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Scotiabank says Bank of Canada won’t move till October

Last week, the Bank of Canada (BOC) kept it’s Target Rate unchanged for the 4th consecutive meeting.  That’s means Bank Prime is still 3.00%.  Many Experts and Economists think the next rate hike will come as early as April or as late as June….

But not all Economists agree.  Scotiabank’s economists say the rate will remain unchanged til October.   They give a detailed explanation as outlined in this National Post article... but the main reasons are:

  • high $Canadian Dollar (an increase by BOC usually increases the $CAD)
  • global uncertainty… the middle east turmoil and European debt worries
  • tougher financing rules including the new mortgage rules
  • U.S. Fed not expected to raise their rate til next year…any increase by the BOC would push the $CAD even higher and make our exports even more expensive
  • possible Federal election in Canada coming soon.. and provincial elections this year…  history tells us that rates are usually flat during election time.

The Scotiabank economist make a good argument.   I like the political reason… History shows us politics play a big role in the BOC actions….  Enjoy the low rates… They seem to be here for a while.

Bank of Canada action not always prudent or correct…

Have to share this article giving us some history on the accuracy of the Bank of Canada (BOC)  interest rate forecasts…   This should get you thinking a little the next time you hear the  BOC forecasts…. Take a look at this Historical Rates chart.. look at the Bank Prime section…   You will notice some trends of rates hikes followed by rate drops…

We aren’t saying BOC rates will fall anytime soon… it’s clear the rate will go up…. but there is no straight line increase if you look back in history… Increases are followed by decreases…

-1992.. the BOC erred and raised rates thinking the economy was strong but they quickly retreated and reversed those increases after realizing it was too much, too soon.

-1995…the Quebec referendum year… remember that?  I do.. I bought a house that year… and interest rates went up 1.00% overnight after fears of a Quebec ‘YES’ vote was more than possible… but then rates dropped like a rock and remained low for several years…

-2000….another recession… the dot.com, dot.bomb error of hi-tech stock greed…  rates had climbed in 1998 and 1999 but dropped in 2001 and remained low once again…

-2008…the U.S. mortgage crisis… the worst Global recession since the Great Depression of the ’30s…. we saw BOC drop the rate to a modern-day record low…Bank Prime was 2.25%…

-2010…the BOC kept it’s promise to raise rates and increased the rate by 0.75% over a 3 month span to 3.00%….

-2011…. ?????  the BOC is expected to raise rates by as much as 1.00% this year, and another 1.50% next year, according to the RBC Economist…. Did the BOC raise rates too quickly?  Can our economy absorb these increases?   Questions that won’t be answered for a while…

It doesn’t mean you have to sit and do nothing

But this doesn’t mean you have to stand by and be a spectator.   By keeping informed with historical trends and understanding your own personal situation, you can be in control…. Understand where you fit in… Is Fixed rate better for you now?  Does Variable Rate still make sense for you?   Can you handle the potential increases that are coming?    A good Mortgage Broker can help guide you to the right answer… Remember, it’s your mortgage, your payment…your decision.

Fixed rates are heading up

Fixed mortgage rates are going up.   Already, TD Canada Trust has announced they are hiking rates by 0.25%.  Their new ‘best advertised rate’ is 4.39%.   They are also increasing their 5 year posted rate by 0.25% to 5.44%.  This posted rate is important if you are buying with less 20% down.   All Banks must qualify borrowers with the posted 5 year fixed rate, or the prescribed rate.

The bond market has climbed steadily over the past few weeks… 5 year Canadian Bond yield is at 2.74% today.  That’s an 8 month high.   The last time the bond was this high, the best 5 year fixed rate was 4.29%.

If you’re thinking of buying or refinancing, contact your mortgage broker and get a rate held.   Most Lenders offer a 120 day rate hold…. You can still get a 5 year fixed rate mortgage for under 4.00%.

On the bright side, these rate increases are a direct result of positive economic data that’s been coming out of Canada.  So although we don’t want to pay higher rates, we don’t want to have a weak economy either.

Higher Bond yields are bringing higher fixed rates..but that’s not all.

Some of Canada’s major banks have raised their 5 year fixed mortgage rates… but not their posted rates.   It’s become common practice for the Big Six Retail banks to show a posted 5 year fixed rate ….but in the past few years the Banks have also started to advertise their so-called ‘special’ rate.

The ‘special’ rate has increased by 0.25% to 4.19% to 4.29%, depending on which Bank you visit.  Of course, these rates are still much higher than the true discounted rates available through Mortgage Brokers.   Wholesale 5 year fixed rates are still around 3.69% to 3.79% (these will probably go up in a few days by 0.25%).  But this is nothing new.

What’s different this time is that the Posted Rates didn’t go up.  We’re not sure why, but here is one definite result of this move…your mortgage prepayment penalty will not decrease, which is the usual effect of an interest rate hike.   That’s right, if you have a closed fixed rate mortgage to payout, your penalty is either 3 months interest or Interest Rate Differential (IRD).

IRD is calculated many different ways now and we are hoping the Federal Govt’s announcement of a standardized prepayment penalty will come soon (we hear it could come this spring).   Currently, Banks use formulas that include the Posted rate to calculate your penalty.  This calculation has become a lucrative source of revenue for the Banks.  Reports of 6, 10 and even 14 months worth of interest have been charged to unsuspecting borrowers.  Record low rates means record HIGH penalties.  Come on Federal Govt, we need this change now.

As an aside, Variable rates are still around 2.25%…. this larger gap between fixed and variable is going to make Variable more attractive.

Banks slow to lower rates…but quick to raise them

Some things never change…..On Oct 19th, 2010, the 5 year Canadian Bond yield was 1.85%… It fluctuated up and down but staying below 2.00% until Nov 5th when it closed at 2.053%…  We were expecting the Banks to adjust their Fixed rates downward but it didn’t happen..

Since then, it has kept above 2.00% and is currently at 2.27%….  This increase in the Bond yield usually means Fixed Mortgage Rates will go up..  See the chart here.

But earlier this week, the Big Six Banks lowered their posted 5 year mortgage rate to 5.19% from 5.29%…  This is just a delayed reaction the low bond yields.. but it just goes to show that the Banks continue their pattern of reacting slowing to lowering rates but move like Formula 1 race car to raise rates..

Of course, Posted Mortgage Rates really don’t mean much as the Wholesale Market or Broker Market deals with the true rates.. And Fixed rates dropped late last week to their lowest levels ever. … 5 year fixed rates are now at around 3.49%… with some Lenders even offering 3.39%…  WOW!

Watch for Fixed rates to move upward slightly as the Bond yield is now high enough to warrant an increase…

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