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5-year variable mortgage rates in Canada

To see mortgage rates for other terms and types, click on the filters icon beside down payment percentage.

Ratehub.ca Insights: Bond yields have dipped slightly to the 3.4% range following a softer-than-expected US CPI report. Some fixed mortgage rates have decreased. Getting a pre-approval is recommended when shopping to lock in a rate for up to 120 days. Variable rates are stable.

As of:

RateProviderPayment

Canadian Lender

$2,458

Canwise

A Ratehub Company

$2,493

CMLS Financial

$2,505

Big 6 Bank

$2,529

First National

$2,529

Equitable Bank

$2,540

WATCH: June 5, 2024 Bank of Canada announcement

5-year variable rates: Frequently asked questions

What is the best 5-year variable mortgage rate in Canada?


Why did variable rates go up so much in 2022 and 2023?


Will variable mortgage rates go down in 2024?


Should I switch my variable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage if the prime rate increases?


Is it worth getting a variable-rate mortgage?


What impact do elevated variable rates have on the stress test?


What is Canadian Lender and Big 6 Bank?


5-year variable rates vs. 5-year fixed rates

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June 5, 2024 Bank of Canada announcement update

On June 5, 2024, the Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate by -0.25%, taking it from 5.00% to 4.75%. This marks the first rate cut implemented by the central bank since March 2020.

  • The Bank of Canada indicated that the continuous decline of inflation drove its decision to cut its benchmark rate. April’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) came in at 2.7%, below expectations, while “core” trim and median measures of inflation have fallen to 2.6% and 3.2%, respectively.
  • This is the announcement that Canadians with variable-rate mortgages and home equity lines of credit (HELOC) have been waiting for, as their rates and payments will finally begin to decrease.
  • Fixed mortgage rates are not tied directly to the Bank of Canada’s rate decisions, but rather to the bond market. In anticipation of a potential rate cut, however, bond yields had fallen about 30 basis points in the days leading up to the announcement. Now that the rate cut is official, we can expect lenders to begin lowering their fixed mortgage rates.
  • It will be interesting to see whether this announcement has a significant impact on the Canadian housing market, which has been lacklustre this spring. Although the cut is only 0.25%, the psychological aspect of entering a falling rate environment might be enough to incite some would-be home buyers to come off the sidelines. This, in turn, could spur others to join, lest they miss out on the best options.

May 2024: Mortgage market update

After a bumpy start to 2024 for the Canadian housing market, we are seeing preliminary indicators that sales activity will gather pace, improving as expectations grow for a rate cut from the Bank of Canada as early as the summer. Bond yields continue to be on a roller coaster ride, as a jumpy bond market reacts to various data reports from Canada, the United States, and beyond. After a brief respite in December and January where bond yields tumbled, they’ve now risen to the upper 3% range in large part due to nervous investors spooked by the US Federal Reserve’s “higher for longer” rate stance. Both fixed and variable mortgage rates are currently historically high. If you’re looking to get a mortgage rate in Canada, read on for some economic information you should know.

  • Real estate update: On May 15, 2024, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) came out with the latest housing market figures for the month of April 2024. The most recent numbers indicate that the Canadian housing market is relatively quiet in what’s normally a busy spring season. Home buyers are still largely biding their time until expected rate cuts later this year, and the 37,745 homes that changed hands across Canada represent a -1.7% decline from the previous month’s total (despite being up by 10% on an annual basis). New listings nearly doubled sales, with a total of 70,346 residential properties coming to market, which in turn caused the sales-to-new-listings ratio (SNLR) to loosen to 53.4% (down from 57.4% in March). CREA uses the SNLR to gauge competition in the marketplace, with 45-65% indicating a balanced market, with above and below that range indicating sellers’ and buyers’ markets, respectively. Still, this new supply was not enough to prevent price growth on a monthly basis - the average home price in Canada stood at $703,446 in April, up from $698,720 in March, but down by -1.8% year over year.

    Read mo
    re: National home sales fall in April as buyers stick to the sidelines

  • CPI update: The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) reading from Statistics Canada for the month of April saw headline inflation come in at 2.7%, -0.2% below the previous month’s reading, and the lowest CPI reading that we have seen since March 2021. Moreover, this marks the fourth month in a row in which Canada’s CPI has fallen within the central bank’s target range of 1 - 3%. Falling inflation can be linked in large part to declining food prices, which came in at 1.4%, down from March’s 1.9%. However, April also saw a 6.1% rise in gas prices. Nevertheless, shelter costs remain the largest contributor to inflation, with mortgage interest costs rising by 24.5% annually, and rents rising by 8.2% annually. In sum, though, this is good news for the Bank of Canada. Two of the key metrics used when tracking inflation, CPI Median and CPI Trim, fell to 2.6% and 3.2% in April, respectively. With this latest CPI report, markets are now pricing in a 50% chance that the Bank of Canada will cut its target for the overnight rate at its upcoming announcement on June 5, 2024.

Read more: Canadian CPI comes in at 2.7% in April

2024 Housing market forecast

Taking into consideration expectations of rate cuts and bottled-up buyer demand, CREA has updated its forecast for 2024 and 2025. 

The organization projects that some 492,083 residential properties will change hands in 2024, representing a 10.5% increase from 2023. Growth is predicted to be strongest in areas where demand for homes has remained consistently robust, such as Alberta. Nevertheless, even markets that have suffered from historically low sales, among them Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia, will also experience increased housing market activity. Unsurprisingly, the average home price in Canada is predicted to climb by 4.9% to $710,468 in 2024.

2025 is expected to see activity rebound even further, with a prediction that some 530,494 homes will sell by the end of the year (an annual increase of 7.8%). The average home price in Canada is projected to rise by 7% to $760,120.

Best 5-year variable mortgage rates +

5-year variable mortgage rates: Quick facts

  • Variable mortgage rates fluctuate with the prime lending rate.
  • Variable rates are typically stated as "prime plus or minus a percentage".
  • Some 5.36% of all mortgage requests made to Ratehub.ca from January - December 2023 were for 5-year variable-rate mortgages.
  • 5-year fixed mortgage rates are driven by 5-year government bond yields.
  • 23% of consumers opted for a variable-rate mortgage in 2024, down from 27% in 2023. (Source: 2024 CMHC Mortgage Consumer Survey)


Historical 5-year variable mortgage rates

Checking historical mortgage rates is a great way to properly understand which mortgage terms attract lower rates and whether rates are especially high or low at any given moment. Here are the lowest 5-year variable rates of the year 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 variable mortgage rates

Although fixed-rate mortgages are more popular, according to Mortgage Professionals Canada, 25% of Canadian mortgage-holders had variable-rate mortgages at the end of 2022, making it the second most popular type of mortgage.

Historically, fixed rates are generally more popular, however, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bank of Canada cut its target overnight lending rate in March 2020, which caused the prime rate to go down. As a result, variable-rate mortgages experienced a surge in popularity; as mentioned above, roughly 25% of all mortgages in Canada at the end of 2022 were variable-rate mortgages, in contrast to 20% in 2019. However, as variable-rate mortgages have climbed to rates significantly higher than fixed-rate mortgages in the wake of multiple Bank of Canada rate hikes over the course of 2022, their popularity has waned considerably in 2023. While some 26% of all rate inquiries to Ratehub.ca in 2022 were for 5-year variable rates, they accounted for just 5.36% of all rate requests to Ratehub in 2023. Moreover, according to the 2024 CMHC Mortgage Consumer Survey, 23% of consumers opted for a variable-rate mortgage in 2024 (down from 27% in 2023). The table below, sourced from the same survey, shows the popularity of fixed-rate mortgages in 2024 among the four main categories of people who contracted mortgages.

First-time home buyers Repeat buyers Renewers Refinancers
20% 21% 22% 28%

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.

What drives changes in 5-year variable mortgage rates?

As previously mentioned, the 5-year variable mortgage rate will fluctuate with any movements in the prime lending rate, which is the rate at which banks lend to their best and most credit-worthy customers. The variable mortgage rate is typically stated as prime plus/minus a percentage discount/premium.

Canada’s prime rate is influenced primarily by economic conditions. The Bank of Canada adjusts it depending on the state of the economy, determined by various factors in employment, manufacturing, and exports. Together, these shape the inflation rate. When inflation is high, the Bank of Canada must act to avert an over-stimulated economy. They will increase the prime rate to make the act of borrowing money more expensive.

Conversely, in cases where inflation is low, the Bank of Canada will decrease the prime rate to stimulate the economy and improve the attractiveness of borrowing. The discount/premium on the prime rate applied to the variable mortgage rate is set by the banks, based on their rate strategy and desired market share. 

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The bottom line: Should you get a 5-year variable rate?

As long as you're comfortable with risk and understand that variable rates can fluctuate throughout your term, then a 5-year variable rate is a reasonable choice. Since variable rates do have the inherent risk of rate increases, make sure you have enough money in your budget to cover a higher mortgage payment if rates increase.

If you're still not sure about what mortgage product is right for you, it's a good idea to speak to a mortgage broker. Consultations are free, and you'll leave with expert advice, personalized to you.

 

For more information, check out these helpful pages! 

Ratehub.ca education centre

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  • Refinancing

    When deciding whether or not, you should refinance your current mortgage and replace it with a new one, there are a few important things to consider.

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