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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
National house price index rises again in August
The national HPI has grown at a below-inflation rate of 0.6% over the last 12 months. However, the weakness is not regionally broad-based. The national HPI has been depressed by 12 consecutive months without a rise in Vancouvers index, which dropped a cumulative 6.6%. Other Western metropolitan areas (Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg) also contributed to slow the national HPI. At the opposite, annual growth has been decent in most of the regions located in the central and eastern part of the country. That being said, home sales in August were up 55% from March in Vancouver, where market conditions went from favorable to buyers to balanced. Over that period, home sales rose 19% in Calgary and 12% in Edmonton. These improvements, if sustained, will sooner or later help limit home-price deflation in this region.
The TeranetNational Bank Composite National House Price IndexTM increased 0.4% in August, a fourth gain in a row after an eight-month string without a rise.
On a monthly basis, the index rose in 8 of the 11 markets covered: Victoria (+0.2%), Calgary (+0.6%), Hamilton (0.7%), Winnipeg (0.7%), Toronto (+0.8%), Montreal (1.1%), Ottawa-Gatineau (1.7%) and Halifax (1.8%). The index was down in Vancouver (-0.8%), Quebec City (-0.4%) and Edmonton (-0.1%).
From August 2018 to August 2019, the Composite index rose 0.6%. Over the period, the HPI declined in Vancouver (-6.6%), Edmonton (-3.1%), Calgary (-2.3%). It was marginally up in Quebec City (0.1%), Victoria (0.7%) and Winnipeg (1.1%). It grew more convincingly in Toronto (+3.8%), Hamilton (+4.4%), Halifax (5.5%), Montreal (+5.7%) and Ottawa-Gatineau (+6.4%).
Source: National Bank, Marc Pinsonneault
CREA Updates Resale Housing Market Forecast
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has updated its forecast for home sales activity via the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) Systems of Canadian real estate boards and associations for the rest of 2019 and looking ahead to 2020.
Economic fundamentals underpinning housing activity remain strong outside of the Prairies and Newfoundland and Labrador. Population and employment growth have both remained supportive and the unemployment rate remains low. At the same time, expectations have become widespread that the Bank of Canada is unlikely to raise interest rates over the rest of the year and into next.
More importantly for home buyers and housing markets, longer-term mortgage rates have been declining. Among those that have declined is the Bank of Canadas benchmark five-year rate used by banks to qualify mortgage applicants.
Additionally, the Federal Government has recently launched its First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, a shared equity program in which the federal government finances a portion of a home purchase in exchange for an equity share of the homes value.
Of these factors supporting Canadian housing activity, the decline in mortgage rates is arguably the most important development since the release in June of CREAs most recent forecast. The decline in the benchmark five-year mortgage rate has marginally relaxed the B-20 mortgage stress-test, which has dampened housing activity more than other policy changes made in recent years.
Home sales have improved by more than expected in recent months and there are early signs that home price declines in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and across the Prairies may be abating. Meanwhile, home prices are re-accelerating across Ontarios Greater Golden Horseshoe region.
Strong economic fundamentals, previously unexpected declines in mortgage interest rates and stronger than previously expected housing market trends in British Columbia and Ontario have resulted in CREA upwardly revising forecast home sales in 2019 and 2020. Nonetheless, the overall level of national sales activity this year and next is anticipated to remain below levels recorded prior to the implementation of the B-20 stress test.
National home sales are now projected to recover to 482,000 units in 2019, representing a 5% increase from the five-year low recorded in 2018. While this is an upward revision of 19,000 transactions compared to CREAs previous forecast (85% of which is due to upgraded British Columbia and Ontario forecasts), it represents a return of activity to its 10-year annual average. It also remains well below the annual record set in 2016, when almost 540,000 homes traded hands. Notwithstanding the upward revision, the forecast for 2019 on a per capita basis remains the second weakest since 2001.