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What are 5-year fixed mortgage rates?
How much can I save comparing 5-year fixed rates?
Why compare 5-year fixed rates with Ratehub.ca?
Why are fixed rates different from variable rates?
Are 5-year mortgages better than other mortgage terms?
Check out the best current mortgage rates
Jamie David, Business Director Mortgages
5-year fixed mortgage rates are the most popular type and term combination in Canada, so it’s usually the first place people start when researching mortgage rates. Ratehub.ca makes it easy to find the lowest 5-year fixed mortgage rates, as we bring rates from the big banks, lenders and credit unions all to one place at no cost to you.
Best 5-year fixed mortgage rates +
5-year fixed mortgage rates: Quick facts
- Mortgage rate is fixed over a 5-year term
- 60% of all mortgages closed with Ratehub.ca’s in-house brokerage, CanWise Financial, in 2020 were 5-year fixed mortgages
- 72% of Canadians had fixed mortgage rates in 2020 (Source: Mortgage Professionals Canada)
- 5-year mortgage rates are driven by 5-year government bond yields
What are some of the pros and cons of a 5-year fixed mortgage?
There are pros and cons to choosing a 5-year fixed mortgage rate, and we’ll walk you through each below. Some of the pros of a 5-year fixed mortgage are:
- Risk protection: For buyers who are risk-averse; a fixed rate mortgage enables you to “set it and forget it” - your rate, and therefore mortgage payment, is locked in and will not fluctuate with changes in bond yields. This allows you to budget with greater accuracy and offers you stability for the duration of your term. Moreover, in recent years, Canadians have enjoyed access to some of the best fixed rates available in decades, although fixed rates have started to climb again since October of 2021.
- Competitive rates: The 5-year term is historically the most popular option, and the one that lenders often encourage you to opt for. The length of this term is a good “middle of the road” choice for homebuyers. Because it’s such a competitive, popular rate term, lenders often get the most aggressive when pricing these terms.
On the flip side, there are some cons to consider as well.
- Higher rates: In order to guarantee your fixed rate, your lender will charge you a premium. According to York University Professor Moshe Milevsky’s landmark 2001 study, historically, over 90% of Canadians who have maintained a variable mortgage rate throughout their entire mortgage term have paid less in interest than those who have stuck to a fixed rate.
- Breakage penalties: While the 5-year term can offer you peace of mind, in the event that something such as a move, loss of a job, illness or divorce forces you to break your mortgage, you could be on the hook for a hefty break penalty. With a fixed mortgage rate, your penalty will be the greater of the interest rate differential (IRD) or three months’ interest. Oftentimes, the IRD penalty can be large, and thus a fixed rate mortgage can be expensive to break. If you have a variable rate mortgage, on the other hand, the penalty will always be three months’ interest, and it can therefore be less costly to break your mortgage. For a more detailed explanation of IRD and how it is calculated, you can refer to our Mortgage Refinance Calculator page. You can also use our Mortgage Penalty Calculator to estimate how much you might have to pay in the event that you have to break your mortgage.
Historical 5-year fixed mortgage rates
Looking over historical mortgage rates 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 5-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 5-year fixed mortgage rates
A 5-year mortgage term is the most popular duration. It sits right in the middle of available mortgage term lengths, between one and 10 years, and, thus, its popularity reflects a risk-neutral average. It also tends to be heavily promoted by major lenders. A further breakdown of mortgage terms shows that about 80% of mortgages have terms of five years or less.
Fixed rates are by far the most common, representing 72% of total mortgages, and nearly 80% of new and renewed mortgages in 2020. 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 5-year fixed mortgage rates?
By and large, 5-year fixed mortgage rates follow the pattern of 5-year Canada Bond Yields, plus a spread. Bond yields are driven by economic factors such as unemployment, export and inflation.
When Canada Bond Yields rise, sourcing capital to fund mortgages becomes more costly for mortgage lenders and their profit is reduced unless they raise mortgage rates. The reverse is true when market conditions are good.
In terms of the spread between the mortgage rates and the bond yields, mortgage lenders set this based on their desired market share, competition, marketing strategy and general credit market conditions.
5-year fixed rates vs. 5-year bond yields
From 2000 - 2020
Source: Ratehub Historical Rate Chart
What is the best 5-year fixed-rate mortgage for me?
Generally, a fixed rate mortgage is a good choice if you are risk-averse and don’t want to deal with the stress that could come with a variable rate if the prime rate goes up over time and your mortgage payment increases. In addition to the actual mortgage rate, you’ll want to consider some other factors when shopping around for the right 5-year fixed mortgage for you.
- Prepayment options: Take a look at what prepayment options your lender is willing to offer you. The more flexible your lender is with prepayment options, the faster you can potentially pay off your loan, which could save you thousands of dollars in interest fees. The main prepayment options are monthly prepayment and lump sum prepayment. In the case of the former, you’re allowed to increase your monthly payment up to a certain percentage determined by your lender, maxing out at 100%. If you had a lender who was flexible enough to allow you to double your monthly payments, for example, you could in theory pay your mortgage off in half the time if you were able to do so. The latter option, lump sum prepayment, allows you to pay off up to say, 25% of your mortgage loan, again, depending on your lender.
- Porting your mortgage: If you need to sell your home before the end of your mortgage term, many lenders will allow you to port your mortgage. Porting a mortgage means to take your current mortgage with its existing rates and terms and transfer it to another property, and allows you to avoid breaking your mortgage. You’ll want to talk to your lender about how portable your mortgage is, particularly if you think you may need to move before your term is up. Not all mortgages are portable, and many that are portable have conditions attached that you should be aware of.
- Your personal situation: Before committing to a 5-year mortgage, you need to think about your personal situation today and going forward. If you are likely to move, change jobs, or otherwise embark on any life changes that may affect your ability or desire to remain in the home you are purchasing, you need to take this into account when selecting the mortgage that’s right for you.
If you're still not sure about what mortgage product best suits your needs, it's a good idea to speak to a mortgage broker. Consultations are free, and you'll leave with expert advice, personalized to you.
References and Notes
- Trends in the Canadian Mortgage Market: Before and During COVID-19, Statistics Canada, 2021
- Annual state of the Residential Housing Market in Canada, Mortgage Professionals Canada, 2021
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How are CanWise Financial and Ratehub.ca connected?
Both Ratehub.ca and CanWise Financial are owned and operated by Ratehub Inc. When comparing mortgage rates on Ratehub.ca, you’ll see rates from a number of lenders and mortgage brokers, including CanWise Financial. All products are sorted according to the rates available to you and the selection criteria you’ve shared with us.
We’re happy to send users to CanWise because of their great rates, trusted advice, and experienced mortgage team. Read any of their 3,300 five-star Google and Facebook reviews and you’ll see what we mean.
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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.