Shock in 2015.

Wow, reading this means rates are certain to up this year…right?  So let’s see.. we should sell our home, put off buying (yet again) and lock in our Variable rates into Fixed rate mortgages..

Now let’s look at the most recent headlines.. Continue reading “So, you think rates are gonna spike up this year? Who says?”

Looking back 5 years.. which mortgage product did your Banker recommend in 2008?

greedy bankerRemember 2008?  It was almost 5 years ago that the U.S. sub-prime mortgage scandal erupted.   October 2008, to be exact.  That’s almost 5 years ago…  And with October and November 2013 renewals being less than 120 days away, we can now lock in some rates for those upcoming renewals.  So I thought this would be a great time to see what sort of advice and recommendations the Banks were giving to their mortgage customers.

THE BANK’S ADVICE

The funny thing is, Banks have never changed their advice or strategy.  ‘Take a 5 year fixed rate’.  That’s all the Banks seem to want to promote.  And with good reason… it’s the most profitable product FOR THE BANKS.   But historically, it’s NOT the best product to take.   There is no historical data that I am aware of that shows taking a 5 year fixed is the best strategy.  But I’ll get into that in more detail later. Continue reading “Looking back 5 years.. which mortgage product did your Banker recommend in 2008?”

Interest rates to stay low for longer than expected…

Mark Carney The, soon to be, ex-Bank of Canada Governor, Mark Carney, is leaving us with a present…  During yesterday’s Rate Announcement, the first of eight regularly scheduled rate meetings this year, Carney said the economy is growing at a slower pace than expected….  we having a cooling housing market….. inflation remains low and is not an immediate concern….  Last but not least, he expects the economy will not reach it’s full capacity in late 2014 and that withdrawing any monetary policy stimulus is less imminent than previously anticipated.

End result, no rate hikes are expected til 2014…  These comments come as a bit of a surprise given the Bank of Canada has wanted to raise rates for the past 2 years.  Well, maybe it’s Carney’s way of giving us a departing present….Let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth. Continue reading “Interest rates to stay low for longer than expected…”

Listings down, prices up…. housing bubble?

Latest housing stats show listings are down, sales are down… but prices are up, only slightly…. and houses aren’t on the market as long.  They are selling faster.   Doesn’t sound like a bubble to me.  More like a soft landing.

This is exactly what the govt had in mind when it changed mortgage rules a few months ago and made it tougher to qualify for a mortgage.  It’s still too early to say if these changes are just right or went too far….. We’ll need another 6 months or so to see the full effect.   Best guesses are that the housing market could slow by 5%.   But I haven’t seen that happen… In the Greater Toronto area, we are still seeing multiple offers and sales go above asking price….  The interesting stat for me is the fewer number of sales… We’ll be watching that stat… fewer sales over an extended period of time will stop any price increases…

This also means we should expect interest rates to remain low.  The Bank of Canada will be under less pressure to raise rates with a flat housing market.   Throw in the U.S. Fed’s announcement last week that they were going to keep rates the same until 2014-15, and we have the perfect setting for low rates.

RECORD LOW INTEREST ARE STILL HERE…. WHY AREN’T WE TALKING ABOUT THIS?

Speaking of low interest rates…  Here’s some advice… before you put your plans to buy on hold, you should remember that we are still enjoying historically low interest rates.  5 year fixed rates at 3.09%… Variable rates at 2.65%..!!   This is a fact that so many of us tend to ignore…. maybe it’s just too boring to talk about.    I’ll make it more exciting…

A $400k mortgage will carry for $1912/mth based on today’s 3.09% 5 yr fixed rate…….Wanna wait for house prices to fall and save some money?  Ok, but you should also expect interest rates to rise… lower house prices are caused by higher interest rates and higher unemployment…  We don’t expect higher unemployment so we must attribute any house price drop to a rise in interest rates……a look back at the last housing crash in 1989 showed interest rates went up to 11% and 12% just before the crash….. make sense so far?

This is where so many of us stop thinking or analyzing…Cashflow and affordability are probably just as important or more important than rate, mortgage balance, purchase price, etc… if you aren’t comfortable with the payment, you will run into problems…. By the way, affordability is still VERY good according the RBC affordability index.

REAL MORTGAGE MATH SHOWS TRUE COST OF WAITING TO BUY

Let’s continue….Let’s say rates go to more normal levels…  we’ll use 5% interest rates..  That same $400k mortgage will cost you $2326/mth.….  and if you wanna adjust the mortgage size by $40k because house prices should fall 10%, okay…  a $360k mortgage at 5% will cost you $2094/mth... That’s still $182/mth more… and let’s also not forget, that you may have lost 1, 2, 3 or more years of not paying a mortgage down….  Did you know you will pay your mortgage down by around $10k per year in the first 3 yrs alone?

Real Estate isn’t always a great investment, but it usually makes more sense to buy, hold and enjoy, than it does not to buy and rent….  And with interest rates at record lows, it’s even easier to make that recommendation.   Stop listening to the pessimist that say the sky is falling or the world is ending…  If we listened to them, we would be renting for the last 10+ years… for that’s how long they have been saying house prices are inflated and need to drop…..

As always, if you aren’t sure where you fit in or what’s best for you, feel free to contact me to discuss…  Your questions and comments are welcome.

Steve Garganis

steve@mortgagenow.ca

416 224 0114

BMO Economist forecast no rate hikes til 2013

More good news…. interest rates are not expected to increase til 2013, according to Bank of Montreal.

Really no surprise here.  The global economy is not doing well.  But here in Canada, the economy is performing relatively well.   The only reason our stock market and Canadian $ are down is because of the uncertainty of the European debt crisis.

5 year fixed rates are hovering at 3.39%… and they are even lower for qualified borrowers…. Variable rates are at around 2.60%…  We are in record low territory.

Did you know a $300,000 mortgage will carry for as little as $1199/month?   Hey, if you’re paying $1400/mth for rent, then why not consider buying place of your own…  And for those that want off the stock market roller coaster, a rental property may just be what you need…  Best thing is to talk to a Mortgage Broker, crunch the numbers and see how it looks.   It’s probably easier than you think.

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…

Inflation rate drops in February and rate hikes pulled back.

It may seem hard to believe  but Canada’s core inflation rate is down in February to lowest level since 1984 as reported by CBC.  It’s now 0.90%.

Filling up my car at the gas pumps or buying groceries is certainly costing me more… So how can the inflation rate be lower be lower?

The Core inflation rate strips away food and energy costs resulting in a lower rate of inflation.

The Bank of Canada has a Target inflation rate of 2%.  The Target range is 1% to 3%.  When you combine a high Canadian $dollar that is at par with the $US dollar and this low inflation rate, the Bank of Canada less likely to raise the Target Rate….for now.

Here are a few forecasts…  Citigroup says a rate hike will not take place in April but instead, July.  And retired RBC Chief Economist, Patricia Croft says to watch the Bank of Canada 2 year bond yields for an indication of where the market thinks rates are headed.   The yields have dropped from 1.90% to 1.68%.    She says the market thinks rates won’t go up til October and only by 35bps.  But she thinks we should be ready for summer rate hikes.  The next few inflation reports will play a big part in the Bank of Canada’s future decisions.

I tend to agree with both forecasts… Summer rate hikes are  likely…. but I’m not sure how high and how quickly these rate hikes will happen.   We’ll be watching and reporting.

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