Rates, Refinancing and Relief - The Effects of COVID19 - UPDATED March 24th
More Rate Increases
HSBC often leads the market on mortgage pricing and today it upped multiple rates:
- 3yr fixed (high ratio): 1.88% to 1.99% Still the lowest rate in Canada
- 5yr fixed (switch/purchase): 2.49% to 2.69%
- 5yr fixed (refis): 2.59% to 2.79%
- 5yr variable (switch/purchase): 2.49% to 2.74%
- 5yr variable (refis): 2.59% to 2.84% (P – 0.11%)
Evaporating variable-rate discounts are sadly a sign of the times, even at rate leader HSBC.
Extreme application volumes are leaving some applicants waiting over two weeks for mortgage approvals. Generally speaking, the better the mortgage deal, the more applications the lender gets and the longer borrowers must wait.
Rates and Refinacing
This week has been yet another roller coaster of news, that none of us have fully been able to digest let alone fully understand. The COVID19 crisis has rocked the markets and that flight of capital has caused rates to fall. This caused a flurry of inquiries for most brokers regarding refinances to catch those suddenly lower rates. Unfortunately for the borrower who did not react quickly, just as quickly as rates fell, they popped back up again, in some cases above the levels they were at prior to their drop. This has caused much confusion in conversations with our clients. “Didn’t the Bank of Canada lower the rate twice?”… well, yes, they did. However, as the banks have watched the COVID19 situation unfold, they have become nervous of liquidity and risk issues. This has driven them to inflate their margins to potentially allow for losses such as defaults.
The net effect is that if you are looking at a purchase or refinance today, you will likely find both fixed and “net” variable rates at roughly the same levels as they were back in January or February. The big question is, when will these rate increases end. If the 2008 market drop was any indication, we will likely see either rates staying the course or potentially bumping upwards slightly, again depending on the investors perception of risk in government bonds.
Bottom line is the rates are, and have been at historically low levels for a long time now. With the historical rate for a 5 year, fixed rate mortgage around 6%, the current available rates around 3% are a bargain. My advice in such uncertain times would be to take a fixed rate and know what your costs will be for the next 5 years. The discount on variables has evaporated so at this point, the variable option unlikely would give the savings you may have seen in the past and should the BOC raise rates over the course of the typical 5 year term, you may actually be paying a premium. Food for thought.
I’d like to leave you with some information many of us have been wondering about, Payment Relief.
Most banks and mortgage companies have now announced, that during what looks like an uncertain period ahead, should you need a break from your monthly mortgage payments, they are willing to assist. The gist of the offer is that with many lenders, you may miss up to six months of payments to offset a loss of income should you be laid off. The mechanics of this is that the lender will allow you to miss those payments and instead, add the interest portion that you would have otherwise paid into the principle amount of your mortgage. This is not free money. The interest portion will be “capitalized” into the amount you owe so after the six months of missed payments, you will begin to pay it back with a portion of your normal payment, basically extending the amortization of your mortgage by a little over six months from where it sits today. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great deal for a borrower if you really need it. If not, it adds to your interest costs and should be avoided. In other words, don’t do it just because you can.
If you need to discuss possible payment relief with your mortgage lender, below is a partial list of major Canadian lenders for your convenience. If you’d like to discuss potential refinances, equity take-out or other mortgage related issues, I am always available to assist you as well.
Feel free to reach out directly by phone or text to: 604.802.8193 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stay safe and stay well.
Robert Mogensen – Mortgage Consultant
B2B 1 800 263 8349
Connect First 403-736-4000
Chinook Financial 403-934-3358
First Calgary Financial 403-736-4000
First National 1-888-488-0794
Home Trust 1-855-270-3630
Street Capital 1-866-683-8090