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 »

Mortgage rates going up a little.. for now. What should you do?

Happy 150th Canada!  Mortgage rates are going up.  Hooray!  Ok, yes, I’m being sarcastic.

This isn’t the cheery message you wanna hear if you have a mortgage coming up for renewal soon. But, hold on.  What does this really mean?  It’s a great attention grabber.  And now that you’re reading, let’s cut through the bull!

It’s true.  Wholesale fixed mortgage rates have gone up.. around 0.15%.  Yup, that’s it.  Yet, reading all the media headlines would make you believe mortgage rates went up 1.00% or something like that!!   This just isn’t the case.   And Variable rates haven’t changed as of yet.. Mind you, we could see an increase of 0.25% on July 12.. That’s still putting most Variable rate borrowers at 2.25% and 2.40%.. That’s a ridiculously low rate.

Here’s what’s happening…We’ve seen the media take little snippets of the Bank of Canada Governor, Mr. Stephen Poloz’s comments and turn them into front page headlines.  Great for headlines but short of full disclosure.  Here’s a more complete picture. Read the rest of this entry »

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

It’s September, sharpen your pencils!

Sharpen pencil

It’s September…and as green turns to gold we return refreshed to the rhythm of our daily routines. It’s our seasonal cue. Autumn is the perfect time to “get back to business” with a fresh look at your finances. Maybe you spent a little extra on that summer vacation, or the little home reno job that grew. That’s okay. Get out your calculator and get back on track.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF RECORD LOW RATES!

Mortgage rates have hovered around historic lows for longer than anyone thought they would or could. That’s created a golden moment of opportunity for Canadian homeowners. In fact, the right mortgage can build your wealth… and save you thousands of dollars.

Thinking about a cottage or investment property? Wondering if it’s the right time to expand your space… or find a new one? Looking at ways to reduce your debt? Talk to an experienced Mortgage Broker.  A good broker will provide a free, no-obligation review of your situation – wherever you are in your current mortgage journey.

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 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.  Read the rest of this entry »

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… Read the rest of this entry »

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