Tag Archive: fixed or variable


How to View the Bank of Canada’s More Sombre Tone

Canada’s rate-setter left its key rate untouched today while striking a less-than-cheery chord on the country’s outlook. Here’s a quick take on this morning’s Bank of Canada rate decision: Rate Announcement: No change Overnight rate: Remains at 1.75% Prime Rate: Remains at 3.95% (see Prime Rate) Market Rate Forecast: One rate cut in 2020 BoC’s Headline Quote: “…Governing Council will be watching closely to...

Friday’s Unemployment Number May Change the Game

Canada just witnessed its worst spike in unemployment since the Great Recession of 2009. An estimated 71,200 jobs were lost in November. And we all know what happens when unemployment bottoms and starts climbing. Rates usually drop. Is This Really the Bottom in Unemployment? No one knows what tomorrow will bring (until tomorrow). But here’s what we know: Economic cycles have...

Bank of Canada Stands Pat

The Bank of Canada ended 2019 where it ended 2018, with prime rate frozen at 3.95%. Here’s a summary of the Bank of Canada rate decision this morning: Rate Announcement: No change Overnight rate: Remains at 1.75% Prime Rate: Remains at 3.95% (see Prime Rate) Market Rate Forecast: One rate cut in 2020 BoC’s Headline Quote: “Future interest rate decisions will be guided by…the...

Unemployment as a Rate Indicator

People are constantly hoping to time the rate market, despite how ineffective it may be. For the brave souls who try, here’s some interesting research from the U.S. Federal Reserve. One of its economists, Claudia Sahm, has documented a pattern in unemployment data. In her Fed report, she writes, “…Comparing the three-month average [U.S.] unemployment rate to its low over the prior...

How People Choose Between Fixed & Variable Rates

As much as academics advise against it, people (consciously or subconsciously) try to predict interest rates before choosing a mortgage. But, interestingly, they don’t look very far into the future when making these forecasts. “…Households are forward-looking over relatively short periods of time,” research shows. A 2015 international study by Cristian Badarinza, John Y. Campbell and Tarun Ramadorai found that “the...

People are Locking in Variables at Lower Fixed Rates

In a normal universe, people who lock in a floating-rate mortgage lock into a fixed rate. And that fixed rate is almost always higher than their current variable rate. But this is not a normal universe. In the world we now live in, variable borrowers are actually locking into five-year fixed rates that are lower than their current rate. For...

Canada’s Fixed-Variable Mortgage Spread Dives to Multi-Decade Low

If you’ve watched mortgage rates for a long time, you know how unnatural this is. The rate on a mortgage with five full years of locked-in interest expense costs less than the rate on a non-guaranteed floating mortgage with interest risk. In fact, that difference (spread) is the lowest it’s been in decades, based on deep discount rates offered to well-qualified...

Fixed and Variable Rates are Closest Since 2016

The gap between the best 5-year fixed rates and best variable rates is the smallest its been in two and a half years. We’re talking less than 1/8th of a percentage point between them. Depending on the equity a borrower has, folks can even find 5-year fixed rates that are below the best variable rates. What’s Provoking It One reason...

Mortgage Rates Heading South Again

There’s an increasingly ominous vibe to Canada’s economic outlook, and that’s got the market taking rates down another notch. Canada’s 5-year bond yield is seven basis points lower today—to 1.63% as we write this. That’s the lowest it’s been since December 2017. All told, the 5-year yield has now sank 83 basis points since the November high. With the Bank of Canada...

The Fixed-Variable Spread Shrinks Further

A regular consideration when choosing between a fixed or variable rate is the difference between them. As of late that “fixed-variable spread,” as we jargony industry people call it, has been slowly narrowing. So far, it has mostly been a result of diminishing variable-rate discounts. Just this morning, for example, TD hiked its advertised variable rate a head-turning 20 bps....