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What are 3-year fixed mortgage rates?
How much can I save comparing 3-year fixed rates?
Why compare 3-year fixed rates with Ratehub.ca?
Why are fixed rates different to variable rates?
Are 3-year mortgages better than other mortgage terms?
Jamie David, Business Director Mortgages
Three-year mortgage terms are not very common in Canada, but they do make sense under certain circumstances. Here's what you need to know to decide whether a 3-year mortgage is right for you.
What is a 3-year fixed-rate mortgage?
A 3-year fixed-rate mortgage will have a constant rate of interest over a term of three years. The term should not be confused with the amortization period, which is the length of time it takes to pay off your mortgage. The term, rather, is the period you are committed to the contractual provisions and mortgage rate with your lender.
3-year fixed mortgage rates: Quick facts
- 20% of Canadians have mortgage terms between 2 and 4 years (Source: CAAMP)
- 74% of Canadians have fixed mortgage rates (Source: Statistics Canada)
- 3-year fixed mortgage rates closely follow 3-year government bond yields
Comparing 3-year fixed mortgage rates
There are a number of factors supporting the choice of a short-term rate like the 3-year fixed mortgage rate. For one, if you believe you are in a falling interest rate environment, where rates will stay stagnant or fall, shorter terms can be a good choice. Instead of being locked into a rate for five or more years, you can take advantage of low rates when your mortgage is up for renewal. Conversely, if you are in a rising interest rate environment, the opposite is true.
Short terms are also sensible if you are likely to break your mortgage within a few years – if you are thinking about renovating or selling your home, for example. Going with a 3-year term over a 5-year term could save you a considerable amount of money in penalty costs.
3-year fixed vs. longer-term mortgage rates
3-year fixed rates are typically slightly lower than rates on longer terms (like 5 or 10 years) and higher than rates on short terms, like 1-year rates. This is because longer fixed-rate terms lock in a lower rate for a longer period of time. That might be great for you, but it puts the risk of a rate rise onto your lender. The higher rate is, therefore, a premium for locking in a lower rate for longer.
These relationships aren't always constant, however, especially in very low or high rate environments. You should always decide which term is best for you based on the current market and your present circumstances.
3-year mortgage rates vs. other term lengths (graph)
From 2006 - 2020
Historical 3-year fixed mortgage rates
Looking at mortgage rates over time is the best way to understand which mortgage terms attract lower rates. They also make it easier to understand whether rates are currently higher or lower than they have been in the past.
Here are the lowest 3-year fixed rates in Canada for the last several years, compared to several other types of mortgage rates.
Source: Ratehub Historical Rate Chart
The popularity of 3-year fixed mortgage rates
Around 20% of Canadians have a mortgage term between two and four years, with this figure slightly higher for younger age groups. As is typical with younger demographics, the tolerance for risk is likely higher, with a reduced urgency to lock in rates for longer periods of time.
For comparison, 5-year terms are the most common duration, with 66% of mortgages. 8% of mortgages have terms exceeding five years, while 6% of mortgages are on one-year terms.
Fixed rates are also more common than variable rates, representing 74% of total mortgages. In terms of age dispersion, fixed-rate mortgages are slightly more common for the youngest age groups, and older age groups are more likely to choose variable-rate mortgages.
What drives changes in 3-year fixed mortgage rates?
Fixed mortgage rates follow government bond yields, with 3-year fixed rates following 3-year government bond yields. Bond yields are driven by economic conditions, and the spread between bond yields and lender-posted mortgage rates vary by a lender's marketing strategy and general credit market conditions.
Jamie David is the Business Director of Mortgages at Ratehub.ca. A graduate of the Systems Design Engineering program at the University of Waterloo, she has over 15 years of business, marketing, and engineering experience in the financial technology, banking, education, energy and retail industries. She has worked in top organizations like TD Bank, Trading Pursuits, Petro-Canada, and the TTC. Her passion for personal finance, investing, education, and business strategy brought her to Ratehub.ca where she heads a very talented, cross-functional team that is dedicated to providing Canadians with the best mortgage experience all the way through from online search to (keys-in-your-hand) funded mortgage.read linkedin bio
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