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TagMortgage Rates

Don’t Fall For Low Fixed Rates

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. 

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Will I Be Offered a Mortgage Renewal?

If you’re nearing the end of your term, you might be wondering if your lender will offer you a mortgage renewal. Mortgage renewals are a great way to reassess your needs and potentially even get a better rate than the one you have now. But not getting a mortgage renewal means you have to pay your balance in full – so it’s no wonder so many feel anxious towards the end of their term. Inflammatory headlines about the dangers of mortgage renewals floating around the internet certainly don’t help either. 

The good news is you can relax. In Canada, you’re guaranteed a renewal offer from your lender provided you pay your bills on time and don’t have any outstanding balances with Revenue Canada. As long as you’re borrowing from a reputable financial institution, you should be in the clear. 

Where it gets tricky is when you borrow from a private lender. Private lenders aren’t federally regulated, so they have no obligation to offer you a renewal. However, for the vast majority of Canadian borrowers, a renewal offer is guaranteed.

A Bit of Background

There was a time when feeling antsy about your upcoming renewal was actually founded. In 2012, the Office of Superintendent of Financial Services (OSFI) almost made it mandatory for mortgage renewals to be re-underwritten. Thankfully, after some deliberation, they decided against it. The renewal process remains tipped in favour of borrowers.

The Bottom Line

The end of your mortgage term shouldn’t be fraught with uncertainty. If you’re borrowing from one of the banks, rest assured you’ll be offered a mortgage renewal. But don’t take whatever deal they throw at you. Use the opportunity to explore your options and make sure you’re getting the best mortgage product for you.

To do that, you should always consult a mortgage broker. Brokers don’t work for any one bank or credit union. They’re completely impartial experts acting purely in your best interest. Plus, they have access to wholesale pricing on mortgage products that the average person doesn’t. It’s that simple. If you’re not sure where to start, feel free to call my office any time. Just make sure you don’t miss the opportunity of a mortgage renewal to get the best deal possible.

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@canadamortgagenews.ca

The Bank of Canada’s Growth Forecast: What It Means For Homeowners

Last month, the Bank of Canada released their Monetary Policy Report – or in plain English, their economic forecast. It’s a document that lays out their predictions for the future of the Canadian economy including GDP growth and inflation rates. Of course, there’s a lot of interesting information here. But if you’re a homeowner that carries a variable rate mortgage, you might be concerned mostly with their inflation projections. Why? Inflation typically impacts interest rate movements. 

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Interest Rates to Stay As-is for Now. But When Will They Rise Again?

The Bank of Canada governor, Till Macklem, made no change to interest rates on April 21st, the 3rd of 8 annual meetings dates. This comes as no surprise, though, There wasn’t a chance of an interest rate hike anyway. You can read more on this here .

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New, tougher mortgage stress test?  What will this do to our red hot real estate market?

There is big news that was announced earlier this month and it might affect home buyers in the market for a mortgage. The Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) released a proposal to increase the qualifying mortgage rate for uninsured mortgages. Uninsured mortgages are ones where there is more than a 20% down payment.

The new qualifying rate will increase from the posted 5 year fixed rate, which is currently 4.79%, to the contract rate plus 2% or 5.25%, whichever is greater. This would effectively qualify consumers for 4% less mortgage. On a $1,000,000 purchase with a $200,000 down payment, buyers would qualify for around $755,000 vs $800,000.  

Many are concerned that this could have an effect on our market by slowing it down. 

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