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? 
Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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

Trudeau sworn in as new PM, and bond yields jump leading to higher fixed mortgage rates!

Trudeal Liberal majorityYesterday, our new Prime Minister gets sworn in.  Justin Trudeau is Canada’s 23rd Prime Minister.   Some interesting facts…  Bond yields have gone up significantly in the last 2 weeks, since the election.  Fixed rates are priced directly from the Govt of Cda Bond yields.  If the yields go up, then fixed mortgage rates go up.  If they go down, then fixed mortgage rates go down.

Since the election on Oct 19, the bond yields have made a steady climb upwards.  Going from around 0.80% to 0.97% today..     Investors seem to think the Trudeau govt will keep it’s promise and spend our way to prosperity.   The concern is that if the govt of Canada increases its borrowing, the borrowing costs will go up.  Meaning it will cost the govt more, which in turn affects personal borrowing costs.   That’s you and I.

Watch for fixed mortgage rates to climb over the next month or so.  Right now, the increase is expected to be minimal…. but that could change.

I’ll be watching and reporting how this plays out.   Let’s hope the campaign promise of increasing the deficit was one of those promises that doesn’t get honored.   If you want to keep borrowing costs low, then you also want less govt, not more.

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

Bank of Canada says no rate hikes, but possible rate drops!!

stephen poloz  Last week, the Bank of Canada governor, Stephen Poloz, held the first of 8 scheduled meetings to set the Target Rate.    This is the rate used to set the Bank Prime rate which currently sits at 3.00%.   No surprise, no change in the rate.  It has been the same since Sept 2010.

From 2011 to 2013, the previous Bank of Canada governor, Mark Carney, continually announced of a pending rate increase.   But late last year, Poloz changed the tide when he announced it could be a few years before rates go up.   One of the key drivers for rate hikes is inflation.  The BoC target for inflation is between 1% and 3%.  If inflation goes above 3%, we can expect rate hikes.

Inflation is not a concern.  In fact, there are concerns about deflation as the current inflation rate sit at 1.2%.  Some experts believe we could see the BoC rate drop.  Great news for anyone in a Variable rate.   We are also seeing the govt of Cda bond yields drop.   Friday’s close was down to 1.59% for 5 yr bonds.  Haven’t seen that level since June 2013.   This means Fixed mortgage rates will probably go down further. Read the rest of this entry »

Another US Govt shutdown… could mean lower mortgage rates for Canada.

debt ceilingRemember the U.S. Debt ceiling crisis in the summer of 2011?   Panic was an understatement.   That story dominated headlines for close to 2 months.   Stock markets dropped, but mortgage rates dropped, too.  In fact, fixed wholesale mortgage rates dropped 0.50% in the months leading up to the Debt Ceiling deadline, from June to August….  And continued to drop another 0.70% into 2012.

Mortgage rates hit all-time lows in the fall of 2011 and just kept right on dropping.  We hit our the all-time low in May 2013 before rates jumped almost 1.00% to our present 3.69%.  (This is for 5 year fixed mortgages.  Variable rates did not budge… Bank Prime rate has changed since Sept 2010…that’s important to remember as I will explain later) Read the rest of this entry »

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