Tag Archive: rate research


Fixed Wins Enough of the Time

The debate over fixed or variable rates never ends. But there are now two things that are far less debatable: 1) The Bank of Canada is telling us that prime rate has likely hit bottom, and 2) “Safer” 5-year fixed rates are now as low as “riskier” variable rates. (Safer, particularly if you choose a fair penalty lender.) Given the...

10-Year Rates Can’t Close the Gap

The difference between a lender’s cost to lend for 10 years versus five years is near an all-time low. Yet, 10-year rates remain too high to attract much interest. This chart below is one example of how competitive basic 10-year funding costs have become. It shows a long-term view of Canada Mortgage Bond (CMB) yields. Lenders use CMBs to fund insured 5-...

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...

Inflation Ringing No Alarm Bells

If you knew where inflation was headed, you’d have a great chance of knowing where mortgage rates were headed. The latter rises and falls with the former. That’s why so many people try to predict inflation. Among the many who think they know where it’s going: The 100 senior Canadian businesspeople surveyed by the Bank of Canada every quarter 2...

When a 10-Year Mortgage Term Isn’t So Bad

Special to RateSpy, By John Bordignon, Capital Markets Consultant Earlier this year, while calling for innovation in the mortgage industry, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz discussed the need for mortgages longer than five years. Longer-term mortgages, he explained, would benefit both consumers and the Canadian financial system. Based on volumes to date, Poloz’s comments moved the needle only slightly...

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...

The Power of Short Terms

Knowing the future wouldn’t help you pick the right mortgage. Unless you knew all the future. Imagine a fantasyland case where it was 100% certain that all mortgage rates would be higher in five years. With that priceless information most people would take a 2.49% five-year fixed over a 2.59% one-year fixed. But initial rates and ending rates are only two...

Foreigners Sway Canadian Mortgage Rates

Do you care if some investor in China or France dumps Canadian bonds? Many would answer, no. But when foreign demand for Canadian bonds drops, other things equal, bond prices drop. And given bonds and yields (interest rates) move inversely, and given fixed mortgages are partially funded in the bond market, when overseas demand for Canadian bonds falls, it usually...

HELOC Growth Isn’t What Everyone Thought

It turns out home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) aren’t growing as fast as previous government reports suggest. Prior regulatory filings showed HELOC balances increasingly at roughly double the pace of mortgages. Now, a new report from the Bank of Canada confirms the opposite. “The total balance of HELOCs contracted by 1% year-over-year…” in the fourth quarter of 2018, it...

Could a U.S.-China Trade Pact Send Mortgage Rates Higher?

You’ve probably seen the U.S. and China wrangling over trade in the news lately. Hanging in the balance is a major trade agreement—if they settle their differences (and they eventually will). Such an agreement would be historic. It would finally end their trade war while chipping away at America’s $419+ billion trade deficit (on goods) with China. A deal could...