prime rate

US Government Shutdown & Variable Mortgages

Interest RateAnother self inflicted US crisis is underway; the US Government has shutdown as of October 1, 2013 and overnight 800,000 Americans have lost their jobs.  To put this in perspective, imagine the whole population of Mississauga and Oakville being unemployed overnight!

Canada's Prime Rate Impact

How does this chaos affect Canada's mortgage rates?

  • US Federal Reserve is committed to its bond buying stimulus program till unemployment is at 6.5%.  Currently, unemployment in the US is at 7.3% and with 800,000 Americans losing their jobs and the ripple effect of small businesses that do business with the US Government, the unemployment rate will increase if the shutdown is prolonged hence would force the US Federal Reserve to maintain its stimulus program and ultra low benchmark rate (prime rate)
  • Bank of Canada's second in command, Tiff Macklem, said this week the Bank of Canada is lowering its outlook for Canadian GDP for this year and 2014
  • August's core inflation was at 1.3%, well below Bank of Canada's target of 2%
  • Bank of Canada's benchmark rate cannot deviate far off US Federal Reserve benchmark rate since it would result in a higher Canadian dollar which negatively affects exports, i.e, bad for the economy

With the prospect of the benchmark rate (prime rate) holding steady for one to two years, the case for variable mortgages is stronger today.  There are two catches however:

  1. Applicant has to qualify based on the posted 5 year rate, which is at 5.34% today.
  2. If US Government defaults mid October, we all remember what happened in 2008 when the financial market seized and costs of borrowing spiked since no one was willing to lend money (supply of money disappeared overnight), cost of borrowing would increase.

If you are looking for professional mortgage advice based on facts, numbers and detailed analysis, please contact Nawar.

Buying A Home E-Book

Variable Mortgage Holders Celebrate!

The US Federal Reserve announced on September 13, 2012 that it will embark on a third round of stimulus (QE3) to improve the employment numbers in the US.  What does this announcement have to do with Canadian mortgage rates? Mr. Carney, the governor of the Bank of Canada, has to keep the benchmark rate which sets prime rate relatively close the US Federal Reserve benchmark rate, otherwise the Canadian dollar would appreciate and have downward pressure on Canadian exports due to the higher cost of Canadian goods.  This would be bad for the Canadian economy and force the Bank of Canada to hold its benchmark rate at or close to its current level to late 2015 along with its US counterpart.

If you are variable mortgage holder who has a prime minus mortgage, this announcement is great news since prime would probably not move dramatically in the next while.  However, the risk is as central bankers "print" money to stimulate the economy, inflation will become an issue sometime in the future.  The message here is to take advantage of your current variable mortgage but plan and prepare for the future.

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