Disclaimer: Please note that the calculation results are estimates based on our most up-to-date information sourced from lenders' publicly stated methodology and first-hand accounts. This information may not be accurate and is subject to change. The results do not include special offers, such as cash back incentives, or any discharge, registration, reinvestment or transfer fees you may also incur. For an exact penalty calculation, contact your lender directly.
Jamie David, Director of Marketing and Mortgages
Why use a mortgage refinance calculator?
Refinancing your mortgage can be a really valuable option as a homeowner. However, there are costs associated with refinancing that can outweigh any potential savings you might build. As a result, it's important to understand how much a mortgage refinance will cost you before you pull the trigger - that's where a mortgage refinance calculator comes in handy.
The mortgage refinance calculator above will do the hard work for you, estimating the penalties associated with refinancing as well as the potential savings you'll make from getting a new mortgage at today's rates. While there may be some non-financial reasons for wanting to refinance your mortgage, our calculator gives you the important information you need to start making a decision.
Why consider refinancing?
Refinancing a mortgage is when you end your current mortgage and start a new one. You can do this with your current mortgage provider or switch to another. If you're refinancing your mortgage while you're in the middle of an existing mortgage term, you're likely to be hit with a pre-payment penalty - more on that below.
There are two main reasons you’d consider doing a refinance: To lower your existing mortgage rate, or to access the equity you’ve built in your home as cash.
1. Refinance to lower your mortgage rate
To determine if you can save money with a lower mortgage rate, use our calculator to compare the monthly interest savings against the cost to refinance. As most mortgage brokers and lenders will cover your legal costs, the main cost you need to worry about is your break of mortgage penalty, known as the pre-payment penalty. This penalty is charged by your lender for breaking your mortgage contract early, and is based on your original contract date, current mortgage balance, mortgage rate and other factors.
2. Refinance to access home equity as cash
As you pay off your mortgage, you'll gradually build up equity in your home. Your home equity is calculated by taking the current value of your home, then subtracting from that your outstanding mortgage amount. Many lenders will allow you to borrow from them using your home equity as security for the loan - this is what accessing your equity is all about.
If refinancing for equity, the first thing you want to determine is the maximum amount of equity you can access. In Canada, mortgage holders can access a maximum of 80% of their home's value, less any outstanding mortgage balance. Unfortunately, accessing this equity comes at a cost – your lender will charge you a penalty for breaking your mortgage early. Use Ratehub.ca’s refinance calculator to determine your maximum equity and the corresponding penalty. If you’re refinancing in a falling interest rate environment, you may be able to take advantage of interest savings as a bonus.
How much are pre-payment penalties?
When you agree to a particular mortgage term, your are signing a contract for that amount of time, generally between one and 10 years. If you break your mortgage before that term is over, you'll be charged a pre-payment penalty as a way to compensate the mortgage provider. How much this can cost varies wildly based on the type of mortgage you have, the time remaining on your term as well as your mortgage provider - each lender has a different way to calculate pre-payment penalties.
The exact pre-payment penalty calculation that applies to you will be laid out in your contract, but there are two methods used, outlined below.
3 months' interest
For mortgages with a variable rate, you'll generally be charged a pre-payment penalty equal to 3 months' interest of your outstanding mortgage at your current rate. For example, if the interest due in your next monthly payment is $1,500, your pre-payment penalty would be $4,500. Some mortgage providers use a different number of months (e.g. 4 months' interest).
Interest Rate Differential (IRD)
For fixed-rate mortgages, your pre-payment penalty will be either 3 months' interest or the Interest Rate Differential (IRD), whichever is higher. The Interest Rate Differential is a way to figure out the difference between how much interest you agreed to pay in your current mortgage and the interest you'd be paying if you took out a mortgage today, using a comparable current rate.
Here's where things get tricky. IRD calculations are extremely variable, as they depend on a lot of different factors. As well as your original rate, the amount left on your mortgage and the remaining term of your contract, the IRD also depends on today's mortgage rates, what comparison rate your lender uses in addition to the specific calculation used. IRD charges can sometimes get into the tens of thousands of dollars, although they tend to be lower the closer you are to the end of your term.
The bottom line
Even with a very high pre-payment charge, it can still be financially worthwhile to refinance your mortgage. However, you want to be fairly confident of that, and the calculations required can be complex. That's what our mortgage refinance calculator seeks to help you with.
We've factored in all of the important variables into our refinance calculator at the top of this page. That's why we ask you for your mortgage provider, your original rate and the length of your term. It's not always going to be perfect or precise, but it's the first piece of information that you'll need to decide whether refinancing your mortgage is worth it for you. If you're still in need of guidance after running the number on our calculator, it's always a good idea to contact a mortgage broker, who can give you expert, personalized advice at no cost to you.