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

Banks pass on rate hikes but not the savings.. Shame on the BANKS!

On January 2015, the Bank of Canada cut the prime rate by 0.25%.  But the BIG SIX BANKS didn’t cut the Prime rate as they normally do.  Instead, they waited a week… tried to justify why they couldn’t cut the rate… and finally caved in and cut it.. but ONLY by 0.15%.

That’s right, they pocketed the remaining 0.10%.  And in case you haven’t heard, the BIG SIX BANKS have been posting record profits, year after year after year after year after year.   In 2016, the 5 most profitable corporations were:

  1. RBC
  2. TD
  3. SCOTIABANK
  4. BMO
  5. CIBC

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Enjoy the low rates..No rate hike with Bank of Canada

The Bank held their third, of eight, scheduled meetings this week.   As widely predicted, the Bank of Canada announced that it is holding the key rate steady.

While noting that “economic growth has been faster than expected”, the bank said it’s too early to determine if the economy is on a “sustainable growth path”, citing weakness in export growth, business investment and employment.

The Bank’s three measures of core inflation, taken together, continue to point to material excess capacity in the economy. While there have been recent gains in employment, little growth in wages and hours worked continue to reflect economic slack in Canada, in contrast to the United States.

The bank also took into account uncertainties that include the potential impact of U.S. trade policies. The next rate-setting day is May 24.

This announcement means there should be no change to the prime rate. Great news if you have a variable-rate mortgage or line of credit, need a new mortgage, are renewing, or want to save thousands by consolidating debt at the lowest-cost funds. Or perhaps you are thinking of using home equity to invest in a rental property or second home, or cost effectively complete renovations.

Given the uncertain economic outlook, we continue to expect interest rates to stay low in Canada well into 2020, although the new mortgage rules have caused mortgage rates to be very complicated. Quick rate quotes are not very reliable! That’s why it’s so beneficial to work with an experienced mortgage broker who has access to a wide range of lenders and knows the right questions to ask to assess your situation and provide the best mortgage for your needs. Save yourself time and stress; don’t just ask what the rate is, have a conversation instead.

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

Variable rate is out, Fixed rates are in…. But, which term…?

Variable rate mortgageFor more than a decade, I’ve been recommending Variable rate mortgages, as the product of choice. My clients have saved $thousands.  It’s been a great 11 year run..   But now, the strategy has changed slightly.   Read on, to see my newest recommendations..

QUICK VARIABLE RATE HISTORY.

First, you need to understand the history..  Variable rate had lots of pluses.   It had a lower rate of interest, the penalty can never go over 3 months interest, and you have the option to lock into a Fixed rate at any time.

Being in a Variable meant paying lower rates.  In fact, the difference, compared with Fixed rates, ranged between 1.00% and 3.00%.  This translated to several $$thousand in less interest each year. 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

Have Fixed mortgage rates hit the bottom?

record low ratesEarlier this year, Fixed rates hit new all-time lows.  This must sounds like a broken record, or for those in the modern error, sounds like a glitch or a skip (somehow, ‘broken record’ sounds better).

5 year fixed rates hit 2.59%.  This is the lowest we have ever seen. (before you start emailing me that you’ve seen lower rates, yes, I know.. I see them too and have access to them.. but those products are full of restrictions, limitations and inflated prepayment penalty calculations… for our purposes, I’m only discussing quality mortgage products with no gimmicks or strings attached).

Now, looking at the 5 yr govt of Cda bond yields (this is where fixed rates are closely priced from), we have seen this drop down to as low as 0.70%… it’s been holding steady in the 0.80% range since July.    Normally, the 5 fixed rate is priced 1.10% to 1.50% above the 5 yr bond yield..  but the spread has been at or over 1.79% for quite a while.   So, why haven’t the fixed rates gone down further? Read the rest of this entry »

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