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How much?!?! Mortgage pre-payment penalties explained.
If you were hoping the Canadian government had introduced a new law standardizing mortgage penalties, youll be sad to learn no changes yet. Rumours swirl that something has to or will be done in regards to this issues. But, until that time were stuck with what we have. So, it is in your best interest to understand how pre-payment penalties work.
Youll be shocked to know that the average Canadian breaks their mortgages every 3.5 years, and the most common term people take is 5 years. Its easy to see why understanding mortgage penalties can end up saving you thousands. Of course, there are some simple strategies to avoid a penalty:
Wait until your maturity date to refinance, buy and sell, or switch lenders.
Porting Most mortgages include a portability features that essentially allows you to transfer your mortgage to a new property.
Early Renewal Some lenders will allow you to renew up to 6 months early without penalty.
However, when these situations dont line up, or arent available, clients are forced to pay what sometimes can be a massive mortgage penalty. For example, if you started a new mortgage exactly one year ago when rates were around 2.99% for a 5 year fixed closed term and you wanted to pay out your loan in full, here are some numbers to consider:
BMO - $4,640.00
MCAP - $2,167.00
These calculations can be done at home if you want to test your individual mortgage. Each financial institution is now required to disclose a pre-payment calculator or formula on their websites to allow Canadians to calculate their own penalty.
So, youre probably wondering how these penalties are calculated? Well its a method of two formulas, Interest Rate Differential (IRD), or 3 Months Interest. With a Variable Rate Mortgage, it is always 3 months interest. If you have a fixed mortgage, its the IRD or 3-Months Interest and it always depends on which is greater. I should note that No Frills Mortgages, or super low rate mortgages can sometimes have completely different ways of calculating a penalty. Beware of what youre signing!
IRD What it means..
Interest rate differential is the difference of your current mortgage rate and what the lender could offer in todays current market. For example, if you have 4 years left on your mortgage, the lender will compare their rate to what their current 4-year rate is.
This calculation differs between lenders in regards to how they determine what rates to compare. Banks have posted and discounted rates. If you review any mortgage documents from the Big 6 Banks, it shows you the discount offered from the posted rate.
Right now, Scotabank has a 5 year rate of 4.79%, however, you could walk in there today and get 3.09% on the same 5 year term. But, when they go to calculate the penalty, dont think they wont consider the original discount. This is huge when picking your lender, especially if you know you may need to break your mortgage.
Other lenders, especially those available through the broker channel, compare rates at face value. Meaning, the discount rate is compared to the discount rate. That is what you saw MCAP (above) with the lowest mortgage penalty.
In essence, when selecting a mortgage lender, be sure to consider all your options. It could end up saving you thousands.
Mortgage Agent in Kingston, Ontario, License #M13000201
Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1/2 per cent
The Bank of Canada today announced that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 1/2 per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 3/4 % and the deposit rate is 1/4 per cent.
CPI inflation rose to 2.1 % in January, reflecting higher energy prices due in part to carbon pricing measures introduced in two provinces. The Bank is looking through these effects, as their impact on inflation will be temporary. The Banks three measures of core inflation, taken together, continue to point to material excess capacity in the economy.
Overall, recent data on the global and Canadian economies have been consistent with the Banks projection of improving growth, as set out in the JanuaryMonetary Policy Report(MPR). In Canada, recent consumption and housing indicators suggest growth in the fourth quarter of 2016 may have been slightly stronger than expected.
However, exports continue to face the ongoing competitiveness challenges described in the January MPR. The Canadian dollar and bond yields remain near levels observed at that time. While there have been recent gains in employment, subdued growth in wages and hours worked continue to reflect persistent economic slack in Canada, in contrast to the United States.
Source: Bank of Canada
Canadian home sales edge down from December to January
According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales were down slightly in January 2017 on a month-over-month basis.
- National home sales declined 1.3% from December 2016 to January 2017
- Actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity in January was up 1.9% from a year earlier
- The number of newly listed homes dropped 6.7% from December 2016 to January 2017
- The MLSHome Price Index (HPI) in January was up 15.0% year-over-year (y-o-y)
- The national average sale price was little changed (+0.2%) y-o-y in January
Sales activity was down from the previous month in about half of all local markets, led by three of Canadas largest urban centres: the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Greater Vancouver, and Montreal.
Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales activity was up 1.9% compared to the same month last year. While sales were up from year-ago levels in about two-thirds of all local housing markets including in the GTA, Calgary, Edmonton, London and St Thomas, and Montreal, they were down significantly in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.
The number of newly listed homes dropped 6.7% in January 2017, the second consecutive monthly decline. New listings were down in about two-thirds of all local markets, led by the GTA and environs across Vancouver Island.
With the monthly decline in new listings surpassing the decline in sales, the national sales-to-new listings ratio jumped to 67.7% in January compared to 64.0% in December and 60.2% in November.
The ratio was above 60% in about half of all local housing markets in January, the vast majority of which are located in British Columbia, in and around the GTA and across southwestern Ontario. A monthly decline in newly listed homes further tightened housing markets that were already in sellers market territory.
There were 4.6 months of inventory on a national basis at the end of January 2017 unchanged from December 2016 and a six-year low for the measure.
The imbalance between limited housing supply and robust demand in Ontarios Greater Golden Horseshoe region is without precedent (the region includes the GTA, Hamilton-Burlington, Oakville-Milton, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Brantford, the Niagara Region, Barrie and nearby cottage country). The number of months of inventory in January 2017 stood at or below one month in the GTA, Hamilton-Burlington, Oakville-Milton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Brantford and Guelph.
In the Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver, prices have receded from their peaks posted in August 2016. That said, home prices in these regions nonetheless remain well above year-ago levels (+24.9% and +15.6% respectively).
Meanwhile, benchmark prices continue to climb in Victoria and elsewhere on Vancouver Island together with Greater Toronto, Oakville-Milton and Guelph. Year-over-year price gains in these five markets ranged from about 18% to 26% in January.
By comparison, home prices were down 2.9% y-o-y in Calgary and by 1.0% y-o-y in Saskatoon. Prices in these two markets now stand 5.9% and 4.3% below their respective peaks reached in 2015.
Home prices were up modestly from year-ago levels in Regina (+3.8%), Ottawa (+3.7%) and Greater Montreal (+3.1%). In Greater Moncton, home prices for the market overall held steady (-0.2%), reflecting an increase in townhouse row units prices (5.8%) that was offset by a decline in prices for one-storey single family homes (-1.0%).
The actual (not seasonally adjusted) national average price for homes sold in January 2017 was $470,253, almost unchanged (+0.2%) from where it stood one year earlier.
The national average price continues to be pulled upward by sales activity in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto, which remain two of Canadas tightest, most active and expensive housing markets.
That said, Greater Vancouvers share of national sales activity has diminished considerably over the past year, giving it less upward influence on the national average price. The average price is reduced by almost $120,000 to $351,998 if Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto sales are excluded from calculations.