Mortgage rates are on the rise, causing a bit of worry among aspiring homebuyers and current owners alike. Over the past year alone, the Bank of Canada has hiked its benchmark for the overnight rate three times: increasing it from 1% to 1.25% on January 17, to 1.5% on July 11, and to 1.75% on October 24.
As a result, the best five-year fixed rates have jumped in lockstep.
The best five-year fixed rate available at the beginning of January, for example, was 2.79%. The best rate available has increased steadily since then. It was 2.99% in April; 3.13% in September; and 3.34% at time of writing.
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This trend has some worried about housing affordability at renewal time. And there are many Canadians set to renew in 2019.
According to Ratehub.ca’s 2018 Mortgage Survey – which surveyed over 2,000 Canadians — 19% of current mortgage holders will have to renew their term next year. 82% of them currently have a fixed mortgage rate; 17% have a variable mortgage rate.
Of those homeowners set to renew next year, 31% claim they can only afford less than a $100 increase in monthly mortgage payments.
Thirty-six per cent believe their rate will be equal to or lower than their current mortgage rate. Some, though, will be forced to pay a bit more. The average discounted five-year fixed rate in 2014 was 2.81% — much lower than the current best rate of 3.34%.
Still, many are in for a discount.
The current average mortgage rate among survey respondents set for renewal next year is 3.65% for those with a fixed rate. Those currently with a variable rate may also benefit. They have an average rate of 2.89%; the best variable rate today is 2.59%.
Of those polled, 48% believe their mortgage payments will either stay the same or decrease after renewing next year.
Making a renewal plan
Of course, renewers are going to want to get the best possible rate next year. But are they doing everything they can to do so?
Most, it turns out, are.
Over ¾ of homeowners renewing in 2019 (76%) plan to shop around for the best mortgage rate at renewal. To ensure the best rate – and to minimize any headaches – owners should begin rate shopping up to 120 days before their term is up. That will give them enough time re-qualify with the new lender and have all the paperwork prepared.
Renewers should also keep in mind that their lenders will send them a renewal letter offering a new rate. While it might be lower than their current rate, it could possibly be beaten by a competing lender.
The majority of homeowners renewing in 2019 (64%) got their mortgage directly through a lender at origination. However, many seem inclined to use the services of a broker at renewal time – 65% believe the best rate at renewal can be had through a mortgage broker.
Many also realize rate comparison websites such as ratehub.ca can help them get the best rate. 56% used a rate comparison site during their mortgage origination process.
Rates may be on the rise but many people renewing in 2019 can expect to pay a lower rate than they did five years ago. To make sure they’re getting the best deal possible, owners should start their mortgage research a few months before their renewal date — searching the best rates and using a mortgage affordability calculator to figure out what their new monthly mortgage costs will be. A little prior research can possibly save hundreds – or even thousands – in mortgage costs over their next mortgage term.
A sample of 2,050 Canadian residents from were surveyed by Ratehub.ca from Sep. 24-Oct. 31, 2018 as part of Ratehub.ca’s 2018 Mortgage Survey. For more information about survey findings or to set up a media interview please email Aashti Vijh ([email protected]).
Photo by Urmi (License: Creative Commons BY)