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

Bank of Canada rate hike.. it’s really not a big deal.

BREAKING NEWS… BANK OF CANADA RAISES RATE BY 0.25% AND THE SKY HASN’T FALLEN!!

Stephen Poloz, the Bank of Canada Governor, raised the Target rate by 0.25% to 0.75%.   Maybe now the media will move on to other news.

Seriously, aren’t we all kinda tired of hearing how rates are going to skyrocket,…how this is going to make our mortgages unaffordable… how we have record debt levels.. how we are going to default our mortgages, lose our homes and go into a recession…it’s doom and gloom?  This isn’t happening.

SOME FACTS ABOUT THE RATE HIKE Read the rest of this entry »

Bank of Canada hints of rates hikes.. bond yields spike up

Bank of Canada Senior Deputy governor, Carolyn Wilkins, made headlines this week when she hinted of pending rate hikes.

The reaction by investors was swift.  Bond yields were up 20bps. Fixed mortgage rates are priced from Gov of Cda bond yields.  Variable mortgage rates are priced from Bank of Canada rate.  And the next Bank of Canada meeting is scheduled for July 12th, the fifth of eight scheduled meetings.  Many are betting we could see a rate hike then.

DON’T PANIC…. RATES ARE STILL RIDICULOUSLY LOW…   The media was quick to find ‘so-called’ experts to quote.  I’ve seen some saying we should all lock in our variable rate mortgages into fixed rate products.  And others say you should brace yourself for payment shock.

Here’s a reality check..   Variable rate mortgage are around 2.20% .. Some are higher, some are lower..    EVERY Canadian must qualify for a Variable rate, using the POSTED 5 year fixed bank rate.  That rate has been at or near 4.64% for several years.

If rates go up, we can expect a slow gradual increase..  around 0.25% at at time.  And here’s the thing..If you can qualify at 4.64%, what makes you think you can’t afford your mortgage at 2.45% or 2.70%??

The sky isn’t falling.   Many Canadians are already paying more than they have to by increasing their regular payments to accelerate the amortization and retire their debt sooner.  In fact, most of my clients are doing this because they can.   Don’t believe everything you hear or read in the media…  We are experiencing record low interest rates and yet, we’re made to feel like it’s a horrible time to have a mortgage..  Anyone else seeing something wrong with this?

By the way, I still like Variable rate mortgages today.

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

Will Variable rates increase as Bank Prime drops?

where to invest  Here’s a warning to all….   Watch out for the BANKS to increase their Variable rate mortgage pricing.  History tells us that when the Bank of Canada lowers their Target Rate, and the Bank Prime falls, Variable rate mortgage pricing increases.

If you have a mortgage coming due in the next 4 months, speak with a mortgage broker to get you a rate hold immediately!

Today, you can get Prime less 0.65% on a Variable rate mortgage.  That’s 2.85% – 0.60% = 2.20%. THIS PRICE COULD DISAPPEAR!  2.20% is a great rate!   No one would argue that.  The BANKS are counting on you to be content with that 2.20% rate. On March 4th, the Bank of Canada meets again to set the Target Rate.  And all indications point to another 0.25% reduction.   Read the rest of this entry »

Variable rate increases again..

Lenders have begun to raise their Variable rate mortgages again…. The second increase in less than a month.  A look at the Bank websites and you will Variable rate pricing is now at Bank Prime less 0%….  that’s 3.00%…   And although ‘3.00%’ sounds like a good rate, a Variable rate at Bank Prime less 0% is not good.

The Banks have gone from an advertised rate of Prime less 0.65% to Prime less 0% in about one month’s time.   Of course, the best wholesale rates through mortgage brokers now sit at Prime less 0.50% and will probably go to Prime less 0.40% after the dust settles.

So what’s causing the Banks to increase their Variable rate mortgages?   They tell us there are “profitability concerns”.   In simple talk, that means they simply want to increase their profit margins now that rates are expected to stay low for some time to come.   They also want to force us to take the much mortgage profitable 5 year fixed rate mortgage, now sitting at 3.99% (RBC website special rate)..    Keep in mind, there are better rates to be had in the wholesale market…. 3.49% seems to be the best 5 year fixed rate today.

But even 3.49% is too high.  The spread between the 5 year govt of Cda bond (1.45%) and 3.49% is still over 2.00%.   Historically, this spread has been between 1.10% and 1.40%..    It’s simply math…. the Banksters are saying ‘ka-ching, ka-ching”.

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