Mortgage Intelligence

Oshawa's Mortgage News Desk!


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Why Variable Rate drops are creating a surge in activity

This Spring we’re seeing lenders getting aggressive with their pricing for variable rate mortgages: a sign that lenders are fighting for market share, making it a great time to be shopping for a mortgage!

First a reminder of the difference between fixed vs variable.  Fixed rates are often well suited to first-time buyers or those who haven’t owned a home for long because they want to know with absolute certainty what their payment will be for a set number of years.  A variable mortgage has an interest rate that will move in conjunction with your lender’s Prime rate, which in turn tracks the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate, and will be expressed as “prime minus x percent.”  If the Bank of Canada raises or lowers its rate, then you’ll likely see that reflected in your mortgage payment.

Right now, lenders are shaving off those variable rate mortgage offers: creating some of the best rates we’ve seen in many months. Consider the advantages:

  1. Save big on interest. It’s true that your payments could go up if the Bank of Canada’s rate starts to move up. But it would have to go WAY up to wipe out the savings you’d get from some of the current deep “prime minus” variables being offered right now.
  2. Build a buffer. You can set up your payments at what they would be if you took the higher fixed rate, which helps you pay down your mortgage faster, and creates a financial buffer for you if rates rise later.
  3. Easier to get out. If your circumstances change and you need to get out of your mortgage – a situation that happens more frequently than people anticipate — you will appreciate the lower penalty to get out of a variable vs a fixed mortgage. You could save thousands!
  4. Lock in later. Most variables allow you to exercise an option to “lock in” a fixed rate at any time for the remaining portion of your mortgage term or longer.

We’ve even got clients breaking their existing mortgages to take advantage of this sudden crop of very low variable rates being offered right now.

However variable rates are not for everyone. But the possibility of big savings is out there right now, and it won’t last forever. Get in touch with the team at MiMortgage.ca at 1.866.452.1100 and we can review the numbers to see if it’s something you should be taking advantage of.

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After the rate hike, what’s next?

On July 12th, for the first time in seven years, the Bank of Canada increased the overnight rate by .25%, withdrawing some of the stimulus that was needed after the oil price collapse and 2008 financial crisis. Variable rate mortgages and lines of credit will see higher rates and modest payment increases. Fixed-rate mortgage – which are based on the bond market – had already been trending slightly upward, although if you have a fixed mortgage, you aren’t affected until it’s time to renew. Keep in mind that this is a very small increase, and we’re still in an ultra-low rate environment and an incredibly stable market. We’ve also seen increases before to only see them decrease again. But rates have risen, so here are answers to the questions we’re getting:

Should I jump into the market now?  Actually, our advice is always the same: buy when you are financially ready. Don’t jump the gun just because rates “may” go higher.  But by all means, if you’re thinking about buying, we can arrange a pre-approval so you’re protected from rate increases while you shop around.

Should I lock in my variable rate mortgage ASAP? That depends. Your new rate with the hike is probably still less than current 5-year fixed rates, and you’ll still likely pay less if there is another .25% increase. So why pay more money than you have to? Stick with your original strategy of focusing on payment vs. rate. But if it’s going to keep you awake at night – or the few extra dollars are hard to find in your budget – then let’s talk about your conversion options. Remember though, you should be confident you’ll stay in a 5-year fixed mortgage for the full term. Breaking a fixed mortgage can result in some tough penalties.

What if my mortgage is coming up for renewal? Don’t feel rushed or pressured by a renewal letter or call. Let’s discuss your options. We’ll review your renewal offer together and we’ll shop around to see if it’s really the best deal available. Got too much other debt? This may be the time to roll it into a new mortgage to boost cash flow and save on interest costs.

Should we talk? Yes for sure. You should have confidence in your mortgage plan and that’s why professional mortgage advice is so critical.  We have access to a wide range of lenders and know the right questions to ask to assess your situation and make sure you have the best mortgage strategy. Contact the team at MiMortgage.ca at 1 866 452-1100 to speak to an expert or apply online now!

 


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Thinking of refinancing your home?

Four valuable tips to ensure you get the best possible deal when refinancing

refinancing your home

Picture by Globe and Mail

Considering a refinance on your mortgage is a big step and will require lots of thinking before you go ahead. Here are a few valuable tips that you should keep in mind when considering refinancing your current mortgage:

  1. Personal and employment circumstances

It is vital that you consider your employment and personal circumstances when deciding on a rate. If you feel that you are likely to be faced with changes to your circumstances in the near future, a variable rate maybe the way forward and then you can switch to a fixed rate once your situation improves.

  1. Explore payment options

All variable rate mortgages are convertible to a fixed rate without any penalties or fees to the applicant. According to the Financial Consumer Agency  of Canada, you will also have the option of capping interest rates to ensure that the rate does not go beyond the rate agreed upon and maintain what is referred to as a “hybrid” or a “combination” where the mortgage is partially financed at a fixed and a variable rate.

  1. State your terms

You can let your mortgage broker know the duration that you would like on your mortgage – from one year up to five years.  The amortization period of your mortgage will be based upon the payment amount and the frequency (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly) of your payments.

  1. Consider a flexible payment schedule

Depending on how fast you wish to complete paying off your mortgage, you have the option of choosing how frequently – weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, you would like to make payments. The sooner you reduce your principle amount will result in lower payments on interest.

Please read the full article on Globe and Mail for more information on refinancing your mortgage.

If you are considering refinancing your existing mortgage in the New Year and would like to speak to a mortgage broker on refinancing options available to you, contact the team at mimortgage.ca today. To get pre-approved today, apply now through our secure online website or speak to one of our agents at (866) 452-1100.