Mortgage rates are on the rise… What does this mean to you as a Home Owner?
The Bank of Canada has announced that the interest rate of 0.5 per cent will now be increased to 0.75 per cent.
Are you someone who has a mortgage or hoping to get one soon? Global News helps break it down for you and how this increase will affect a current or upcoming mortgage.
First Global News explain the different types of mortgages and how to distinguish what you may have or are in the market for.
Variable-rate mortgages: If you have a variable-rate mortgage, this calculator tells you how your payments will change when the Bank of Canada hikes rates. Today, rates went up by 0.25 of a percentage point. Many economists expect the central bank to raise rates by a full percentage point (up to 1.5 per cent) by the end of 2018.
Lenders don’t always mirror the BoC exactly. For example, the last time the central bank made a move, in July 2015, it cut rates by 0.25 of a percentage point, but mortgage lenders cut variable-rate mortgages by only 0.15 of a percentage point. “With an increase, however, it’s most likely the full amount will be passed along to consumers,” said to James Laird, co-founder of RateHub.ca and president of CanWise Financial. This is the working assumption of this calculator.
For highly anticipated interest rate changes, such as today’s hike, lenders generally adjust their variable rates within hours of the Bank of Canada announcement, said Laird. Variable-rate mortgage holders, in other words, will likely be affected immediately.
Fixed-rate mortgages: Most Canadians have fixed-rate mortgages with interest rates that hold steady through the length of the loan term. If that’s you, you can still use this calculator to get an idea of how your payments might change once your mortgage is up for renewal. However, keep in mind that if you have a five-year mortgage that will be up for renewal soon, today’s rates might still be lower than the rate you locked into five years ago.
Prospective Home Buyers: If you’ve been eyeing a certain fixed mortgage rate over the past few weeks, today’s interest rate increase might not affect you. Most fixed-rates have already increased in anticipation of today’s hike, which was largely anticipated by markets. In all likelihood, the rates you’ve been seeing lately are the rates you’ll be able to access in the next little while. However, you can still use the calculator to see what your monthly payments might look like if you were to get a mortgage after the Bank of Canada raises rates again, which might happen as soon as this fall.
Amortization period — this is the length of time it will take you to pay off your mortgage in full. In Canada, most mortgages have a 25-year amortization. This is different from your mortgage term, the length of time you commit to a specific rate, lender and loan conditions. The typical mortgage term in Canada is 5 years.
Payment frequency — most people pay their mortgage once a month. “Semi-monthly” means you pay twice a month, for a total of 24 yearly payments. “Bi-weekly” means you pay every two weeks, for a total of 26 payments a year. “Accelerated bi-weekly” means you pay the same amount you’d be paying with a semi-monthly option but make 26 rather than 24 payments per year, which allows you to pay down your mortgage faster and save on interest.
If you have a variable-rate mortgage
Some 30 per cent of Canadians have a mortgage with a so-called variable-rate, which moves up or down along with the general level of interest rates in the economy. If the The Bank of Canada raises rates, homeowners with variable-rate mortgages will see their monthly mortgage payments go up.
- How much more will you be paying? Economists expect the BoC to hike rates slowly, by increments of 0.25 of a percentage point. Let’s look at the example of a homeowner with a home priced at $750,000, a minimum down payment of 10 per cent, and a 5-year variable-rate mortgage with an interest rate of 1.75 per cent and 25-year amortization. The total monthly mortgage payment for this homeowner right now would be $2,864, according to the mortgage payment calculator at RateHub, a rates comparison site. With an increase of a quarter of a percentage point that monthly payment would go up to $2,947, or $83 more per month. Now let’s look at what might happen between now and the end of next year. RBC expects the The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate to climb by a full percentage point (from 0.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent) by the end of 2018. Under that scenario, the monthly payments in our example would rise to $3,205, or $341 more per month.
- Does it make sense to lock in to a fixed-rate mortgage? Variable-rate mortgages come with the option of switching to a fixed rate during the term of the loan. Doing so might buy you peace of mind if the thought of rising interest rates keeps you up at night. But locking in has a cost. “Conversion rates are never as aggressively priced as those offered to borrowers who have yet to walk through the lender’s front door,” David Larock, a Toronto-based independent mortgage broker recently wrote in a post weighing the pros and cons of fixed- and variable-rate mortgages. Some lenders also demand that borrowers locking in sign up for a five-year term, no matter what the remaining term of their current loan is. If you do the math, you might find that you’re better off sticking with your variable rate. When an interest rate increase appears close, “everybody panics and rushes to lock in, but those knee-jerk reactions aren’t generally prescient over time,” Larock told Global News. Though it’s impossible to know how interest rates will move, Larock doesn’t believe they’ll go very far in the short term. John Pasalis, president of Toronto-based brokerage Realosophy, agrees: “No one really expects rates to skyrocket.”
- What about breaking your variable-rate mortgage and getting a better fixed-rate loan with another lender? Unlike fixed-rate mortgages, variable-rate mortgages typically carry a relatively low penalty for breaking the loans: Only three months’ worth of interest, according to Larock. Variable-rate borrowers worried about interest rates could quit their lender and seek out a fixed-rate mortgage with a lower rate than the conversion rate in their current loan. Switching mortgages, though, involves a lot of paperwork and legal fees, noted Larock. And homeowners ditching their variable-rate loan would likely only be eligible for rates offered to homeowners refinancing their mortgage, which are generally higher than the rates offered to homebuyers, Larock added. “The competition for the [mortgage] refinance business isn’t as strong,” he told Global News.
If you have a fixed-rate mortgage
Over 65 per cent of Canadians have fixed-rate mortgages, which, as the name implies, remain fixed through the term of the loan. Here’s what these homeowners need to know:
- An interest rate hike affects fixed-rate mortgages, too. Fixed-rate mortgages tend to follow bond yields, the amount of return investors realize on bonds. But investors’ expectations about what the The Bank of Canada will do with its key rate affect bond yields. Therefore, indirectly, an interest rate hike has implications for fixed-rate mortgages, too. “The mere mention of a rate hike had an effect on bond yields, already resulting in an increase in the popular 5-year fixed rate mortgages over the last month,” James Laird, co-founder RateHub.ca and president of CanWise Financial mortgage brokerage, said in a statement. This means that most Canadians with a fixed-rate mortgage will likely have to pay a higher interest rate when they refinance their loan.
- Canadians who are about to refinance a five-year fixed-term mortgage may have a pleasant surprise. Although rates on fixed-rate mortgages are headed up, they are still significantly lower than they were five years ago. Therefore, Canadians with a five-year mortgage coming up for renewal in the next little while may find that their new rate is lower.
If you’re about to get a new mortgage
If you’re house-hunting right now, keep in mind the following:
- Think about getting pre-approved for a five-year mortgage. “Anyone currently shopping for a home should get a pre-approval, which guarantees today’s fixed rates for 120 days,” said Laird.
- The stress-test for Home Buyers will likely remain the same. Home buyers applying for a variety of variable- and fixed-rate mortgages are stress-tested against the The Bank of Canada’s qualifying rate of 4.64 per cent, which is much higher than the mortgage rates most Canadians pay. The Bank of Canada’s posted rate is the mode (i.e. the most common occurring number) of the five-year fixed mortgage rates advertised by Canada’s six largest banks. But those advertised rates bear “very little correlation” with the discounted mortgage rates banks are actually offering customers, said Larock. Banks generally use their advertised rates to calculate penalties for borrowers who break their mortgage, he added. Even if banks are hiking the rate of their fixed-rate mortgages, they’re unlikely to adjust their advertised rates, Larock told Global News. As a result, the stress-test benchmark for homebuyers is likely to remain the same.
*Information was used from http://globalnews.ca/news/3581766/mortgage-calculator-canada-interest-rate-hike/