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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?

June 2013 Overall Summary

After months of little change, shifts in the global economy may cause some movement for Canadian mortgage rates. Canadian bond yields have risen as of late, causing lenders to respond with a hike to fixed mortgage rates. However, variable mortgage rates will maintain the status quo, as instability among Canada's largest trade partners and sluggish domestic economic growth lead to no change for the Bank of Canada's Overnight Lending Rate.

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Government of Canada bond yields, which set the bar for fixed mortgage rates, experienced an increase early in the month. This may prompt lenders to respond by raising their fixed mortgage offerings, however, a dramatic rate hike is unlikely given current competitive market factors.

Canada's economy remains on track to reach capacity, but conditions have not recovered sufficiently to cause change to the current cost of borrowing. It is not anticipated that incoming Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz will change the Overnight Lending Rate in the next announcement on July 17, and economists expect such stimulus to remain in effect until 2014.

This Month's Panelists

Dan Eisner - President, True North Mortgage

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Bond yields have been steadily rising in the last few days. As a result, I expect mortgage rates to rise by 0.1 - 0.2 per cent in the coming days and weeks.

We will have to see a sustained recovery in the U.S. economic situation before we start seeing Canada's banks change their variable rates. As a result, we don't foresee any changes to the variable rates in the next while.

Dr. Ian Lee - Program Director, Carleton University

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While the first quarter of 2013 showed surprising (i.e. above forecasted projection), stronger real growth at 2.5 per cent annualized (3.8 per cent nominal annualized), it must be noted it was mostly due to exports increasing at 6.2 per cent annualized due to a recovering U.S. economy. And those exports were concentrated in oil and gas and mineral products – in short, the much maligned resource sector that has contributed mightily to Canada's resilience.

However, residential construction declined 4.7 per cent in the first quarter which was the third quarter in row of decline. This data clearly reflects the softening in the real estate market driven by the tightening of the mortgage rules. And there is simply no evidence the government will undo its restrictions on mortgage qualifications. Moreover, consumer spending was anemic at 0.9 per cent in the first quarter. This summary review suggests no changes in fixed rates.

Governor Carney's final decision before leaving for the UK to take up his new post at the Bank of England was to leave interest rates unchanged in Canada as inflation is low and economic growth continues at below normal levels.
Carney stated it succinctly in the final paragraph of the May 29, 2013 announcement: "With continued slack in the Canadian economy, the muted outlook for inflation, and the constructive evolution of imbalances in the household sector, the considerable monetary policy stimulus currently in place will likely remain appropriate for a period of time, after which some modest withdrawal will likely be required, consistent with achieving the 2 per cent inflation target".

Mary Zenar - Managing Director of Zenar Financial

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Continued volatility among some of Canada's trade market partners have some investors shying from our once "safe haven" status bonds, pushing yields higher, and, as a result, fixed mortgage rates. However, while I think lenders will take their cues from yields, any fixed mortgage rate increase will be modest.

Canada's economic growth remains stable, but slow. While economists believe we remain on track to reach capacity and inflation goals over the next few years, the Bank of Canada is not likely to increase rates or change their stance on providing stimulus conditions in the near future.

Kelvin Mangaroo - President of RateSupermarket.ca

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Benchmark bond yields saw an increase during the first week of the month, indicating fixed mortgage rates will follow suit. Keep in mind, however, that the mortgage marketplace remains very competitive. I don't believe it's likely that lenders will impose a dramatic rate rise for fears of losing significant market share in a smaller buyer pool.

It's very unlikely that new Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz will alter the growth course charted for Canada in the short term. While economic gains have been made in the U.S. and Japan, the European recession continues to deepen, and Canada's own economic engine could be affected by volatility in the starts market. As a result, I don't anticipate a rate increase to be on the horizon.