20 Oct, 2023
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The Impact of Changing Interest Rates on Mortgages

Interest rates wield immense influence in the realm of mortgages, casting ripples that touch both present homeowners and potential buyers. We examined the current interest rate landscape to anticipate plausible scenarios, providing critical insights for those traversing the mortgage terrain.

Present Interest Rate Scene

Recent data suggests that the Bank of Canada (BoC) intends to uphold its policy rate at 5% or higher until at least March 2024, as indicated by a survey of 34 economists conducted in late August. This cautious approach reflects the central bank’s response to ongoing economic uncertainties.

Impact on Existing Homeowners

For homeowners with fixed-rate mortgages, the current interest rate climate offers stability. Fixed-rate mortgages lock in interest rates for the entire term, shielding borrowers from market fluctuations. This ensures predictability in monthly payments throughout the agreed-upon term.

Conversely, those with variable-rate mortgages may benefit from the BoC’s interest rate stance, enjoying lower initial rates compared to their fixed-rate counterparts. However, vigilance is vital, as variable rates may shift with changes in the central bank’s policy rate.

Implications for Prospective Homebuyers

Prospective homebuyers should view the current interest rate climate as a double-edged sword. On one hand, low mortgage rates enhance the feasibility of homeownership, attracting potential buyers. On the other hand, a fiercely competitive housing market and limited inventory may counterbalance the benefits of lower interest rates, potentially driving up property prices.

Economic Insights for Mortgage Rates

Recent trends show increased service spending, mainly due to summer leisure activities, which is expected to moderate in September. Credit usage and savings depletion remain high, but sustainability is questionable.

Supply chain improvements have led to decreased prices for commodities like copper, steel, silver, and lumber, which is deflationary. However, inflation persists in the food and travel/leisure sectors, along with rising energy costs. The full impact of 2022 interest rate hikes has yet to materialize.

The duration of high rates depends on economic resilience. Consumer spending expectations may delay rate drops, potentially even causing rate increases. A recession is expected to trigger a sustained rate drop cycle, with financial markets projecting the first Central Bank rate drop in July 2024.

What does the future hold for mortgage rates?

Mortgage rates are set to decrease, but not to pre-pandemic levels. Fixed mortgage rates are expected to normalize in the high 3% range. The primary trend is an increase in rates and bond yields in 2023, followed by a drop towards late 2023 and 2024, aligning with the Central Bank of Canada rate reduction.

Mitigating Risk and Maximizing Savings

While lower rates are not currently favourable, strategic planning can position borrowers to benefit from future rate drops. Inflation may not substantially decline until 2024, with the prime rate taking until 2026 to reach its ‘neutral rate.’ Gradual Central Bank rate drops are expected over two years.

The mortgage landscape is a nuanced interplay of economic forces. At Cashin Mortgages, we emphasize staying informed, assessing your risk tolerance, and being prepared for rate fluctuations in this dynamic environment. Your journey in the mortgage market is our priority, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way.