The general consumer will be hard pressed when left to their own devices to shop on their own for their next mortgage, especially if they visit with one of the BIG banks. Typically they will talk about their most popular and profitable product, the 5 year FIXED rate mortgage. If you don’t know to ask for anything different, that is what they will recommend for you.
Working with a professional mortgage broker, the insight and value we can provide will help you not just get a mortgage, but build a personal home loan strategy to help you get farther ahead down the road, to better reflect you future needs and goals.
So here are the TOP 4 reasons why you need to look at a variable rate type mortgage product.
1) It’s always a cheaper interest rate: The current GAP between the Best in Market (BiM) fixed rate and BiM variable rate mortgage is a difference of = 0.60%— for the Average Canadian Mortgage Balance ($310K), that’s a savings of $159.57 that you don’t have to pay to the BANK for interest each month. Over the full 5 year term, you have saved over $9.5K in interest – should nothing change in the prime rate (breaks down to just $29.70/month for every $100K borrowed).
2) It’s always a better monthly P+I repayment distribution which helps YOU pay down your mortgage loan balance quicker, and in effect, again pay less interest to the banks.
So – which product’s monthly payment do YOU want to pay for principal? 59.32% of the lower payment’s monthly amount to principal or 51.15% of the higher payment’s monthly amount to principal?
3) More flexible contract terms, and cheaper to get out of if you need to. To break this type of mortgage contract the penalty calculations are SIMPLE– just 3 months interest calculated on the balance remaining, for the term remaining.
The average Canadian will do something with their contracts after the 3 yr mark so if you owed $281K after 36months of this contract, then your penalty to break about $1,500.
Whereas the FIXED is a very complicated math equation, with fine print, and potential claw backs on the discounts given up from. In the opening contractual terms, you agreed to pay them the full interest of $38,612. After 36 months, you may have paid the majority of that to them, but they will want the rest to full term – it is this calculation that can be quite severe.
YOU can always do a SWITCH into the remaining term fixed as well, should you wish to take that route – with additional costs. Most VRMs are portable, meaning if you don’t need any new money for your next purchase. You can take that existing contract with you to your new property.
4) Banks are NOT going to increase your VRM payment severely…. MYTH— you will have a legal contract term outlining the math equations associated with the Bank of Canada overnight prime lending rate. Most banks have a similar prime. Right now, (as of the last announcement BoC announcement on September 19, 2015) prime is 2.50% and holding…. most internal bank prime rates are now 2.70%. The discount associated with their prime is what they are in control of for the mortgage variable rate offering… BUT once you sign your five year contract that math equation WILL NOT change in the term. The only thing that MAY change is the Federal Government’s Regulated BoC Prime lending rate, and that is capped to a max of a quarter of a point (0.25%) as to not trigger a negative effect in the larger economy. A 0.25% increase (or decrease as we have seen twice this year) for every $100K borrowed is just a change of $12.24/month, which is manageable. Most lenders take up to 90 days to do the administration to change your interest portion of your monthly payment, which gives you enough time to speak with your mortgage agent to help decide if you want to SWITCH to a fixed. (no costs to do that)
Since 2005, the Bank of Canada Rate hasn’t changed much. Back then, it was 2.50%, and lenders had same as their internal prime rate. The Federal Government promised to keep rates low, and from June 2007 to July 2009, they froze that rate to a ZERO increase. We have only seen two increases since then, bringing the prime up to 3.00%, and on December 2010, the Feds again froze the rate, which resulted in NO adjustments until January 2015, when they opted to DECREASE the rate by 0.25%, down to 2.75 and again a second decrease in July 2015 to where we are now. The September 19 announcement has said they will keep rates at a zero increase for some time to come.
Knowing it’s an election year, it’s not likely that the politicians are going to mess around with people’s money — they want their votes… and frankly after the election, whoever the new minister will be…. will take some time to get up to speed in their new duties of that portfolio… so don’t expect much change for the next year. This was reiterated by Dominion Lending Centres’ Chief Economist, Dr. Sherry Cooper, at our most recent conference.
Conclusion: Overall effect of using the variable rate contract is this:
More flexible product, with a lower monthly expected payment; better redistribution of that payment to principal, resulting in a lower end balance to renegotiate in five years time (should nothing happen to the Prime in that term) AND if you want to be conservative, and have a set payment for your household budget then… why not use the lower VRM product and make the FIXED payment.
EVERY additional dollar you put down per month – is now all principal – reducing our overall loan, and now reducing the overall interested they CAN charge you in term.
… or… better yet… why not set that monthly payment difference aside into a TSFA account, and once a year, make a decision to either invest it, or pay down your mortgage balance, or do both.
Working with Dominion Lending Centres is not just about shopping for the BEST rate… it’s understanding the variety of products that are offered, and how best they can assist you in your own goals.