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.
Today was the last of eight regularly scheduled meetings by the Bank of Canada (BOC). The BOC didn’t raise their Target rate.. no surprise here. With uncertain economic data in the U.S., Ireland and even a little shaky news in Canada, there was no chance of a rate hike.
It’s widely believed that Governor Mark Carney will not raise the rate until March 2011 at the earliest, or maybe even May 2011… possibly later… read more here.
One thing is for certain, the longer things remain uncertain, the longer we will be enjoying these record low rates… Variable rate mortgages can be had at 2.25% and a 5 year fixed is around 3.69%. Borrow wisely…
CIBC Senior Economist, Ben Tal, spoke at this year’s annual Mortgage Broker conference in Montreal. The conference, organized by the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals, is a great place for Mortgage Brokers to meet all the Lenders and service providers under one roof.
It’s also a great opportunity to hear some of Canada’s experts talk about the economy, real estate, interest rates and the mortgage market. Here are a few highlights from Mr. Tal’s presentation.
-there are 12.5million households in Canada…31% rent, 69% own..
-of the 69% that own, 39.9% have a mortgage and 28.9% have no mortgage.
-69% of homeowners with a mortgage have more than 20% equity in their homes… only 30% have less than 20% equity in their homes.
-Renters have excellent cashflow… 96% of renters are using less than 40% of their income to pay for all their debts… so in reality, these renters could qualify for a mortgage based on their debt servicing ratios.. (most lenders allow borrowers to use up to 42% of their gross income towards a mortgage payment)…
One more comment that caught our attention was about Variable rate mortgages vs. Fixed rate… The historical data is overwhelmingly in favour of Variable rates….it’s really been a no-brainer… But what about now? Fixed rates are at historical lows… Mr. Tal said that Fixed rates might outperform Variable rate over the next 5 years… BUT it is so close that a 0.50% increase in Fixed rates would probably tip the scales back in favour of Variable…
That being said, we must also consider the flexibility of a Variable Rate product.. it does allow one to lock into a fixed rate at any time and it does allow for an early exit at a minimal cost…. For me, Variable rate is still better choice…for most of us.
Here’s a recent article forecasting low rates that appeared in The Globe and Mail. The article points to Scotiabank’s Economist as saying “the economy has lost considerable momentum.”
Scotiabank is also forecasting the Bank of Canada to keep the Target Rate or the Overnight Rate flat until the 3rd quarter of 2011. This means the Variable rate should remain a good option with rates between 2.25% to 2.30%.
Current Bond yields are at 1.94% as of today…. this means the fixed rate spread is 1.65%.. this is above the normal 1.25% to 1.40%…
Fixed rates are priced closely to the Bond market but indirectly by the Bank of Canada’s actions… we are seeing 5 year fixed rates (the benchmark for fixed rates) hovering at 3.59% to 3.69%… and they could still go lower…
Enjoy the low rates… borrow wisely!
We’ve reached the middle of summer and there is very little to report… hey, that’s a good thing.. remember, boring is good when it comes to mortgage rates..
Remember those Experts that called for people to lock into a long-term fixed rate at or around 4.00% last year?.. Variable rates have been under 2.00% for over a year and recently went above 2.00%…. I do understand why some would call for us to lock in….but I’m glad I wasn’t one of them…
Look at today’s 5 year bond rate and it’s 2.29%… WOW! That’s unbelievably low… the 5 year fixed rate is priced from the Bond market and normally, we will see a spread of 1.20% to 1.40% above that… so really, we should be seeing fixed rates as low at 3.50% but the Banks are taking advantage of the spreads and maximizing their profits…..
Let’s not be in too much of a hurry to improve bank profits….
Watch for possible increases in fixed and variable rates later this year.. but remember, we’re still near record low rates.. they will go up, but slowly… no need to panic… yes, this is boring news.. but boring is good…