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 »

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 or Fixed? an update on how to choose.

Variable rate mortgage

FIXED OR VARIABLE?

The debate over fixed vs variable never seems to end.   For the past 5 years, the Federal govt and the BIG SIX BANKS have been doing everything in their power to force us into choosing a 5 year Fixed rate.    The govt says it gives us security and protection against the anticipated interest rate hikes.   BANKS jumped on this bandwagon because 5 yr fixed is the most profitable mortgage product.. and with fixed rates hovering at 3.00% for the last 3 years, it’s been an easy sell.

On the surface, it’s not bad advice.    Fixed rates were supposed to go up.   The spread between Fixed and Variable has been less than 1.00% over the last 3 years.     My rule of thumb is that Variable rates should be 1.00% lower than 5 yr fixed in order to benefit from the possible rate fluctuations.   So naturally, 5 yr fixed was a better choice.

DO YOU TRUST YOUR GOVT AND YOUR BANK? Read the rest of this entry »

Unexpected job loss report and effect on mortgage rates.

unemployment Last week’s Employment Stats shocked everyone when we didn’t see the expected 14,000 new jobs created as Economists were expecting.  Instead, we got hit with a reported 46,000 jobs lost in December.    Economists aren’t always accurate with their forecasts (news flash) but they usually aren’t this far off either. We won’t look at why they miscalculated here, but I do want to look at the effects of this bad news on your mortgage.

EFFECT ON FIXED MORTGAGE RATES

Higher unemployment and job loss is never a good thing.  We’re not celebrating here.   But we need to understand how it affects our mortgage rates.     When it comes to rates, bad economic news is good news.    And we saw the effects almost immediately.  Bond yields dropped by around 0.15% to 1.73%, taking the pressure off Lenders to raise rates (fixed mortgage rates are priced closely to Govt of Cda bond yields).   This means fixed mortgages won’t go up anytime soon and could even fall should the bond yields remain at this level. Read the rest of this entry »

Choose short term money for long term gains.

short termOnly recently has 5 year fixed rate become a product worth considering when it comes to paying the least amount of interest on your mortgage.   Studies prove that short term mortgage funds are the cheapest way to finance a house.. this includes Variable rate mortgages.

Historically, Variable rate and short term fixed rates have had lower rates than long term rates.   And yet, the BIG SIX BANKS, the Federal govt, and several popular finance experts have preached 5 yr fixed.  ‘You must take 5 year fixed so you know what your rate is.’   That’s a load of nonsense.   It’s true, that over the past 2 years, 5 yr fixed did make more sense given that the spread between Variable and Fixed was less than my target of 1.00%.  (I like to see a 1.00% spread between Variable and 5 yr fixed before recommending Variable).    Read the rest of this entry »

Time to look at Variable Rates again.

Variable rate mortgage

With fixed rates up around 0.60% over the last 4 weeks (currently at around 3.49%.. there are some lower rates but these come with conditions so we are using the more widely available rate) we must again take a look at Variable rates.   Today’s best Variable rate product is sitting at around Prime less 0.40% … there’s even a few promotional Variables at Prime less 0.50% for qualified applicants.   But for this article we will stick with Prime less 0.40%.  That’s 2.60% today.  We are almost at that 1.00% spread that I like to see.

Two years ago, the best Variable rate was at Prime less 0.75% with the option to lock into the BEST discounted fixed rate at any time (this option is important, don’t ever settle for a variable product that doesn’t have this clause).   And 5 years ago, we had Variable rate products as low at Prime less 0.90%. Read the rest of this entry »

BMO Economist forecast no rate hikes til 2013

More good news…. interest rates are not expected to increase til 2013, according to Bank of Montreal.

Really no surprise here.  The global economy is not doing well.  But here in Canada, the economy is performing relatively well.   The only reason our stock market and Canadian $ are down is because of the uncertainty of the European debt crisis.

5 year fixed rates are hovering at 3.39%… and they are even lower for qualified borrowers…. Variable rates are at around 2.60%…  We are in record low territory.

Did you know a $300,000 mortgage will carry for as little as $1199/month?   Hey, if you’re paying $1400/mth for rent, then why not consider buying place of your own…  And for those that want off the stock market roller coaster, a rental property may just be what you need…  Best thing is to talk to a Mortgage Broker, crunch the numbers and see how it looks.   It’s probably easier than you think.

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