fixed mortgage

Mortgage Rates Are Up....Already!

There has been lots of talk about interest rates not moving up for the next year or two.  But mortgage rates are up already! There are two types of mortgage products: fixed rate and variable rate.  Variable mortgages are based off prime rate which is set by Bank of Canada's benchmark rate, whereas fixed mortgages are based off bond yields.  As per the Bank of Canada's most recent announcement, the benchmark mark rate remained unchanged which effectively left all variable mortgages, HELOCs and unsecured lines of credit unchanged. However, the bond market has experienced a sharp increase in yields which pushed fixed mortgage rates higher.

Variable Mortgage Rates

Bank of Canada's benchmark rate is a tool to control inflation around the 2% level.  As inflation creeps up, the Bank of Canada increases its benchmark rate to slow down spending due to the higher costs of borrowing. On the other hand, when the economy contracts (recession), the Bank of Canada reduces its benchmark rate to stimulate spending and economic growth.  Currently, Canada is in a stable inflationary period, therefore the prime rate has not changed for a few years and should remain close to the 3% level in the near future.

Fixed Mortgage Rates

You might be wondering, why did fixed mortgage rates move while prime rate did not?

The bond market movements are influenced by good or bad economic news. Good economic news result in money moving from the bond market, which offers low returns since it is considered a secure investment, into the stock market for higher returns.  For the bond market to be attractive for investors, yields increase. As yields increase, fixed mortgage rates increase.  Good economic news such as job creation, GDP growth, improved housing numbers result in upward pressure on bond yields and fixed interest rates.  The US economy has been showing signs of improvement which caused the recent increase in fixed mortgage rates.

There you have it, now you know why fixed mortgage rates have increased and variable mortgages have not.

With the recent 5 year mortgage rates increase, the difference between 5 year and 10 year fixed mortgages is at an all time low, is it time to rethink the 10 year fixed mortgage strategy?

 Buying A Home? Home Buyers Videos Guide - Nawar Naji Toronto Mortgage Broker

Bank Of Canada Rate Announcement

As expected, the Bank of Canada rate left its benchmark rate unchanged at 1% on December 4, 2012. Here are 2 things you need to know from the Bank of Canada rate announcement:

Global Economy

US economy grew gradually but is held back by the looming fiscal cliff which could push it back into a recession dragging Canada with it. China's economy is soft landing which is a good thing for Canada's resource economy (oil & minerals) whereas Europe is in recession. The global economic situation is negative which puts less pressure on increasing interest rates in the near future.

Canada's Economy

Canada's economy grew below expectations in the third quarter, housing market is cooling and household credit has slowed. The Canadian dollar continues to be strong and inflation is as expected. These indicators point to a slowing economy and the lack of need to raise interest rates in the near future.

The surprising statement was:"Over time, some modest withdrawal of monetary policy stimulus will likely be required". Based on the current economic situation around the world and Canada, there doesn't seem to be any requirement to increase interest rates, if anything, additional stimulus might be required.

For now, enjoy the variable mortgages and take advantage of the decreasing fixed mortgage rates.

To discuss your mortgage financing needs, whether you are buying a home, an investment property or renewing your mortgage, please contact me.

Stop Paying The Bank Interest

Numbers Tell The Truth!

There is never a dull moment in the Canadian mortgage landscape with new rules introduced by the Minister of Finance and OSFI, Office of Superintendent of Financial Institutions.  I want to state upfront that I support these changes with the exception of reducing secured lines of credit (HELOCs) from 80% to 65% of home values.  Canada's housing market has been very hot since the credit crunch of late 2008 and the house prices to income ratio gap has grown significantly due to stimulus low mortgage rates. I want to clarify what families will be facing in 2016, 2017 and beyond.  Today's 5 year fixed rates are in the low 3's (3.09%-3.19%) which are fantastic.  However, the extended period of low interest rates will be followed by periods of high interest rates due to the following:

  • Focus will turn from stimulus in the global economy to combating inflation due to excessive stimulus (money printing and quantitative easing) since 2008
  • Cost of borrowing will increase due the European credit crisis which will only intensify as Italy & Spain (3rd & 4th largest economies in Europe) deal with their debt issues. As you recall, in late 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed, money (capital) disappeared from the market, creating a supply issue and variable mortgages went from primes less 0.75% to prime plus 1% in a short period of time

I want to share the following numbers to help you see where I am going:

Family household income (pre-tax): $100,000 Income tax bracket: 45% Mortgage amount: $400,000 Interest rate: 3.09% Mortgage amortization: 30 years Monthly payment: $1912 Renewal Rate in 2017: 5.5% (an increase of 2-2.5% over 5 years is very reasonable based on historical data and the above stated issues) Mortgage payment at renewal: $2103 (increase of $416 per month)

Some would assume taking on an additional $416 per month in 5 years is doable.  Let's dissect a little further:

In order to absorb $416 of additional mortgage payment, the family's pre-tax income has to increase by $9,000.  That might sound reasonable , however, it's equivalent to getting 2.5% raise every year for the next 5 years.  The economy is not in the greatest condition: not many companies are hiring, some are cutting back and the reality is keeping a job nowadays is great news. Furthermore, the increased cost of living (property taxes as municipalities deal with their debt and deficit issues, gasoline which affects goods prices, higher hydro rates....) will eat away into a family's affordability. I didn't mention that children cost more as they grow up!

This blog post is a reality check.  We have been drunk for too long on cheap money.  Plan for the long term and understand how future events should play into your decisions today.  This is a golden opportunity to consider long term mortgages such as a 10 year fixed.

To get more information please visit:

Whether you agree or disagree with me, I would love to hear from you.

Is It Time To For 10 Year Mortgages?

As a mortgage professional who enjoys numerical analyses and economic discussions, I have had numerous conversations with financial planners, colleagues and clients of mine regarding the direction of interest rates in the future. What's happening in Europe? What if Greece pulls out of the Euro zone? Impact of US dollar on Canadian dollar? Inflation? Mr. Carney and Mr. Flaherty warnings regarding increased household debt?

The above video captures the compelling argument that now more then ever is a golden opportunity to lock into a 10 year fixed mortgage.

I really hope that as many people as possible see this post. I think there is a small window of opportunity since rates may rise at anytime.  Please share this post via social media. Afterall knowledge is power and making decisions based on data is powerful.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss your questions or comments regarding the 10 year mortgage.

Download Sample Report

Do US Elections Impact Canadian Mortgage Rates?

Over the last month or so, I have heard some mortgage brokers promoting the 4 year fixed rates to their clients since it coincides with the US presidential cycle based on the argument that in US election years, mortgage rates remain low for the incumbent President to be re-elected.  As a mortgage broker who is driven by data and facts, I had to do some research to justify these statements. Before we dive into data, let's understand what drives mortgage rates:

  • Fixed rates are driven by the bond market which moves up and down based on economic news. Good news drive the bond yields higher, therefore increasing rates and vice versa; bad economic news drive the bond yields lower therefore reducing fixed mortgage rates.
  • Variable mortgages are driven by prime rate which is set by the Bank of Canada (independent of government) and the discounts on prime are driven by liquidity and credit risk factors. In good times, variable mortgages were at prime-0.8%, during the financial meltdown of late 2008, variable mortgages were at prime+1%
Based on the above 2 points I don't see how US elections can drive the bond market or influence the decisions of the Bank of Canada.  The only connecting factor is the Bank of Canada benchmark rate has to remain relatively close to the US Federal Reserve benchmark rate.  If Canada's benchmark rate was much higher, the Canadian dollar would rise in value negatively affecting exports and would dampen the economy.

Let's look at the numbers.  Over the last 25 years, fixed rates on US re-election years: 2012, 2004, 1996 and 1988 the fixed rates based on the chart do not show a dip in these specific years.  The data shows that interest rates have been decreasing over the last 25 years.
Finally, when someone makes a statement, always ask for data to back up their claim. It's easy to make generic statements.
To discuss your mortgage situation and to make decisions based on data and facts, please contact me.










How To Beat 2.99% 5 Year Mortgage Rate

Bank of Montreal's 2 week promotion of 2.99% 5 year fixed rate has initiated a flood of emails from lenders lowering their interest rates on various mortgage terms.  Yes, the gloves are off since we are back from the holidays and the real estate market is active again. Can this rate be beat?  The answer is yes if one looks at a longer term.  Here is a scenario I ran for clients today based on a $250,000 mortgage:

Option 1: 10 year fixed 3.89% amortized over 30 years.

Option 2: 2.99% 5 year fixed amortized over 25 years, renew at normal interest environment of 5.75% for 5 years (click here for historical chart).

For both options, the monthly payments are set exactly the same over the 10 year period.  Here is a screen print of the comparison chart:


  • Option 1 home equity after 10 years: $75,706  (10 year fixed results in additional equity)
  • Option 2 home equity after 10 years: $69,576
  • Payment shock with option 2: $310 per month when renewing from 2.99% to 5.75%
  • With inflation hedge mortgage strategy, additional equity would be obtained with option 1

In conclusion,  mortgage rate is important, however looking at the long term picture and minimizing the cost of homeownership is key.

To discuss how you can be mortgage free sooner, please contact me.

Turn Down The Noise And Take Action

A new year is upon us and we are hearing the same things: "Real estate is overvalued by 10%, 25%...", "We are due for a correction".... I agree that real estate prices, and I'll only speak for Toronto since this is where I live and conduct my business, have appreciated over the last few years, however, one can't generalize since real estate is very local.  As per my previous posts "2 Factors That Can Affect Your Home Value", interest rates spike or unemployment spike are the 2 factors that can derail real estate prices. The other factor, is some major global disaster such as a country defaulting on its debt, would affect everyone and everywhere.There is lots of information on TV, radio, newspaper and on the internet. It can be overwhelming and paralyzing.

I am a firm believer in putting a plan together and taking action.  Since it's early in the year, it's a great time to put a financial plan (when you want to be mortgage free or think about buying an investment property to create long term wealth or topping up your RRSPs or consolidating debt to improve cash flow) then take action.  It's best to look back at year end and be grateful for taking action this year as opposed to wishing had done something 12 months earlier.

Please feel free to contact me to discuss your personal mortgage and financial goals.

How I Ended Up With 2% Equity In My Home!

Over the last few years, real estate prices have appreciated considerably where some first time home buyers have had a hard time qualifying for a mortgage.  Nevertheless, some are able to scramble the minimum 5% downpayment (or have some of the downpayment gifted by a family member) to start their journey of home ownership.

When buying a home with 5% downpayment, the mortgage has to be insured per Government requirement.  The insurance premium is 2.75% (for 25 year amortization) or 2.95% (for 30 year amortization) which equates to the homeowner having 2.25% to 2.05% equity in their home at the day of closing.  In the first few years of homeownership, the majority of the mortgage payment pays for the interest portion and minimal mortgage principal is paid down.  It's important to keep in mind that if one is planning to move in 5 years (outgrow the 1 bedroom condo), once the costs (realtor fees, legal fees, downpayment requirement for new home & closing costs) are taken into account, the seller might find themselves to be short of funds which will mean they have to stay for a longer period of time in their current home.

It's important to have a plan to paydown the mortgage principal which fits a person's long term goals. Afterall, getting a mortgage, setting the payment and forgetting about it is not a sound approach to financial freedom.

To discuss your personal mortgage financing needs, please contact me.

2 Factors That Can Affect Your Home Value

The second factor that can affect your home value is jobs creation or an unemployment spike. Cities or towns that are reliant on one major industry are exposed to large swings in real estate values.
For example cities such as Windsor and Oshawa are reliant on the automotive industry. Since the automotive industry downturn, many jobs that support the auto industry have been lost as well (tool & die, transportation, manufacturing companies, sub suppliers...). As unemployment numbers rise, the supply demand pendulum swings towards more people selling their homes and/or less having the appetite to buy homes since there is a lack of job security which lowers real estate values.  This has been evident in Windsor over the last few years which continues to struggle in creating jobs.

Keep in mind the next time you are looking for a home or an investment property in a city, to take a look at job creation activities such as companies relocating or expanding, infrastructure investment or a city that is diversified in multiple industies. Afterall, having all the city's eggs in one basket is risky!

To discuss your personal mortgage needs, please contact me.

2 Factors That Can Affect Your Home Value

Toronto and GTA's real estate values have increased significantly over the last 10 years.  The prices continue to increase as the global economy struggles to emerge out of the slowdown since late 2008.  There are 2 factors that can negatively affect the housing market in Toronto, GTA as well as Canada: Interest rate and/or unemployment spike.

1/ Interest Rate Spike

For the last 3 years, Canadian homeownerns and real estate investors have enjoyed historically low interest rates which have resulted in record sales and prices.  Interest rates have remained low to stimulate consumer spending and promote GDP growth.  As Canadians reach record debt levels (approximately $1.50 of debt to $1 earned), Canadians are running out of steam for further debt accumulation. Many Canadians have fixed mortgages in the 3.3%-3.8% and variable mortgages at the prime minus level.

In order to save the global economy from a depression, governments around the world took on aggressive stimulus (printing money) since late 2008 which will result in high inflation sometime in the future.  As inflation becomes the primary objective of governments, interest rates will have to rise to control and moderate inflation.  Canada is already experiencing high inflation numbers, however the Bank of Canada is choosing to keep its benchmark rate low due to the uncertainty originating out of Europe.

A spike in interest rates would effect Canadians since mortgages will renew at higher interest rates and unsecured loans would cost more.  Based on August 2011 data, the affordability index in Toronto for 2 storey homes and bungalows is at 61.4% and 51.9% respectively ( If one assumes that an income earner is taxed at 40%, it means that in order to buy a 2 storey or bungalow in Toronto, 2 incomes are required. Condos are a more affordable option in Toronto at 34.2%.

A spike in interest rates which diminish the ability of many to qualify for a mortgage especially insured since qualification is based on posted rates.  Demand would therefore be reduced since less buyers can qualify for a mortgage.

The main point to take away from this post is to have a plan regarding mortgage/debt paydown and plan to renew ones mortgage at a 6% level.  For more information, click here.

My next post will discuss unemployment spike.

What's Happening To Variable Mortgages?

What Was That Lender's Name Again?

Mortgage brokers promote dealing with 20 or more lenders.  However, many homeowners only recognize the big 6 banks they have seen on street corners.  So who are these other lenders that brokers promote? In Canada, approximately 25% of homeowners use the services of a mortgage broker.  These lenders are Canadian owned and operated, but choose to fund their mortgages through the broker channel to cut overhead costs on "brick and mortar".  Afterall, having full-time salaried employees with benefits cost money, not to mention the costs of operating a bank branch.  Due to the reduction of expenses for the "non-bank" lenders, they tend to pass on the savings to borrowers through lower rates.

What are The Risks of Dealing With Non-Bank Lenders?

There is a mis-conception, especially after the financial credit crunch in late 2008, that borrowers will lose their homes if the mortgage is funded by a non-bank lender.  This is absolutely not true.  The risk is assumed by the lender since they are the ones giving out their money with the understanding the borrower will repay the mortgage on time.  Also, keep in mind these lenders function under the Canadian Government rules and laws.

Why Should I Choose a Non-Bank Lender Over A Bank?

You don't have to.  A non-bank lender is an option that is presented by your mortgage professional to consider.  Other important factors to consider when choosing a lender are:

  • How is the mortgage penalty calculated?
  • If I decide to lock in, do I get the posted or discounted rate (typically 1.5% difference)?
  • What features are built into the mortgage (pre-payment, increased payment, portable, assumable...)?
  • What are the fine print terms that I should be aware of?
  • Who & how will my mortgage be managed? Afterall, getting a mortgage is one thing but working with someone who will oversee the mortgage and optimize it to reduce overall interest is another skill (click here for inflation hedge mortgage strategy)

Bottom line, if you pay your mortgage on time no on will take your home away!  This is Canada afterall.

To discuss your personal mortgage financing situation, please contact me.