Variable rates are still good

In a time characterized by widespread economic turmoil across the US and Europe, there was a certain comfort to be taken in the mundanity of the Bank of Canada’s (BoC) report today. As almost unanimously predicted, the BoC left overnight rates unchanged at 1%, meaning the prime rate stays pegged at 3% and the variable rate mortgage holders of Canada continue to prosper. However, there were some nods towards a rate increase approaching on the horizon.  The quote of the day being the warning that monetary stimulus “will be withdrawn”, a statement whose severity is underscored by the omission of the word “eventually”, which was mentioned at the BoC’s May 31st meeting.

However, it is our contention that we are unlikely to see rate increases at the next meeting, in September. A far more likely target would be December at earliest or, more likely, early next year. This prediction comes with a backdrop of increasing pessimism concerning the US. It is our belief that the US policies for growth, characterized by strict austerity measures, could see the US plummet into an economic purgatory from which it may find it hard to escape. This would restrain the BoC from making any substantial rate hikes and, while an increase in rate is almost certainly just around the corner, a series of hikes may not be sustainable. When you add this to the increasing likelihood of Greece’s loan default and now the potential inclusion of Italy into the economic abyss, the case for dramatic rate hikes only erodes further.

While the Bank of Canada will likely act to stem core inflation, which it has highlighted as “slightly firmer than anticipated”, the prevailing consensus remains that this is being driven by “temporary factors”. The bottom line is that we think the 40% of Canadian home owners who are now in variable mortgages can rest assured that they’ve made the right option. Obviously if you’re not comfortable with the inherent risk associated with variable mortgages there’s always the fixed option and it’s rare to see fixed rates so low, so it’s a nice option to have. 

If you should have any questions on anything you’ve read here or are interested in perhaps switching to a variable rate mortgage and would like some of our sound, unbiased mortgage advice then we suggest you give us a call today at 403-681-4376.

The case for using a broker has never been stronger, with more and more Canadians beginning to realize that savings associated with utilizing the services of a broker. We’ve included a link to this Bank of Canada report  outlining the savings on “search costs” which brokers provide. They demonstrated that “over the full sample the average impact of a mortgage broker is to reduce rates by 17.5 basis points.”  For all those mathematically limited soles like me, that means $1,670 of interest savings on a typical $200,000 mortgage over five years. Don’t be one of those people who let the comforts of a familiar bank name dissuade you from making the savings available to you. Call Mark Herman today!