UGH! The BoC whacks borrowers again.
Mark Herman, Top Calgary Alberta Mortgage Broker
Yesterday, the Bank of Canada increased its overnight interest rate to 5.00% (+0.25% from June) because of the “accumulation of evidence” that excess demand and elevated core inflation are both proving more persistent and after taking into account its “revised outlook for economic activity and inflation.”
This decision was not unexpected by analysts but is disconcerting – as is the Bank’s pledge to continue its policy of quantitative tightening.
To understand today’s decision and the Bank’s current thinking on inflation, interest rates and the economy, we highlight its latest observations below:
Inflation facts and outlook
- In Canada, Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation eased to 3.4% in May, a “substantial and welcome drop from its peak of 8.1% last summer”
- While CPI inflation has come down largely as expected so far this year, the downward momentum has come more from lower energy prices, and less from an easing of “underlying inflation”
- With the large price increases of last year removed from the annual data, there will be less near-term “downward momentum” in CPI inflation
- Moreover, with three-month rates of core inflation running around 3.5% to 4% since last September, “underlying price pressures appear to be more persistent than anticipated”, an outcome that is reinforced by the Bank’s business surveys, which found businesses are “still increasing their prices more frequently than normal”
- Global inflation is easing, with lower energy prices and a decline in goods price inflation; however, robust demand and tight labour markets are causing persistent inflationary pressures in services
Canadian housing and economic performance
- Canada’s economy has been stronger than expected, with more momentum in demand
- Consumption growth was “surprisingly strong” at 5.8% in the first quarter
- While the Bank expects consumer spending to slow in response to the cumulative increase in interest rates, recent retail trade and other data suggest more persistent excess demand in the economy
- The housing market has seen some pickup
- New construction and real estate listings are lagging demand, which is adding pressure to prices
- In the labour market, there are signs of more availability of workers, but conditions remain tight, and wage growth has been around 4-5%
- Strong population growth from immigration is adding both demand and supply to the economy: newcomers are helping to ease the shortage of workers while also boosting consumer spending and adding to demand for housing
Global economic performance and outlook
- Economic growth has been stronger than expected, especially in the United States, where consumer and business spending has been “surprisingly” resilient
- After a surge in early 2023, China’s economic growth is softening, with slowing exports and ongoing weakness in its property sector
- Growth in the euro area is effectively stalled: while the service sector continues to grow, manufacturing is contracting
- Global financial conditions have tightened, with bond yields up in North America and Europe as major central banks signal further interest rate increases may be needed to combat inflation
- The Bank’s July Monetary Policy Report projects the global economy will grow by “around 2.8% this year and 2.4% in 2024, followed by 2.7% growth in 2025”
Summary and Outlook
As higher interest rates continue to work their way through the economy, the BoC expects economic growth to slow, averaging around 1% through the second half of 2023 and the first half of next year. This implies real GDP growth of 1.8% in 2023 and 1.2% in 2024. The Canadian economy will then move into “modest excess supply” early next year before growth picks up to 2.4% in 2025.
In its July Monetary Policy Report, the Bank noted that CPI inflation is forecast to “hover” around 3% for the next year before gradually declining to 2% in the middle of 2025. This is a slower return to target than was forecast in its January and April projections. As a result, the Bank’s Governing Council remains concerned that progress towards its 2% inflation target “could stall, jeopardizing the return to price stability.”
In terms of what Canadians can expect in the near term, the Bank had this to say: “Quantitative tightening is complementing the restrictive stance of monetary policy and normalizing the Bank’s balance sheet. Governing Council will continue to assess the dynamics of core inflation and the outlook for CPI inflation. In particular, we will be evaluating whether the evolution of excess demand, inflation expectations, wage growth and corporate pricing behaviour are consistent with achieving the 2% inflation target. The Bank remains resolute in its commitment to restoring price stability for Canadians.”
September 6th, 2023 is the Bank’s next scheduled policy rate announcement. Will there be 1x more increase?
Today, the Bank of Canada increased its overnight benchmark interest rate 25 basis point to 4.50% from 4.25% in December. This is the eighth time since March 2022 that the Bank has tightened money supply to address inflation.
While the headline increase will certainly make news, it is the Bank’s accompanying commentary on its future moves that will capture the most attention. We summarize the Bank’s observations below, including its forward-looking comments on the potential for future rate increases.
- Inflation has declined from 8.1% in June to 6.3% in December, reflecting lower gasoline prices and, more recently, moderating prices for durable goods
- Despite this progress, Canadians are still “feeling the hardship” of high inflation in their essential household expenses, with persistent price increases for food and shelter
- Short-term inflation expectations remain elevated and while year-over-year measures of core inflation are still around 5%, 3-month measures have come down, suggesting that core inflation has “peaked”
Canadian economic and housing market performance
- The Bank estimates Canada’s economy grew by 3.6% in 2022, slightly stronger than was projected in the Bank’s Monetary Policy Report in October, however it projects that growth is expected to “stall through the middle of 2023,” picking up later in the year
- Canadian GDP growth of about 1% is forecast for 2023 and rising to about 2% in 2024, little changed from the Bank’s October outlook
- The economy remains in “excess demand” and the labour market remains “tight” with unemployment near historic lows and businesses reporting ongoing difficulty finding workers
- However, there is “growing evidence” that restrictive monetary policy is slowing activity especially household spending
- Consumption growth has moderated from the first half of 2022 and “housing market activity has declined substantially”
- As the effects of interest rate increases continue to work through the economy, spending on consumer services and business investment is expected to slow
- Weaker foreign demand will likely weigh on Canadian exports
- This overall slowdown in activity will allow supply to “catch up” with demand
Global economic performance and outlook
- The Bank estimates the global economy grew by about 3.5% in 2022, and will slow to about 2% in 2023 and 2.50% in 2024 — a projection that is slightly higher than the Bank’s forecast in October
- Global economic growth is slowing, although it is proving more resilient than was expected at the time of the Bank’s October Monetary Policy Report
- Global inflation remains high and broad-based although inflation is coming down in many countries, largely reflecting lower energy prices as well as improvements in global supply chains
- In the United States and Europe, economies are slowing but proving more resilient than was expected at the time of the Bank’s October Monetary Policy Report
- China’s abrupt lifting of pandemic restrictions has prompted an upward revision to the Bank’s growth forecast for China and “poses an upside risk to commodity prices”
- Russia’s war on Ukraine remains a significant source of uncertainty
- Financial conditions remain restrictive but have eased since October, and the Canadian dollar has been relatively stable against the US dollar
Taking all of these factors into account, the Bank decided today’s policy rate increase was necessary and justified.
However, the Bank also offered this important piece of news: “If economic developments evolve broadly in line with (its) outlook, Governing Council expects to hold the policy rate at its current level while it assesses the impact of the cumulative interest rate increases.”
That sounds positive, but as is customary, the Bank also noted that it is prepared to increase the policy rate further if needed to return inflation to its 2% target. It also added the usual language that it “remains resolute in its commitment to restoring price stability for Canadians.”
Although the Bank did not say it, the bottom line is Canadians will have to wait and see what comes next.
Next touch point
March 8, 2023 is the Bank’s next scheduled policy interest rate announcement and we will be on hand to provide an executive summary the same day.
Bank of Canada increased Consumer Prime to 6.45% – exactly as expected for the last 5 months. January 25th is the next BoC interest rate announcement & I hope it is a 0.25% increase and then holds there for all of 2023. We will see…
Mortgage Mark Herman, Best Calgary mortgage broker with a Master’s degree in Finance.
Today, the Bank of Canada increased its overnight benchmark interest rate 50 basis point to 4.25% from 3.75% in October. This is the 7th time this year that the Bank has addressed inflation and means the policy rate is now as high as it has been in 15 years.
We summarize the Bank’s observations below, including its forward-looking comments on the need/likelihood of future rate increases below:
- CPI inflation remained at 6.9% in October, with many of the goods and services Canadians regularly buy showing large price increases
- Measures of core inflation “remain around 5%”
- Three-month rates of change in core inflation have come down, “an early indicator that price pressures may be losing momentum”
Canadian Economic and housing market performance
- GDP growth in the third quarter was stronger than expected, and the economy continued to operate “in excess demand”
- The labor market remains “tight” with unemployment near historic lows
- While commodity exports have been strong, there is growing evidence that tighter monetary policy is restraining domestic demand: consumption moderated in the third quarter
- Housing market activity continues to decline
- Data since the October Monetary Policy Report supports the Bank’s outlook that growth will essentially stall” through the end of this year and the first half of 2023
Global inflation and economic performance
- Inflation around the world remains high and broadly based
- Global economic growth is slowing, although it is proving more resilient than was expected at the time of the Bank’s October Monetary Policy Report
- In the United States, the economy is weakening but consumption continues to be solid and the labor market remains “overheated”
- The gradual easing of global supply bottlenecks continues, although further progress could be disrupted by geopolitical events
Although the Bank’s commentary noted that price pressures that are driving high inflation may be losing momentum, it went on to say that inflation is “still too high” and that short-term “inflation expectations remain elevated.” In the Bank’s view, the longer that Canadian consumers and businesses expect inflation to be above the Bank’s 2% target, “the greater the risk that elevated inflation becomes entrenched.”
Given these economic signals, the Bank’s Governing Council stated that it “will be considering whether the policy interest rate needs to rise further to bring supply and demand back into balance and return inflation to target.”
It concluded its statement with a familiar refrain: “We are resolute in our commitment to achieving the 2% inflation target and restoring price stability for Canadians.”
Analysts and commentators will seek to interpret those outlook comments for signs that the Bank has reached or believes it is close to reaching the terminal point in its current rate-hike cycle. For now, that remains a question of debate and speculation that will turn on future economic signals.
January 25th is the next BoC interest rate announcement. I hope it is a 0.25% increase and then holds there for all of 2023. We will see…
You have likely heard – or will soon be hearing – a lot of talk about “trigger rates” and “trigger points”. More importantly, you are probably hearing “trigger point” together along with more changes in the Bank of Canada rate and you need expert guidance.
Let’s start with a few definitions:
- Variable Rate Mortgage (VRM) – prime changes, rate changes. When interest rates change, typically, your mortgage payment will stay the same.
- Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) – prime changes, rate changes. Unlike variable rate, your mortgage payment will change when interest rates change.
- Trigger Rate – When interest rates increase to the point that regular principal and interest payments no longer cover the interest charged, interest is deferred, and the principal balance (total cost) can increase until it hits the trigger point.
- Trigger Point – When the outstanding principal amount (including any deferred interest) exceeds the original principal amount. The lender will notify the customer and inform them of how much the principal amount exceeds the excess amount (Trigger Point). The client then typically has 30 days to make a lumpsum payment; increase the amount of the principal and interest payment; or convert to a fixed rate term.
NOW, WHICH MORTGAGES WILL BE AFFECTED FIRST?
Quick answer, VRMs from March 2020 to March 2022.
During the month of March 2020, the prime rate dropped three times in quick succession from 3.95% to 2.45%, and variable-rate mortgages arranged while prime was 2.45% have the lowest payments. The lower the interest rate was, the lower the trigger rate, and the faster your client may hit this negative amortization.
WHAT TO DO
When this happens, customers are contacted by the lender and generally have three ways they can proceed:
- Make a lump-sum payment against the loan amount
- Convert with a new loan at a fixed-rate term
- Increase their monthly payment amount to pay off their outstanding principal balance within their remaining original amortization period
Below is a customer scenario so you can see how this could play out.
Today, the Bank of Canada showed once again that it is seriously concerned about inflation by raising its overnight benchmark rate to 1.50% – making Consumer Prime 3.70%
Says Mortgage Mark Herman, top Calgary Alberta Mortgage Broker.
This just in data is when mortgage interest rates are expected to rise.
DATA JUST IN
Canada’s latest employment and inflation numbers have triggered new expectations about the next steps by the Bank of Canada and the arrival of interest rate increases.
BoC Governor Tiff Macklem continues to offer soothing words about inflation, which is current running at 4.1%. That is an 18 year high and more than double the central bank’s 2.0% target.
Macklem has repeatedly said high inflation is temporary; the result of low prices during the pandemic lock-downs, and supply chain problems that have cropped-up as the economy reopens.
Macklem points out that a key factor in long term inflation – wage growth – has not materialized. That is despite Canada returning to pre-pandemic employment levels with the addition of 157,000 jobs in September. It should be noted that the growth of Canada’s labour force during the pandemic means the country is still 276,000 jobs short of full employment. Last week however, Macklem did concede that this temporary inflation may linger for longer than initially expected.
Several prominent economists have weighed-in. Benjamin Tal cautions that inflation is a lagging economic indicator. He says the risks for long-term inflation are present and the Bank of Canada would be better to start raising rates earlier to help mitigate those risks. Doug Porter says there is a growing chance rate increases will come earlier. He expects they will happen quarterly rather than every six months. And, Derek Holt would like to see a rate hike by the end of the year, given that emergency levels of stimulus are in place while inflation is well above target.
Look for mortgage interest rates to start going up close to the end of 2021 and continue until they are back close to PRE-Covid Rates of about 3.35% for the 5-year fixed.
Mortgage Mark Herman, best Calgary mortgage broker for the masses!
Best answer I have seen yet is below … it still makes the 5-year fixed the better option right now (for most people)Mortgage Mark Herman, Top Calgary Mortgage Broker
The latest significant news was good, but modest. Canada’s unemployment rate dipped to 7.5% with the creation of 94,000 jobs in July. Most of those are full-time and in the private sector.
Employment levels are linked to inflation, which is a key factor watched by the Bank of Canada in setting interest rate policy which, in turn, can affect mortgage rates.
As the labour market tightens up, employers tend to offer higher wages to attract workers. That increases the cost of producing goods and services, driving inflation. As well, as more people get work and earn more money demand for goods and services increases. If that demand outpaces supply, inflation can also result.
Canada finds itself in this position now. Inflation is running high chiefly because of supply constraints caused by the pandemic. At the same time, more and more people are heading back to work.
That has some analysts forecasting the Bank of Canada will be raising rates to calm inflation. The Bank, however, has been saying otherwise.
It is also useful to watch what is happening in the United States. The two economies are tightly linked and actions in the U.S. can offer useful clues about what will happen here.
In its latest assessment of the American economy the U.S. Federal Reserve continued to down play inflation – which is running high there as well – as “transitory”. The Fed continues to look to the second half of 2023 as the most likely time for any possible rate hikes. While the Bank of Canada has said it expects rates could start rising as much as a year sooner than that, it would be unusual for the BoC to move before the Fed.
The latest in giant payout penalties, this one was $47,291.
Here is a person – one of my ACTUAL ALMOST-Customers who had to swallow a surprise at TD for $35,000. (We tried 3 times to get him to not take that mortgage.)
To make this even more mind blowing, at a 39% tax rate that is $65,700 the person has to pay … about the same as 1-year of income at a full time job, without tax taken off.
- Would you work for 1 year to give it all to your bank if you had to sell or move or close down the mortgage for any reason?
- Would you sign an agreement like that?
- Have you already signed an agreement like this without knowing you have?
EASY to AVOID …
You don’t need to add in this risk to your home purchase. It is easy to get around by taking a mortgage from a major Broker Bank.
Broker banks calculate the payouts the “old way” which was way more fair to you, the buyer. Click here for the posts about payout penalties.
Broker banks also have better Terms & Conditions than the Big-6.
“Broker Banks have better T&C than all of the Big-6. Call a mortgage broker first.”
Mortgage Mark Herman, Top Rated Calgary Mortgage Broker
The Big-6 banks love your money, not your sparkling personality.
This article is old and still shows the same calculations.
We get calls on high payout penalties all the time. The answer is broker lenders have payouts that are about 30% as much as the Big-6 banks.
Mortgage Mark Herman, top Calgary mortgage broker.