With the Bank of Canada in a mood to raise rates, it’s a similar feeling for the bond market, which impacts fixed rates. In every interest-rate market there are many factors leading to an increase and we are hoping to provide a little bit of clarity on what is happening and what it means to you and your loved ones. We tell you this in advance to be proactive to take care of you, as our mortgage family, so as you hear the news about the changes you have comfort we are here to lead with clarity.
At this time, we see fixed rates increasing as the bond market increases.
Why do we note this information and how does it relate to you?
If you are in a variable rate, you will want to:
Review your lock-in options by contacting us or your lender directly (every lender has different policies in allowing us to help or not). Knowing it’s unlikely the prime rate will reduce and fixed rates are on the rise, there could be a sweet spot to review your options now.
If you decide not to lock in, it’s time to review your discount to see if a higher one can be obtained elsewhere.
Locking in won’t be for everyone, especially if you are making higher payments and your mortgage is below $300,000, which most people fit and will continue on that path. Also if your discount is more than .6 below prime you may want to wait and watch the market. Locking in will be around a 1% higher rate than you are likely presently paying. If knowing you can likely lock in around 4% now is most attractive to you, this may be your time.
If you are in a fixed rate:
If you obtained your mortgage in the last year, stay put.
If you are looking to move up the property ladder or consolidate debt, get your application in to us ASAP so we can hold options for up to 120 days.
If you are up for renewal this year or know someone who is, secure your options now with us to weight out the savings prior to renewal with us keeping a watchful eye on the market.
Keep in mind that if you or someone you care about has an average mortgage of $350,000 and got it a few years ago at 2.49% now a qualified applicant can expect about 3.89% which is a payment increase of $254 dollars a month, so increasing your payment now will protect your equity, and you from future payment shock.
Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC) for many years have been a way for Canadians to unlock equity in their homes and use the money for investing, paying for children’s education or quite simply lowering their monthly interest payments on high interest credit cards. This is all great if the property values remain steady, but if there has been a big upswing in value and the HELOC has been increased, here’s what can happen if the values start to reduce.
The bank can call a HELOC at any time meaning they can tell you that you have to pay it off which for most would mean refinancing the property and turning it all back into a mortgage.
The bank can freeze the HELOC meaning you can’t use it as they may see that your equity is no longer as large as it has been in the past.
And of course, they can raise the interest rate on the HELOC at any time, most Canadians enjoy the great rate of prime plus .50% or 1% on their HELOC but that can change at any time. The Banks can decide they want more and increase that percentage at any time, plus of course we are in a rising interest rate period and the bank of Canada will most likely increase prime at least three times in the next year. With prime currently at 3.70 per cent, your HELOC could easily be over 5% in the coming year.
A HELOC has to be used with some caution especially when using it for investing; a declining real estate market can easily wipe out any gains in equity and cause one or more of the above scenarios to occur.