Category Archives: Blog

High Housing Costs Hurting Canadians

A letter from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities cites the high cost of housing as the most urgent financial issue facing Canadians today.  “Housing costs and, as the Bank of Canada notes, household debt, are undermining Canadians personal financial security, while putting our national economy at risk,” quotes the document addressed to Stephen Harper. The letter was put forth by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, who represent over 90% of … Read More

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Fixed Mortgage Rate Forecast – September 2013

The mortgage rate roller coaster continues as bond yields dip 20 basis point last week.  This dip comes as a result of the US Fed’s announcement that it will continue to support its bond buying program known as quantative easing.  The announcement surprised and rallied markets reversing upward march of bond yields. Lower bond yields remove upward pressure on mortgage rates and will eventually allow competitive lenders to lower their … Read More

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Variable Mortgage Rate Forecast

Variable mortgage rates are expected to remain at their current levels well into 2014.  Variable mortgage rates are tied directly to the banks’ prime lending rates which are in turn tied directly to the overnight rate set by the Bank of Canada. The Bank of Canada, in September’s scheduled announcement proclaimed that it has decided to maintain the target for the overnight rate at its current level of 1%.  It … Read More

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Mortgage Rates Stabilize

Ben Bernanke and the US Federal Reserve (Fed) shocked markets this week with the announcement that it will continue with it’s bond buy-back program.  This program, known as quantative easing or QE, is designed to keep bonds liquid and to force down yields or borrowing rates for bond issuers.  The net effect of lower bond yields is lower long term mortgage rates in Canada. Earlier this summer Mr. Bernanke hinted … Read More

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How Much Mortgage Debt is Too Much Debt?

The Canadian government is concerned about our level of consumer debt, including mortgage debt, and so are most Canadians.  When surveyed however, the vast majority of Canadians feel comfortable with their own level of debt.  The question remains, how much debt is too much debt. The yardstick our Department of Finance has been using is the ratio of debt to disposable annual income.  Let’s look at that at the household … Read More

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Consumer Debt Levels Hit Record in Second Quarter

According to Statistics Canada, the ratio of household debt to disposable income increased to a record high of 163.4% in the second quarter.  The latest figure represents a 1.3% increase from a first quarter level of 162.1%.  Red flags over consumer indebtedness have been the main driver behind our governments mortgage rule tightening efforts over the past 4 years.  Four years ago this debt benchmark was hovering around the 155% … Read More

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Maxed Out and Ready to Refinance

The average non-mortgage debt held by Canadians has climbed by 3.47% to $27,131 over last year.  One reason behind the increase is the new mortgage rule limiting the amount you can refinance.  Canadians who have maintained their spending patterns can no longer use the equity in their house to wipe the slate clean.  Instead they are left with a mountain of high interest debt. While the new rule makes sense … Read More

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BMO Bumps 5 Year Mortgage Rate

Bank of Montreal (BMO) has bumped their “no frills” 5 year fixed mortgage rate by 20 bps to 3.79% effective today.  The move demonstrates the roller-coaster ride clients can expect if they choose the “no frills” option.  Less than a year ago, BMO made headlines by promoting this product at 2.99%.  The move was so bold that it warranted a phone call from the Department of Finance who was concerned … Read More

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Fixed Mortgage Rate Forecast – August 2013

Fixed mortgage rates are primed for a .25% to .50% increase over the next couple of months.  The Department of Finance’s policy change restricting the amount of MBS mortgages that Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp (CMHC) will insure is to blame. Without the ability to insure and then securitize as many mortgage assets, Canada’s mortgage lenders will have to resort to more expensive sources of capital to fund Canadian mortgages.  … Read More

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Flaherty Fights Growing Housing Market

July’s strong market results just may have been the latest tipping point for Ottawa and the Department of Finance (DOF).  A new government initiative to slow housing growth is restrictions on cost effective funding sources.  Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has already notified banks and other mortgage lenders that it’s putting a $350 million monthly cap on the amount of Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS) that each lender can issue.  Although … Read More

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