With interest rates now on the rise, 2 Questions: How much? & How fast?
- Rates are up by 1.45% on the Variable already (Prime was 1.75% and is now 3.2%)
- There HAS BEEN a 1 x .25% increase and 1 x .5% increase so far = .75% so far
- Expected increases are 1 x .5% or .75%, and 1 x .25% still to come.
- so expect Prime to get to 3.95% from 3.20% today, April 25th.
- Insured variable rates are at Prime – 0.95% = 3.2 – .95% = 2.25% today
- and they are expected to increase to 3.95% – .95% = 3.00% and then hold and decrease in the Fall of 2022.
- these rates are lower than the current 5-year fixed rates of about 4% and are expected to come down in the Fall, 2022.
Traditionally the Bank of Canada has used 0.25% as the standard increment for any interest rate move up, or down. Occasionally the Bank will move its trendsetting Policy Rate by .50%, as it did at its last setting on April 13.
The last time the central bank boosted the, so-called, overnight rate by ½% was 20 years ago. Now the Bank seems to be laying the ground work for an even bigger increase of .75% at its next setting in June. There has not been a three-quarter point increase since the late 1990s.
Inflation remains the key concern for the BoC. In March the inflation rate hit 6.7%, a 30-year high. The central bank wants to see inflation at around 2.0%. But it does not expect that to happen until sometime late next year.
Bank of Canada Governor will “not rule anything out” when it comes to interest rates and taming inflation. “We’re prepared to be as forceful as needed and I’m really going to let those words speak for themselves.”
While higher inflation was not unexpected as the economy recovered from the pandemic, it is lingering longer than anticipated. The Bank says this is largely due to:
- on-going waves of COVID-19, particularly in China, that have disrupted manufacturing and the supply chain;
- the Russian invasion of Ukraine; and
- spending fuelled by those rock-bottom interest rates that were designed to keep the economy moving during the pandemic.
The Bank is thought to be aiming for a Policy Rate of between 2% and 3%. That is considered a “neutral” rate that neither stimulates nor restrains the economy.
At the current pace, that could be reached by the fall of 2022.
Its true! This thing called Basel 3 will make it harder to get an investment mortgage in 2023!
Lots of junk below, the short version is:
Canadian banks will need to apply more risk to investor mortgages and to lower that risk they may:
- Increase the down payment needed from 20% to a higher amount … maybe 25% or 30%
- Lend to fewer investors – which already make up 25% to 30% of the Canadian market.
- New Zealand already started 40% down payment for investment properties!
“Avoid the new rules by buying your investment property in 2022!
Mortgage Mark Herman, top Calgary, Alberta mortgage broker.”
DETAILS: Canadian Bank Regulator Confirms Investor Mortgage Reduction Coming Next Year
Canadian real estate investors are about to face higher hurdles to enter the market. The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), Canada’s bank regulator, confirmed new rules being rolled out in Q2 2023. The rules are a part of international Basel III guidelines, designed to reduce risk in the system. One critical change for real estate will be raising the risk weight for investor mortgages. This will reduce their leverage, which OSFI cites as a key response to housing risk. It’s still early, but here’s what we could dig up.
The Basel Trilogy and Global Financial Risk Reduction
The Basel reforms are a global set of measures for prudential bank regulation. They were developed by the Basel Committee On Banking Supervision (BCBS). The BCBS is a 45-country group hosted by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS). The BIS is often called, “the central bank for central banks.” It’s also jokingly called the “final boss” by Bitcoin investors.
We know, it’s a lot of banking jargon and acronyms, but what they do is straightforward. Their job is creating non-partisan risk reduction standards for the global financial system. Since the world’s financial system is now interdependent, problems spill across borders. They stepped up their game after a housing bubble in the US caused a global financial crisis (GFC).
The Basel Accords are a trilogy of policy where the common goals were set. The original happened before many of you were born (1988), but Basel II and III occur after the 2007-2008 GFC. No, circle back. GFC doesn’t stand for Gesus F*cking Christ, we just explained it’s the Global Financial Crisis. We’re also worried about your spelling skills.
The Second Accord primarily addressed minimum capital adequacy requirements. In other words, how much financial institutions had on hand compared to what they lend. Basel III was held in 2010, and mostly just improves the recognition of risk.
A good chunk of BASEL III reforms have already been implemented. Increasing Common Equity Tier 1 (CET) to 4.5% of risk-weighted assets (RWAs) from 2% in BASEL II, is one example. It happened in 2015 and almost no one heard a sound. The measures have been gradually introduced to create as little noise as possible. Though real estate investors might make some noise with the next update.
Basel III Will Land In Q2 2023, and It Will Lower Investor Mortgage Leverage
Basel III will increase the capital requirements for investor mortgages. “as part of the domestic implementation of Basel 3 reform package” in banks’ fiscal Q2-2023, we are increasing the risk weights, and thus capital required, for investor mortgages compared to the risk weights for owner-occupied properties,” said OSFI this morning.
That only tells us a reduction in leverage by Q2 2023 is coming, but not how much. OSFI said they’ll get back to us with what that means for down payments soon. We’ll update as soon as they do, but in the meantime we can get an idea of what we’re in for, from Basel III guidelines.
New standardized credit risk assigns a 30% risk weight to residential real estate. Next year income producing properties with a loan-to-value between 60% and 80% will have a risk weight of 45%. A bank will assume 50% more risk weight for an investor mortgage than an owner occupied home. i.e. owner-occupied mortgages with 20% down have similar risk to investor mortgages with 30% down.
There’s no direct translation of how that’s mitigated. They could want 10 points more for a mortgage, or they can offset risk in various other ways. Raising the risk premium on interest or lending less would be two methods to deal with it. None of those are particularly great for investors, now between 25% and 30% of home sales in Canada. It will slow demand though, which is probably needed.
Raising the down payment is already occurring in other countries like New Zealand. Last year the country increased the minimum downpayment for investors to 40% of the value. Mortgage Professionals Canada (MPC) recently suggested a similar arrangement for Canada. Yup! The organization that represents mortgage brokers suggested it as just a cooling measure. Not even a Basel III mitigation.
The Federal Government has yet to address the issue, probably since most don’t know it’s coming. That means we don’t know if they’ll help reduce the leverage for political points or it’ll come from the banks. One thing’s for sure though — it’s coming next year.
Below are the Bank of Canada’s updated comments on the state of the economy, the Bank and singled out the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia as a “major new source of uncertainty” that will add to inflation “around the world,” and have negative impacts on confidence that could weigh on global growth.
These are the other highlights.
Canadian economy and the housing market
- Economic growth in Canada was very strong in the fourth quarter of 2021 at 6.7%, which is stronger than the Bank’s previous projection and confirms its view that economic slack has been absorbed
- Both exports and imports have picked up, consistent with solid global demand
- In January 2022, the recovery in Canada’s labour market suffered a setback due to the Omicron variant, with temporary layoffs in service sectors and elevated employee absenteeism, however, the rebound from Omicron now appears to be “well in train”
- Household spending is proving resilient and should strengthen further with the lifting of public health restrictions
- Housing market activity is “more elevated,” adding further pressure to house prices
- First-quarter 2022 growth is “now looking more solid” than previously projected
Canadian inflation and the impact of the invasion of Ukraine
- CPI inflation is currently at 5.1%, as the BoC expected in January, and remains well above the Bank’s target range
- Price increases have become “more pervasive,” and measures of core inflation have all risen
- Poor harvests and higher transportation costs have pushed up food prices
- The invasion of Ukraine is putting further upward pressure on prices for both energy and food-related commodities
- Inflation is now expected to be higher in the near term than projected in January
- Persistently elevated inflation is increasing the risk that longer-run inflation expectations could drift upwards
- The Bank will use its monetary policy tools to return inflation to the 2% target and “keep inflation expectations well-anchored”
- Global economic data has come in broadly in line with projections in the Bank’s January Monetary Policy Report
- Economies are emerging from the impact of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 more quickly than expected, although the virus continues to circulate and the possibility of new variants remains a concern
- Demand is robust, particularly in the United States
- Global supply bottlenecks remain challenging, “although there are indications that some constraints have eased”
As the economy continues to expand and inflation pressures remain elevated, the Bank’s Governing Council made a clear point of telling Canadians to expect interest rates to rise further.
More on Food Security – Interesting data points on the War in Ukraine
Prices for food commodities like grains and vegetable oils reached their highest levels ever last month largely because of Russia’s war in Ukraine and the “massive supply disruptions” it is causing, threatening millions of people in Africa, the Middle East elsewhere with hunger and malnourishment, the United Nations said Friday.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization said its Food Price Index, which tracks monthly changes in international prices for a basket of commodities, averaged 159.3 points last month, up 12.6% from February. As it is, the February index was the highest level since its inception in 1990.
FAO said the war in Ukraine was largely responsible for the 17.1% rise in the price of grains, including wheat and others like oats, barley and corn. Together, Russia and Ukraine account for around 30% and 20% of global wheat and corn exports, respectively.
While predictable given February’s steep rise, “this is really remarkable,” said Josef Schmidhuber, deputy director of FAO’s markets and trade division. “Clearly, these very high prices for food require urgent action.”
The biggest price increases were for vegetable oils: that price index rose 23.2%, driven by higher quotations for sunflower seed oil that is used for cooking. Ukraine is the world’s leading exporter of sunflower oil, and Russia is No. 2.