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Mortgage Rate Outlook Panel

Our panel of mortgage experts share their views on Canadian mortgage rate trends each month by answering this question: What is your outlook for Canadian mortgage rates over the next 30-45 days?

August 2012 Overall Summary

As five year fixed mortgage rates have recently reached record low levels, our Panel does not believe it's likely we'll see additional downward movement. With poor economic performance on a global scale and Canadian inflation in check, change is not anticipated for fixed and variable mortgage rates.

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Less-than-optimistic economic outlooks for Asia, Europe and the US have lead to extremely low Canadian bond yields, driving new recent lows for 5 year fixed rates in July. It is not anticipated that they'll go much lower, if at all, in August.

The Bank of Canada is expected to retain its key interest rate on hold, which will keep prime and variable rates consistent. Our Panel also believes record low five year fixed offers have also stunted consumer interest in variable products for the time being.

This Month's Panelists

Mark Kocaurek - Senior Vice President, ING DIRECT

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Fixed mortgage rates have moved lower over the last week or so to levels that I believe are at or near a bottom. I don't believe that fixed rates will go much lower in the short term. Economic data from around the world has been uniformly tepid at best or outright poor. As a result, I believe long term government and swap yields will remain close to where they are now for the foreseeable future as will fixed mortgage rates.

As noted above global economic performance has been tepid to poor over recent weeks and months. The outlook looks to be more of the same for the foreseeable future and as a result I believe that the Bank of Canada is on hold as are variable mortgage rates.

Dr. Ian Lee - Program Director, Carleton University

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My analysis is similar to my analysis of last month. Europe continues to deteriorate with Spain clearly requiring a full bailout while it is ever more clear that Greece will default and exit the eurozone. Moreover, southern Europe is in a very deep recession or possibly a depression. The US economy appears to have stalled with unemployment actually increasing. Once again, by contrast, Canada is one of the strongest economies in the G7 and across Europe. This attracts buyers to GoC bonds and drives down yields.

It does not seem possible that the Fed Reserve will increase rates before 2014 and if the Fed does not, it is unlikely that the BoC will. Moreover, the changes announced by Finance Minister Flaherty to cool the housing market seem to be having a pronounced measurable effect. Thus, there is even less incentive for the central bank to raise raises given the plummeting demand for housing - especially in the critical (i.e. overextended hyper) markets of Toronto and Vancouver.

Dan Eisner - President, True North Mortgage

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Bond yields have bounced up very recently. We have seen a few lenders drop their fixed rates recently, but this may be short lived if bond yields stay elevated.

Banks and Canadians in general do not seem interested in variable rate options with 5-year fixed rates so low. As a result, we don't foresee any changes to the variable rates in the next while.

Elisseos Iriotakis - President, Safebridge Financial

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Bond rates are substantially lower than the fixed rates lenders are offering consumers these days, so there is room for fixed rates to drop. Unfortunately, I don't see this happening until after August 31st so that lenders aren't forced to lower interest rates on any existing business. August just happens to be one of the busiest mortgage closing months of the year and lenders wouldn't want to cut into their margins. However, as September rolls around and lenders are hungry for "new" business, they should drop rates further to attract new clients.

Bank of Canada will be on hold for quite some time and with the major lenders making the decision to not offer competitive pricing on variable rate mortgages, in comparison to the current fixed rates, I don't see any movement for the foreseeable future.

Wayne Spinney - Mortgage Agent, Centum Mortgage Professionals

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The state of the global economy has caused bond yields to bounce around their current levels for quite some time now. This trend should continue for the foreseeable future and therefore fixed rates will remain unchanged.

The economic forecast for the US, Europe and Asia is not too optimistic which means that Canada will continue to curb their growth and inflation through monetary and fiscal policy. Keeping inflation in check means keeping rates at bay; therefore no changes to prime or the variable side of mortgage rates.