Spring into Action – Refinance Your Mortgage

General Travis Berthiaume 24 Mar

We sprung forward last earlier this month by changing our clocks one hour ahead. For some, their microwave and oven clocks are once again displaying the correct time since the last time we needed to adjust our clocks (in the Fall). Patience is a virtue – except for when it comes time to refinance a mortgage!

The Spring is a busy time for mortgage brokers across the country. We welcome this change in season knowing that we are in the best position to give families mortgages that make sense for them.

This is the time of year that banks begin to send out their mortgage renewal notices. Some people will simply sign the documentation sent over from their bank and take on a new mortgage at the rate the bank has suggested. However, this may not be the best rate for which you and your family can qualify.

What is a Mortgage Renewal?

A mortgage renewal is when the current terms of your mortgage come to an end and you sign on for a new mortgage term.

The time is now to spring into action, up to three months ahead of your mortgage renewal deadline. By shopping around for the best mortgage rate for your financial circumstances, you may save yourself thousands of dollars. To do that, you may want to consider working with a seasoned professional – your local mortgage broker.

The benefits of working with a mortgage broker to help find a mortgage solution that works best for you are three-fold.

A mortgage broker gives you a second opinion.

While your current mortgage lender claims to have your best interest at heart, getting a second opinion on your financial situation does not hurt. There may be new options and products available for you that your current lender is forgetting or unable to offer. A second opinion on your changed financials may be able to save you money or highlight some new options that may be better suited to your needs.

A mortgage broker does the work for you, at no cost. Some people are still concerned that hiring a seasoned professional to look at your finances and find new mortgage rates will cost a lot of money. This is a myth! Mortgage brokers provide their services at no charge (yes, free!) and take a fee from the lending institution, not the client. So, let us look around for the best mortgage rates available to you on your behalf – all at no cost to you.

A mortgage broker does ONE credit check but can check MULTIPLE lenders without lowering your credit score.
One of the biggest advantages to having a mortgage broker shop around on your behalf is having them conduct one credit check and then using that information to shop around among several different lenders. If you wanted to shop around on your own, you would have to allow each institution to run a credit check and, as a result, lower your credit score. Working with a lender also means a lot less paperwork for you, too!

In short, a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker does the legwork on finding the best mortgage rate for you, at no cost and with only one credit check.

Be sure to spring into action this Spring to and get a jump on your mortgage renewal process. – Max Omar

Travis Berthiaume,

Your Licensed Mortgage Broker with DLC Modern Mortgage Group

If you have a renewal coming up and live in Canada (with the exception of Quebec) be sure to get in touch.

Email: travis@modernmortgagegroup.ca
Tel: 250-415-5362

History of Mortgage Changes

General Travis Berthiaume 22 Mar

The mortgage industry seems to be ever-changing. What was applicable one day seems to no longer apply to the next and at times, it can be confusing to navigate through what all of these changes mean–and how they impact you directly. As Mortgage Brokers, we firmly do believe that although the industry has gone through MANY changes over the years, each time our clients are able to overcome them by practicing the same sound advice–which we will reveal at the end! But first, a walk through of the mortgage changes over the past few years and how the industry has changed:

LOOKING BACK

Before 2008

During this time, lending and mortgages policies were much more lenient! There was 100% financing available, 40-year amortizations, cash back mortgages, 95% refinancing, 5% down payment required for rental properties, and qualifications for FIXED terms under 5 years and VARIABLE mortgages at discounted contract rate. There was also NO LIMIT for your GROSS DEBT SERVICING (GDS) if your credit was strong enough. Relaxed lending guidelines when debt servicing secured and unsecured lines of credits and heating costs for non-subject and subject properties.

July 2008

We saw the elimination of 100% financing, the decrease of amortizations from 40-35 years and the introduction of minimum required credit scores, which all took place during this time period. It was also the time in which the Total Debt Servicing (TDS) could only be maxed to 45%.

April 2010

This time period saw Variable Rate Mortgages having to be qualified at the 5-year Bank of Canada’s posted rate along with 1-4 year Fixed Term Mortgages qualified at the same. There was also the introduction of a minimum of 20% down vs. 5% on investment properties and an introduction of new guidelines on looking at rental income, property taxes and heat.

March 2011

The 35-year Amortization dropped to 30 years for conventional mortgages, refinancing dropped to 85% from 90% and the elimination of mortgage insurance on secured lines of credit.

July 2012

30-year amortizations dropped again to 25 years for High Ratio Mortgages (less than 20% down). Refinancing also dropped down this time to 80% from 85%. Tougher guidelines within stated income mortgage products making financing for the Business for Self more challenging and the disappearance of true equity lending. Perhaps the three biggest changes of this time were:

● Ban mortgage insurance on any million dollar homes
○ 20% min requirement for down payment
● Elimination of cash back mortgages
○ Federal guidelines Min; requirement of 5% down
● Introduction to FLEX DOWN mortgage products

February 2014

Increase in default insurance premiums.

Februrary 2016

Minimum down payment rules changed to:
● Up to $500,000 – 5%
● Up to $1 million – 5% for the first $500,000 and 10% up to $1 million
● $1 million and greater requires 20% down (no mortgage insurance available)

Exemption for BC Property Transfer Tax on NEW BUILDS regardless if one was a 1st time home buyer with a purchase price of $750,000 or less.

July 2016

Still fresh in our minds, the introduction of the foreign tax stating that an ADDITIONAL 15% Property Transfer Tax is applied for all non residents or corporations that are not incorporated in Canada purchasing property in British Columbia.

October 17, 2016: Stress testing

INSURED mortgages with less than 20% down Have to qualify at Bank of Canada 5 year posted rate.

November 30, 2016: Monoline Lenders

Portfolio Insured mortgages (monoline lenders) greater than 20% have new conditions with regulations requiring qualification at the Bank of Canada 5 year posted rate, maximum amortization of 25 years, max purchase price of $1 million and must be owner-occupied.

AND HERE WE ARE NOW…

January 2018: OSFI ANNOUNCES STRESS TESTING FOR ALL MORTGAGES + NO MORE BUNDLING AND MORE RESTRICTIONS

•If your mortgage is uninsured (greater than 20% down payment) you will now need to qualify at the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the contractual mortgage rate +2%

•Lenders will be required to enhance their LTV (loan to value) limits so that they will be responsive to risk. This means LTV’s will need to change as the housing market and economic environment change.

•Restrictions will be placed on lending arrangements that are designed to circumvent LTV limits. This means bundled mortgages will no longer be permitted.

*A bundled mortgage is when you have a primary mortgage and pair it with a second loan from an alternative lender. It is typically done when the borrower is unable to have the required down payment to meet a specific LTV.

BOTTOM LINE: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

As you can see, the industry has always been one that has changed, shifted and altered based on the economy and what is currently going on in Canada. However, with the new changes that have come into effect this year, we recognize that many are concerned about the financial implications the 2018 changes may have.

The one piece of advice that we promised you at the start of this blog, and one that has helped all our clients get through these changes is this: work with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker!

We cannot emphasis the importance of this enough. We have up to date, industry knowledge, access to all of the top lenders and we are free to use! We guarantee to not only get you the sharpest rate, but also the right product for your mortgage. -Geoff Lee

Travis Berthiaume,

Your Licensed Mortgage Broker with DLC Modern Mortgage Group

If you have a renewal coming up and live in Canada (with the exception of Quebec) be sure to get in touch.

Email: travis@modernmortgagegroup.ca
Tel: 250-415-5362

3 Ways To Keep Your Credit Score Healthy

Mortgage Tips Travis Berthiaume 19 Mar

If you haven’t seen your credit score, you’re not alone.

Many of my clients don’t know about their credit score or even know what it is when I first meet with them. During our initial consultation, I go over your complete credit report with you. As an added bonus, I’ll even teach you how to read it.

So, how can you make sure you have a great credit score? Here are a few tips to get you started.

You need to have credit. It may be surprising – but your credit score goes up as more credit is available to you. We recommend at least two facilities: a credit card and a line of credit (or 2 credit cards).

You also have to pay your bills when they are due. That goes for your internet, cell phone and even parking tickets.
It also helps to start as soon as possible. The longer you have a clean record of paying your credit card, loans or other credit facilities, the better your credit becomes.

Finally, make sure to carry a low balance. One of the least known ways to hurt your credit is to have high utilization.

Don’t ever hesitate to contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional about your mortgage related needs when you’re buying a property anywhere in Canada. -Eitan Pinsky

Travis Berthiaume,

Your Licensed Mortgage Broker with DLC Modern Mortgage Group

If you have a renewal coming up and live in Canada (with the exception of Quebec) be sure to get in touch.

Email: travis@modernmortgagegroup.ca
Tel: 250-415-5362

Where Are Canadian Mortgage Rates Going in 2018?

General Travis Berthiaume 14 Mar

2017 was a year of change for the Canadian Mortgage Market, with the announcement of the B-20 guideline changes requiring all insured or uninsured mortgages to undergo stress testing. In addition, the removal of mortgage bundling and the continued rate rises from the Bank of Canada have led to significant changes in mortgage rates.

This raises the question: what does 2018 hold? While we cannot be 100% certain, based on predictions and summarizing stats from various corporations, we are able to put together a strong prediction of what 2018 will hold.

The Real Estate Market

As a whole, the Canadian real estate market is expected to see a 5.3% drop in national sales due in large part to the new OSFI guidelines (CREA). With this, there is an expectation of minimal growth for home prices at just 1.9% vs. the 8.5% gain seen in 2017. This is due again to the heightened stress testing procedures.

In addition, the sales of condos and townhomes are expected to increase with new developments of multifamily complexes reaching an all-time high, and the demand for smaller, more affordable houses increasing.

So, what does that mean for home prices? CMHC predicts that the average home price is to increase from a range of $493,900-$511,300 in 2017 to a range of $499,400-$524,500 by 2019.

Essentially, the market is going through a period of increased demand for condos and townhomes, leading to potential price increases. In relation to the detached home market, there will be slight price increases, but nothing compared to the growth that was seen in 2016-2017. There is an ongoing trend for homebuyers based in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley to contentedly sit by the sidelines as they save up for a larger down payment before purchasing-further increasing condo ownership and driving demand for rental properties as well.

The Economy

The Canadian Economy has been growing and surging forward through most of 2017. In the four quarters from the second half of 2016 to the first half of 2017, the Canadian Economy grew on average each quarter by 3.6%. Further, despite a slight slowdown in the second half of 2017, there was a rise in employment Canada wide, posting the annual real GDP growth over 3% in 2017. It was a substantial year for the Canadian economy in 2017 and this growth was directly seen in the real estate and housing market.

As many are aware, to stabilize the economy and ensure balance remains, the Bank of Canada began raising interest rates in 2017 and has plans to continue to do so in 2018. This rise in interest rates serves to steadily and slowly stunt the growth of the economy in Canada. Coupled with the ongoing trade disputes, the Canadian economy is forecasted to slow overall, but will still post an above-trend 2.2% of growth in 2018.

The Mortgage Market

So, what does all of the above mean for the mortgage industry and its rates? Well, with the predicted increase in rates from the Bank of Canada it is safe to say that the mortgage rates will follow. CMHC summarized that the expected interest rate increase over the near-term horizon will bump the posted 5-year mortgage rate to lie within 4.9% and 5.7% in 2018. For 2019 that number increases to 5.2%-6.2% range*

In layman’s terms, the rates are likely to continue to rise alongside the Bank of Canada’s increases. It is important to keep in mind that with planning and budgeting these rates can easily be taken on by the average consumer. A key thing to keep in mind is that a 0.25% rate increase works out to only $13.00/100k increase in your payment. Another fact is that every lender is different in how they will calculate this change. Your mortgage product is unique and may be affected differently than another.

Since the new changes have rolled out there has been a slight decline in consumer demand. As the changes continue to take effect and the potential for more rate increases continues, it becomes more apparent we will continue to see a shift in the mortgage and real estate market.

However, by choosing to work with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker you are guaranteed to work with someone who has an in-depth understanding of both the changes and the market. They will work alongside you to find the best possible solution to get you the sharpest rate. -Geoff Lee

Travis Berthiaume,

Your Licensed Mortgage Broker with DLC Modern Mortgage Group

Email: travis@modernmortgagegroup.ca
Tel: 250-415-5362

 

What Are Accelerated Payments?

Mortgage Tips Travis Berthiaume 9 Mar

An accelerated payment is a mortgage payment that is increased slightly so that you can pay off your mortgage faster. There are two common types of accelerated payments: bi-weekly and weekly. Of the two, bi-weekly is the much more common choice because it matches with pay dates more often.

An accelerated payment works by increasing your weekly or bi-weekly payment by an amount that would have you pay one full month’s payment extra per year.

Accelerated payments are a great way to start paying off your mortgage, but they actually do not have much of an impact on the interest you will pay. Banks and mortgage professionals use this term to make borrowers think they are paying off their mortgage faster, but the amount of interest saved over the course of your term is minescule.

There’s nothing wrong with accelerated payments, but they are only part of the puzzle. Please contact a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional to learn more.

Illustration:
If your payment is $1,000 per month, you pay 12 months per year, which will equal $12,000 of payments that year.

Now, if you pay semi-monthly, or every half month, you pay $500 per payment, for a total of $12,000 per year at 24 payments.

Bi-weekly payments are 26 payments per year with $461.50 per payment.

However, accelerated bi-weekly payments use the semi-monthly payments of $500, 26 times. This means that you end up paying $13,000 over the course of the year, or one extra monthly payment.

The Bare Bones

If all you do is an accelerated payment, your mortgage payoff is stunted compared to what is available. Across Canada, due to the fact that mortgage sizes are now very high, paying off a mortgage should be more of a priority. -Eitan Pinsky

Travis Berthiaume,

Your Licensed Mortgage Broker with DLC Modern Mortgage Group

If you have a renewal coming up and live in Canada (with the exception of Quebec) be sure to get in touch.

Email: travis@modernmortgagegroup.ca
Tel: 250-415-5362

 

What You Need to Know Before You Renew Your Mortgage

General Travis Berthiaume 9 Mar

What you need to know before you renew your mortgage could save you thousands of dollars. Is your mortgage on your home or other properties maturing in 2018?

Typically you will receive your mortgage renewal notice from your current lender 3-4 months in advance of the renewal date. Sometimes you may receive an offer for early renewal. Either way, always reach out to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker to find out your options and what you need to know before your renew your mortgage.

With the new mortgage rules in effect in October/November 2016 and subsequent changes January 1st 2018 it is more important than ever to know your options before you sign a renewal.

Did you know…?

If your current mortgage is funded before October 2016, regardless if you were a high ratio borrower or conventional borrower, the old rules for qualifying still apply.

-If you want to renew your mortgage at best rates you can transfer that mortgage to another lender without qualifying under the new rules
-If you have any fees for transferring the mortgage they may be covered
-Lenders are currently offering high renewal rates as they know 65%+ of borrowers will simply sign without doing any homework
-Lenders are currently offering lower rates only after clients decline their first offer. Doesn’t seem fair does it?
-Mortgage brokers have access to lots of great renewal programs from the banks, mortgage companies and credit unions.

Be informed before your mortgage renewal. Consult with an independent mortgage broker to review your financing needs for all of your properties and to set a plan well in advance of any mortgage renewal. If you are looking to make any large purchases such as investments, real estate, an automobile— know your options and the impact of these purchases on your financial situation. – Pauline Tonkin

Travis Berthiaume,

Your Licensed Mortgage Broker with DLC Modern Mortgage Group

If you have a renewal coming up and live in Canada (with the exception of Quebec) be sure to get in touch.

Email: travis@modernmortgagegroup.ca
Tel: 250-415-5362

Time For a Mortgage Renewal? Don’t Just Sign the Letter!

Mortgage Tips Travis Berthiaume 7 Mar

Is your mortgage coming up for renewal this year?

There is a good chance that you or someone know has a mortgage coming due. Some 47% of Canadians, almost one out of every two households, that currently have financing in place will mature within the next 12 months with a major lender in Canada.

Here are a couple simple rules to follow if you, a friend, a family member or colleague are renewing your mortgage this year.

  1. DO NOT just simply sign the renewal letter that comes in the mail.
  2. INVESTIGATE your options.

70% of all mortgagors simply sign the renewal letter that comes in the mail. You would think that because you have been with the current lender for so long that you would receive the BEST rate out there. NEWS FLASH, that is 100% false!

Remember, lenders are in business of making money for their shareholders. Your current lender has done their homework, you should do yours. They know that most of the borrowers will sign and send back the form for ease and convenience. We are lazy by nature and we possess too much trust. As finance consumers, there are scenarios I’ve seen where we are leaving 20-40 (0.20% – 0.40%) basis points on the table.

I recently read an article online that indicated the average mortgage amount in the Metro Vancouver area was $438,716 for 2016. Let’s round that amount to $450,000 for ease of calculation. For every 0.25% difference the mortgage payment increases (or decreases) $13 per every $100,000 extended. If your current lender offered you a rate 0.25% higher than another lender then this scenario would yield an annual increase of $936. Are you able to invest 4-5 hours of your time to save that kind of money? Heck ya you can! That is $187.20 – $234 per hour.

Renewing with your existing lender may or may not be your only option. When 47% of you out there receive the renewal letter in the mail this year, I have 936 reasons why I would strongly advise you to reach out to a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage specialist to discuss ALL your options – switching lenders to save money and/or leveraging equity for financial planning purposes.

Here is an example of how I just re-financed my home to access my equity. We were able to obtain a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) mortgage product from a major Canadian charter bank.

-Current residence appraised at $1.15MM.
-Current mortgage balance, $445,000.
-Maximum loan limit, $920,000 (80% of market value: 1,150,000 x 80%).
-Opted to secure the current balance into a variable rate mortgage
-The equity of $475,000 was set-up access from a line of credit .

These clients now have access to funds for any future needs: renos, emergency, investment opportunities, post-secondary education for their children.

But while a HELOC allows for product diversification and long-term planning, it is not for everyone. It can be a bad idea if it’s just used as access to easy cash. One needs to possess high self-discipline, as the funds are extremely accessible. A HELOC is also not available to all homeowners as there must be greater than 20% equity in the home before a lender will consider it.

With 13 modifications to the lending policies since 2006 the time to plan is now. If I were to attempt the same re-financing maneuver today to leverage equity I would qualify for 20% less ($95,000) or $380,000. This would be one less rental property added to the portfolio. Before anymore changes happen, you should consider accessing your money today.

Travis Berthiaume,

Your Licensed Mortgage Broker with DLC Modern Mortgage Group

If you have a renewal coming up and live in Canada (with the exception of Quebec) be sure to get in touch.

Email: travis@modernmortgagegroup.ca
Tel: 250-415-5362

Tips for Your Variable Rate Mortgage That Could Save You Thousands

Mortgage Tips Travis Berthiaume 5 Mar

With changes to mortgage rules and interest rates on the rise here are some tips for your variable rate mortgage that could save you thousands.

Since 2009 the prime lending rate has shifted from a high of 6% down to 2% range remaining fairly level for the past few years before rising to a present day level of 3.45%. During that time, lenders have offered consumers high discount variable mortgage as low as 1.2% when rates were at their lowest, to current rates of 2.45 (depending on the lender and if the mortgage is insured or not).

Historically the choice of a variable rate mortgage over a fixed term has allowed borrowers to save in interest costs.

I always recommend if my clients can qualify and it makes sense for their specific situation to choose variable only if they will take full advantage of the lower rate. By setting their payment to the equivalent of the 5 year fixed rate at the time, the difference in payment goes directly to principal pay down.

Every 10% increase in payment shaves three years off the amortization of a five-year term so every bit extra matters and can make a difference.

If your mortgage is maturing in the next 90-180 days, it is time to talk to your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage professional for tips for your variable rate mortgage that could save you thousands.

You may feel the pressure to lock in to a fixed rate after the recent increases in the prime lending rate. For some this may be an option. However, I have the same advice every time someone asks me this question: It depends on your situation and we need to do a review. Take the extra time to review the current rate, remaining term of the mortgage, the new offer, how that will impact payments and your plans for staying in your home, moving and/or if this is an investment property.

For example Amy and Jake have a current balance of $300,000 on their mortgage with a variable rate at Prime minus .80% (2.65%). Current payments set at $703 bi-weekly. The mortgage matures in 24 months but they are considering to lock in for a new five-year term offered at 3.34%. New payments would be $739. They love their condo but not sure if they will stay or move in two years or not.

After a review of their mortgage we offer a second option. Keep the remaining variable rate mortgage in place for the remaining two years. Set payments at 3.34% or $739 bi-weekly.

They decide on this second option because:

In 24 months the savings on interest is $4,000 and their outstanding balance is $4,000 less than by staying in the fixed rate
They won’t be locked into a mortgage for another five years
If they choose to sell before the maturity date, the penalty on a variable mortgage is only three months interest
In two years they can either choose to stay with the same lender or move to another lender without penalty
With this strategy they don’t have to feel pressured into locking in today and they can continue to take advantage of the lower variable rate.

So if you are in a variable rate mortgage and not sure what to do. Remember my tips for your variable rate mortgage that could save you thousands. – Pauline Tonkin

Travis Berthiaume,

Your Licensed Mortgage Broker with DLC Modern Mortgage Group

If you have a renewal coming up and live in Canada (with the exception of Quebec) be sure to get in touch.

Email: travis@modernmortgagegroup.ca
Tel: 250-415-5362

4 Signs You’re Ready for Home Ownership

Mortgage Tips Travis Berthiaume 5 Mar

While most people know the main things they need to buy a home, such as stable employment and enough money for a down payment, there are a few other factors that may help you realize you’re ready, perhaps even earlier than you thought!

As a mortgage broker, it is my job to ensure that each one of my clients is getting the best service I can provide. Part of this means educating as much as possible when it comes to buying a home, which is why I’ve put together a list of 4 signs that may tell you that you are ready to become a homeowner.

You should have more funds available than the minimum of a down payment: This one may seem obvious, but it’s something that people may not realize until they actually think about it. It’s very difficult to afford a home if you only have enough money for a down payment and then find yourself scrambling for day-to-day living after that.

If you have enough money saved up (more than the minimum needed for a down payment), you may be ready to start house-hunting.

Your credit score is good: This might seem obvious at first glance, however, if you don’t have a good credit score, chances increase that you could be declined altogether or stuck with a higher interest rate and thus end up paying higher mortgage payments. If you have a less-than-optimal credit score, working with a mortgage professional can help you get on the right track in the shortest time possible. Sometimes a few subtle changes can bump a credit score from “meh” to “yahoo” in a few short months.

Breaking the bank isn’t in your future plans: Do you plan on buying two new vehicles in the next two years? Are you thinking of starting a family? Are you considering going back to school?

Although you may think you can afford to purchase a home right now, it’s extremely important to think about one, two, and five years down the road. If you know that you aren’t planning on incurring big expenses that you need to factor into your budget anytime soon, then that’s something that may help you decide to buy a home.

You are disciplined: It’s easy to say, “it’s a home, I’m going to have it for a long time so I may as well go all-in!”. While that would be nice, that’s rarely the case!

You must have a limit that you’re willing to spend. Sitting down with a mortgage broker or real estate agent and analyzing your finances is crucial. It’s important that you know costs associated with buying a home and what the maximum amount is that you can afford without experiencing financial struggles. IMPORTANT: This is not the amount that you are told is your max!

This is the amount that you calculate as your max based on your current monthly budget and savings plan. It’s quite frequent where I have clients tell me that their max budget is, say, $1200 and then when I run the numbers they could actually be approved for much more. Low and behold suddenly these guys are looking at homes that are hundreds of dollars a month higher than their initial perceived budget. It is up to you (with my help or pleading, when necessary) to reel things back in and make sure that you aren’t getting into something that affects the long-term livelihood of a well thought out budget or savings plan.

Conclusion: These are just four signs that you may be ready to purchase a home. If you’re seriously considering buying or selling, talking with a Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker, such as myself, can help put you on the right path to a successful real estate transaction.

Travis Berthiaume,

Your Licensed Mortgage Broker with DLC Modern Mortgage Group

Email: travis@modernmortgagegroup.ca
Tel: 250-415-5362

Fixed Versus Variable Interest Rates

Mortgage Tips Travis Berthiaume 5 Mar

Fixed Interest Rates

This is usually the more popular choice for clients when it comes to deciding on which type of interest rate they want. There are many reasons why, but the most unsurprising answer is always safety. With a fixed interest rate, you know exactly what you are paying every month and you know that the amount of interest being charged for the term of your mortgage will not increase and it will not decrease. Fixed interest rates can be taken on 1-year, 2-year, 3-year, 5-year, as well as 7 and 10-year terms. Please note, term is not meant to be confused with amortization. When you have a 5-year term but a 25-year amortization- the term is when your mortgage is up for renewal, but it will still take you the 25 years to pay off the entire debt. The biggest knock on fixed interest rates when it comes to mortgages, especially 5-year terms, is the potential penalty. If you want to break your mortgage and pay it out, switch lenders, take advantage of a lower rate, or anything like this and your term is not over, there will be a penalty. With a 5-year term, a fixed rate penalty can be anywhere from $1,000- $20,000 or more. It all depends on the lender’s current rates, what yours currently is, the length of time remaining on your term, and the balance outstanding. The formula used is called an IRD (interest rate differential) and the penalty owed will either be the amount this formula produces or three month’s interest- which ever is greater. Fixed interest rates, especially 5-year terms can be the most favourable. They are safe, competitive interest rates that you will not need to worry about changing for the term of your mortgage. However, if you do not have your mortgage for the entire term, it could hurt you.

Variable Rate Interest

The Bank of Canada sets what they call a target overnight rate and that interest rate influences the prime rate a lender offers consumers. A variable rate, is either the lender’s prime lending rate plus or minus another number. For example, let us say someone has a variable interest rate of prime minus 0.70. If their lender’s prime lending rate is 5.00% in this example, they have an effective interest rate of 4.30%. However, if for example the prime rate changed to 6.00%, the same person’s interest rate would now be 5.30%. Written on a mortgage, these interest rates would look like P-0.7. Variable interest rates are usually only available on 5-year terms with some lenders offering the possibility of taking a 3-year variable interest rate. When it comes to penalties, variable interest rates are almost always calculated using 3-months interest, NOT the IRD formula used to calculate the penalty on a fixed term mortgage. This ends up being significantly less expensive as breaking a 5-year term mortgage at a fixed rate of 3.49% with a balance of $500,000 will cost approximately $15,000. That is if you use the current progression of interest rates and broke it at the beginning of year 3. A variable interest rate of Prime Minus 0.5% with prime rate at 3.45% will only cost $3,800. That is a difference of $11,200. You can expect to pay this kind of amount for the safety of a fixed rate mortgage over 5-years if you break it early.

Which one is best?

It completely depends on the person. Your loan’s term (length of time before it either expires or is up for renewal) can be anywhere from a year to 5 years, or longer. A first-time home buyer typically has a mortgage term of 5 years. Within those 5 years, the prime rate could move up or down, but you won’t know by how much or when until it happens. Recently, variable rates have been lower than fixed rates, however, they run the risk of changing. With fixed interest rates, you know exactly what your payments will be and what it will cost you every month regardless of a lender’s prime rate changing. If you go to the site www.tradingeconomics.com/canada/bank-lending-rate you can see the 10-year history of lender’s prime lending rate. Because lenders usually change their prime lending rate together to match one another (except for TD), this graph is a good representation. As you can see, from 2008 to 2018, the interest rate has dropped from 5.75% to 2.25% all the way back up to 3.45%. Canada has had this prime lending rate since 1960, and in that time it has seen an all-time high of 22.75% (1981) and all-time low of 2.25% (2010). Whether you want the risk of variable or the stability of a fixed rate is up to you, but allow this information to be the basis of your decision based on your own personal needs. – Ryan Oake

Questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out!

Travis Berthiaume,

Your Licensed Mortgage Broker with DLC Modern Mortgage Group

If you have a renewal coming up and live in Canada (with the exception of Quebec) be sure to get in touch.

Email: travis@modernmortgagegroup.ca
Tel: 250-415-5362

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