Bank of Canada Increases Prime again Sept 2017
Many of us were surprised today when Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz announced another increase in the Prime rate raising it to 3.20%. This means that your mortgage rate has likely risen by the same .25%.
The Variable rate mortgage has consistently been an excellent choice because of the savings weve generated compared to the 5 year fixed rate. Those savings have not dissappeared because of a slight increase over the past few months. The variable rate mortgage still has a spread of .40-1.20% compared to the prevailing 5 year fixed rate of 3.39% today. Meaning it is still not the right time to convert to a fixed term. That being said I would be happy to discuss your specific situation.
The recent increase in interest rates is a result of the stronger than expected performance in the Canadian economy. The year over year Canadian GDP (Gross Domestic Product) jumped 3.6% in the first quarter of 2017, to 4.5% in the second quarter. This growth rate exceeds the predictions of the Bank of Canada.
You wouldnt be wrong in assuming that the Bank of Canada is pumping the brakes on our economy. The growth was unexpected by almost all. Last month in August 2017 there was a slight dip in manufacturing numbers and unemployment continues to be low. Canada actually has the best performing economy in the entire G7, and that is factoring in the downward pressure on housing, and lower oil prices. Todays increase put prime back to where it was in January 2015 just before the crash in Oil prices.
So what will happen with housing? Well I believe that you will see a continue softening of values. The likely result of todays rate increase will likely cause housing market to decrease by another 5 to 10 percent. I estimate a more normal 3 - 7% annual increase in home values beginning next year. The days of 20% year over year price increases are done for now. And that is a good thing.
When you got your Variable Rate Mortgage we did a stress test. Even a mortgage at Prime today is still about 35% lower than what we used to Qualify you for your mortgage. So please dont worry about affordability. You can expect an increase in the interest portion of your mortgage of approx 25 dollars per 100k per month. Its not money anyone wants to spend, but it is still a far better deal than a fixed rate.
I hope this information has been of value to you. Please feel free to reach out to me directly at email@example.com or by cell at 905 334 9111.
Minister Morneau announces new benchmark rate for qualifying insured mortgages
For many Canadians, their home is the most important investment they will make in their lifetime. That is why the Government of Canada has introduced measures to help more Canadians achieve their housing needs while also taking measured actions to contain risks in the housing market. A stable and healthy housing market is part of a strong economy, which is vital to building and supporting a strong middle class.
Today, Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, announced changes to the benchmark rate used to determine the minimum qualifying rate for insured mortgages, also known as the stress test. These changes will come into effect on April 6, 2020. The new benchmark rate will be the weekly median 5-year fixed insured mortgage rate from mortgage insurance applications, plus 2%.
This follows a recent review by federal financial agencies which concluded that the minimum qualifying rate should be more dynamic to better reflect the evolution of market conditions. Overall, the review concluded that mortgage standards are working to ensure that home buyers are able to afford their homes even if interest rates rise, incomes change, or families are faced with unforeseen expenses. This adjustment to the stress test will allow it to be more representative of the mortgage rates offered by lenders and more responsive to market conditions.
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) also announced today that it is considering the same new benchmark rate to determine the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages. OSFI is seeking input from interested stakeholders on this proposal before March 17, 2020.
The Contagion of Fear
Fears of a possible coronavirus pandemic are sweeping the world. Markets are jittery with little hard data to go on.
With the first case now reported in Canada, many are recalling the 2003 SARS where Canada was one of the epicenters. Arguably the biggest (economic) lesson from that experience is that fear is the biggest risk to the outlook.
The impact of the SARS pandemic on the Canadian economy is difficult to estimate, confounded as it was by the slowing US economy, the invasion of Iraq and other events, but the Bank of Canada estimated -0.6ppt hit to annualized growth in Q2-2003, or just over 0.1% on the level of GDP.
While it is premature to predict the path of todays coronavirus outbreak, we estimate that a SARS-equivalent pandemic today could have a similar impact on the Canadian economy with an estimated hit of just over 0.1% on the level of GDP by mid-2020, at which point a pandemic should be contained. This estimate is subject to a significant degree of uncertainty with risks skewed to a potentially larger impact.
The effect should not be significant enough to trigger a broader economic malaise, but could this finally push Governor Poloz over the line to proactively stimulate the economy in his next rate call?