Bank of Canada increased benchmark interest rate to 3.75%
- Prime did not change today, Jan 26, and the Bank of Canada (BoC) clearly said they are planning on starting the needed rate increases at the next meeting in 6 weeks, on Wednesday March 2nd.
- The Market has “priced in” between 4 and 6 increases in 2022, each by .25%, and between 2 and 4 increases in 2023, each by .25%
- There may be fewer increases if inflation returns to the target of 2% from today’s 40 year high of about 5%.
- The USA is seeing record 7% inflation and Canada usually gets dragged along with the US numbers so that balances the possibility of fewer increases.
- Mortgage Strategy – secure a fully underwritten, pre-approval, with a 120- day rate hold, from a person, not an online “60-second-mortgage-app” as soon as you think you may be buying in the next 2 years.
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This morning in its first scheduled policy decision of 2022, the Bank of Canada left its target overnight benchmark rate unchanged at what it describes as its “lower bound” of 0.25%. As a result, the Bank Rate stays at 0.5% and the knock-on effect is that borrowing costs for Canadians will remain low for the time being.
The Bank also updated its observations on the state of the economy, both in Canada and globally, leaving a strong impression that rates will rise this year.
More specifically, the Bank said that its Governing Council has decided to end its extraordinary commitment to hold its policy rate at the effective lower bound and that looking ahead, it expects “… interest rates will need to increase, with the timing and pace of those increases guided by the Bank’s commitment to achieving” its 2% inflation target.
These are the other highlights of today’s BoC announcement.
- The economy entered 2022 with considerable momentum, and a broad set of measures are now indicating that economic slack is absorbed
- With strong employment growth, the labour market has tightened significantly with elevated job vacancies, strong hiring intentions, and a pick up in wage gains
- Elevated housing market activity continues to put upward pressure on house prices
- Omicron is “weighing on activity in the first quarter” and while its economic impact will depend on how quickly this wave passes, the impact is expected to be less severe than previous waves
- Economic growth is then expected to bounce back and remain robust over the Bank’s “projection horizon,” led by consumer spending on services, and supported by strength in exports and business investment
- After GDP growth of 4.5% in 2021, the Bank expects Canada’s economy to grow by 4% in 2022 and about 3.5% in 2023
- CPI inflation remains “well above” the Bank’s target range and core measures of inflation have edged up since October
- Persistent supply constraints are feeding through to a broader range of goods prices and, combined with higher food and energy prices, are expected to keep CPI inflation close to 5% in the first half of 2022
- As supply shortages diminish, inflation is expected to decline “reasonably quickly” to about 3% by the end of 2022 and then “gradually ease” towards the Bank’s target over the projection period
- Near-term inflation expectations have moved up, but longer-run expectations remain anchored on the 2% target
- The Bank will use its monetary policy tools to ensure that higher near-term inflation expectations do not become embedded in ongoing inflation
- The recovery is strong but uneven with the US economy “growing robustly” while growth in some other regions appears more moderate, especially in China due to current weakness in its property sector
- Strong global demand for goods combined with supply bottlenecks that hinder production and transportation are pushing up inflation in most regions
- Oil prices have rebounded to well above pre-pandemic levels following a decline at the onset of the Omicron variant of COVID-19
- Financial conditions remain broadly accommodative but have tightened with growing expectations that monetary policy will normalize sooner than was anticipated, and with rising geopolitical tensions
- Overall, the Bank projects global GDP growth to moderate from 6.75% in 2021 to about 3.5% in 2022 and 2023
January Monetary Policy Report
The key messages found in the BoC’s Monetary Policy Report published today were consistent with the highlights noted above:
- A wide range of measures and indicators suggest that economic slack is now absorbed and estimates of the output gap are consistent with this evidence
- Public health measures and widespread worker absences related to the Omicron variant are slowing economic activity in the first quarter of 2022, but the economic impact is expected to be less severe than previous waves
- The impacts from global and domestic supply disruptions are currently exerting upward pressure on prices
- Inflationary pressures from strong demand, supply shortages and high energy prices should subside during the year
- Over the medium term, increased productivity is expected to boost supply growth, and demand growth is projected to moderate with inflation expected to decline gradually through 2023 and 2024 to close to 2%
- The Bank views the risks around this inflation outlook as roughly balanced, however, with inflation above the top of the Bank’s inflation-control range and expected to stay there for some time, the upside risks are of greater concern
The Bank intends to keep its holdings of Government of Canada bonds on its balance sheet roughly constant “at least until” it begins to raise its policy interest rate. At that time, the BoC’s Governing Council will consider exiting what it calls its “reinvestment phase” and reducing the size of its balance sheet. It will do so by allowing the roll-off of maturing Government of Canada bonds.
While the Bank acknowledges that COVID-19 continues to affect economic activity unevenly across sectors, the Governing Council believes that overall slack in the economy is now absorbed, “thus satisfying the condition outlined in the Bank’s forward guidance on its policy interest rate” and setting the stage for increases in 2022.
Mortgage Rate Holds are the theme for buyers in 2022
Mortgage Mark Herman, your friendly Calgary Alberta mortgage broker & New Buyer Specialist.
What is everyone doing with the money they saved during Covid?
- Eating out, travel, debt reduction and BUYING HOMES!
- Mortgage rates are low and home prices are close to 2005 levels!
Mortgage Mark Herman, Top Calgary Alberta Mortgage Broker
Latest Bank of Canada Survey:
As COVID-19 continues to be pushed down in Canada, consumer spending is expected to go up. The latest survey by the Bank of Canada suggests that will lead to an even greater demand for homes.
The Bank of Canada’s Survey of Consumer Expectations… indicates:
- 40% of respondents managed to save more money than usual during the pandemic.
- They expect to spend about 35% of those savings over the next 2 years on activities that have been restricted during the pandemic, such as dining out.
- Respondents plan to put 10% of their savings toward debt repayment and
- 10% toward a down payment on a home.
14% plan to buy a home soon, much of that was driven by renters, with 20% saying they want to get into the market.
80% of the respondents who have “worked from home” expect to continue with that and there is a consistent with the shift in demand for larger properties, away from city centres.
THE ALTERNATIVE LENDING MARKET IS GROWING!
According to data compiled by CIBC World Markets (based on Statistics Canada figures), the value of loans from alternative lenders has increased by 25% this past year. In comparison, the overall growth in the mortgage market for 2014 was 4%.
As the number of alternative borrowers grows, it’s important to find a top Calgary Alberta mortgage broker that can provide customized solutions and deals with common sense lenders. We specialize in alternative lenders that have financial solutions to meet:
- Clients who don’t fit the traditional ‘A’ lending / or bank guidelines.
- Self-employed or commissioned clients with stated income.
- Salaried clients with a GDS/TDS that doesn’t meet traditional bank requirements.
- Clients with bruised credit due to extenuating circumstances.
- Clients with outstanding Canada Revenue Agency debts.
- New immigrants to Canada.
- Sophisticated residential real estate investors.
- Clients who can demonstrate a reasonable ability to make future mortgage payments.
All of our solutions are customized to fit the specific needs of the borrower—bringing them closer to their financial goals.
Call me, Mark Herman, Top Calgary Alberta mortgage broker, to talk about any of these products for your specific situation.
This is some interesting data on the housing market in Vancouver and Toronto from one of the banks we deal with.
Mark Herman; Calgary, Alberta mortgage broker
Canadian home prices really are “world class”, at least in the country’s two hottest markets.
A survey shows the price for prime residential property Toronto and Vancouver has surpassed Rome and is closing in on Paris. Vancouver is at nearly $1,400 a square foot and Toronto is a little above $1,200. (Top spot is London at more than $3,600/sq. ft.)
The survey says growing foreign investment as a key reason for the rising prices because international investors consider Canadian real estate as a safe haven.
That’s backed up by high-profile Canadian economist Sal Gautieri. He also points to domestic factors: population growth in Toronto and Vancouver (and Calgary) has outpaced the national average by about 2 to 1 over the past decade; economic prospects remain good in both cities; and low financing continues to be a key factor in pricey markets.
This is more support for central/ down town condos in Calgary supporting their prices as more people move to the core to avoid the commute.
Mark Herman, Calgary Alberta mortgage broker
Downtown living the ‘new normal,’ report says
Employers move to urban cores to attract qualified workers, retail follows.
Homeowners choosing urban living over suburbia is a key trend in Canada’s real estate market and is helping drive both retail and commercial development in city cores, according to a report. …
“Younger workers in particular — though not exclusively — continue to flock to the urban core, preferring to work where they live, rather than take on long commutes,” the report says.
Members of the millennial generation are not the only ones giving up the more generous living space of suburbia for downtown living. Baby boomers with empty nests and the generation following the millennials, which the report calls “Generation Z,” are also joining the trend …
These comments below are in addition to the report last week that said that because Toronto has:
lots of in-migration,
New to Canada migration and
no other kinds of homes being built in the inner city
they do need all of these new condos and it is not a bubble. Interesting.
Economists to condo investors: Smile!
Written by Vernon Clement Jones
Condo investors in Toronto have every reason to be keep smiling, with two separate bank reports suggesting their assets are almost certain to retain their value at the same time their cash flow gets buoyed by rental demand.
“As CMHC… mentioned, capital return for investors who bought new condominiums and decided to rent them once the construction was complete, could earn superior returns than on other investment products,” reads Laurentian Banks’ July economic outlook. “Furthermore, condominiums rents are generally 40% more expensive than apartments of same dimensions in the Toronto CMA, the most important spread in the whole country.”
RBC is also weighing in on the future of Canada’s most controversial housing market, suggesting there’s no indication condos, despite what most see as a glut of inventory, are in a bubble.
Far from it.
“Based on market activity to date,” say economists for the heftiest of Canada’s big banks, “the total number of new housing units (condos) completed by builders has not exceeded the GTA’s demographic requirements and is unlikely to do so by any significant magnitude in the next few years.”
That dual analysis effectively counters concerns that T.O.’s high-rise properties are primed to fall in value as renters find themselves spoiled for choice and investors are forced to slash prices. The naysayers are also worried that even new construction will be subjected to a major price correction and in the short-term, a phenomenon directly tied to mortgage rule changes making it harder to win financing.
That could, in fact, still happen, although not likely on the scale many analysts had predicted earlier this year, says Laurentian in its analysis.
|This is super interesting. Also remember that less than 1% of Canadians work in oil and gas, and less than 20% of Canadians make more than $85,000 a year! It shows how well Alberta is doing.
|Jason Heath Jun 30, 2012
Who is the average Canadian — financially speaking? According to the Association for Canadian Studies, our median household income is $68,560 per year. Personal incomes are lowest in Prince Edward Island at $21,620 and highest in Alberta at $36,010. We pay $11,000 per year in income tax, donate $260 to charity, contribute $2,790 to our RRSPs and carry a credit card balance of $3,462. Mortgage and household debt comes in at a total of $112,329
Our net worth per capita has continued to rise, most recently clocking in at $193,500 per capita according to Statistics Canada. Real estate gains have continued to drive the increase to our net worth, though many have suggested the Canadian market could be in for a correction — or at least a pause.
The Toronto Stock Exchange has risen 59% over the past 10 years, compared with a 3% gain for the MSCI World Index and a 4% loss for the S&P 500 (excluding dividends).
Our Canadian dollar has appreciated 47% against the U.S. dollar and 16% against the euro over the past 10 years. This has made global and U.S. stock market returns even worse in Canadian dollar terms.
Canada had a double-digit personal savings rate in the ’90s, but over the past two decades, this has dropped dramatically to the current 3.1% — one of the lowest savings rates of all OECD countries. The flipside of this coin is that our current personal debt to income has simultaneously reached an all-time high of 153%. So gains in real estate and stocks have been tempered by a corresponding increase in personal debt.
The Economist Intelligence Unit lists Canada’s government debt per person at about US$39,883 or 81.6% of GDP. This compares with the U.S. at $37,953 or 76.3%. Go figure! That said, Greece’s public debt is currently $35,874 or 141.0% and Japan is at $87,601 or 204.9%.
Canada’s federal government has been consistently posting budget surpluses of about 1% of GDP since the mid-1990s, a time when many people thought Canada was on the path to a sovereign debt crisis of its own. Quite to the contrary, Canada entered and emerged from the 2008 recession relatively unscathed. And this is the asterisk beside Canada’s 81.6% debt-to-GDP ratio when compared with the 76.3% figure for the U.S. — given our neighbours are currently spending US$1.50 for every US$1 of federal revenue. Call it a “Tale of Two Countries.”
Some people suggest the U.S. and Europe could learn something from the Canadian government debt experience of the 1990s. While many people in other Western countries are now suffering as a result of their government’s debt problems, our government is sitting pretty. Our personal debt is the one black spot for the red and white as we celebrate our country’s birthday.
Jason Heath is a fee-only Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and income tax professional for Objective Financial Partners Inc. in Toronto
Below is a commentary on the possible new rules for Canadian mortgages. Anyone looking at buying with 5% down (which is about 80% of our clients) or using a 30 year amortization (75% of our clients) should look at buying sooner than later.
Comparing New Amortization & Down Payment Rules
Government mortgage restrictions instituted from 2008-2011 have not achieved their goal, suggests Desjardins’ Senior Economist Benoit Durocher.
He wrote this on Thursday: “…The third series of [government mortgage rules] was announced nearly a year ago now, and we must conclude that the tightening introduced to date has not
slowed the market enough.
Under these conditions, it is likely, and perhaps even desirable, that the federal government will shortly announce a fourth series of measures to further limit mortgage credit.”
It almost sounds like Durocher has some inside info.
He adds: “Among other things, the government could be tempted to once again raise the minimum down payment on new loans (it went from 0% to 5% in October 2008).”
Many believe a down payment increase would have a more chilling effect on home prices than the other option being talked about: a reduction in the maximum amortization from 30 to 25 years.
The difference in impact would depend, however, on the degree of rule changes.
For example, raising the minimum down payment from 5.0% to 7.5% (a possibility that’s been discussed) would require that entry-level homebuyers come up with $8,700 more on a typical Canadian home purchase. For most, that’s not totally out of reach.
A five percentage point increase to the minimum down payment is a somewhat different story. Requiring 10% down equates to $34,780 on an average home. That’s beyond the means of a sizable minority of first-time buyers.
First-time buyers are essential to home price stability. They account for 1/2 of unit demand according to Altus Group research. While the latest data suggests that average down payments are somewhere around 30% (an estimated $104,000), first-time buyers put down far less.
That means stricter down payment rules could potentially hurt home values at the margin, if other things are held equal.
In terms of amortization, a government-imposed reduction—from 30 to 25 years—would lower a typical family’s maximum purchase price by roughly 9%. (That’s based on today’s 5-year fixed rates, normal qualification guidelines, median incomes, and average consumer debt.)
To put this in perspective, a reduction in amortization from 30 to 25 years would cut a typical buyer’s maximum possible purchase price by ~$31,000 (again, based on an average income, average debt, a 5% down payment, etc.).
Fortunately, most people don’t need a 30-year amortization to buy a home. Despite 41% of homebuyers choosing extended amortizations, the majority could have qualified with a standard 25-year mortgage. (That said, this doesn’t mean that cutting amortizations across the board is justified. Well-qualified borrowers deserve a carve-out in the rules because they utilize extended amortizations for legitimate cash-flow management purposes. But that’s a topic for another day.)
This is an article that was sent to me. It is totally technical and I love it. This is the real reason behind what are the lowest rates we have ever seen.
It also explains why the days of Prime -.95% are GONE for what looks like a long time.
In between the lines is says rates are going to go up quickly as soon as there is a sniff of recovery.
In the last few days, RBC and Scotiabank have eliminated their advertised variable-rate discounts.
They’re now promoting variable mortgages at prime + 0.10%, twenty basis points more than their previous “special offers.”
Prime + 0.10% (i.e., 3.10%) is an interesting number. A few months ago consumers thought that fat variable-rate discounts were here to stay. Variables above prime will now come as a shock to some people.
The banks are well aware of that. They know that pricing above prime impacts consumer psychology.
They could have priced at prime. Spreads are not that horrendous. But pricing above prime makes more of an impact. It makes higher-profit fixed rates more appealing and it mentally prepares consumers for potentially higher VRM premiums down the road.
That said, banks are not just arbitrarily sticking it to borrowers. Far and away, the main reason variable rates are worsening is that banks’ costs are rising.
At the moment, there are multiple factors at play:
• Higher risk premiums are compressing margins.
O We have Europe to thank for the that.
O The TED spread, a measure of interbank credit risk, just made a new 2½ year high. As volatility increases, banks have to factor that into their funding models.
O Another reflection of risk is the most recent floating rate Canada Mortgage Bond (which some lenders use to fund variable-rate mortgages). It was issued at a 15 basis point premium over the prior issue in August.
• Margin balancing is an underlying bank motive.
O Banks have publicly stated their desire to even out margins between profitable fixed rates and low-margin variables, and they’re slowly doing just that.
O Back in September, RBC Bank exec David McKay put it this way: “…Given the dislocation between fixed and variable, the very, very thin margins (of variables), we felt we needed to move prices up in our variable rate book.”
• New regulations (e.g., IFRS) have boosted the amount of capital required for mortgage lending.
O That has lowered the return on capital for mortgages, and thus influenced rates higher.
• Status Quo for prime rate doesn’t help margins.
O Lenders partly rely on deposits (that money rotting in your chequing and savings accounts) to fund VRMs.
O Demand deposit rates rise slower than prime rate. So, when prime goes up, some lenders get wider margins temporarily.
O When expectations changed three months ago to suggest that prime rate will fall or stay flat (instead of rise like expected), it was bad news for some deposit-taking lenders. That’s because they now have no spread improvement to look forward to in the near-to-medium term.
O MBABC President Geoff Parkin says that until recently, “lenders have been prepared to accept low (VRM) profit margins with the knowledge that, as the prime rate inevitably rises, so too will their profit on variable mortgages.” As it turns out, the inevitable is taking longer than the market expected.