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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?

November 2013 Overall Summary

Bond yields remain slightly lower as economic stimulus is expected to linger for the long term, prompting lenders to follow suit with moderate fixed mortgage rate discounting. Variable rates will see no change as the Bank of Canada drops the expectation of an increase in the short term.

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Canadian and U.S. bond yields remain low due to assurances that economic stimulus will remain for the longer term in both countries. This will lead to continued downward pressure on yields and as a result, moderate discounts to fixed mortgage rate options.

After dropping any reference to future rising rates in their last announcement, the Bank of Canada signalled that economic progress has been too slow to warrant changing the Prime Rate any time soon. As a result, there won't be any change to the variable cost of borrowing in the near future.

This Month's Panelists

Ron Butler - Mortgage Broker at Verico Butler Mortgage

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Ten-year through three-year bond yields have fallen owing in part to the appointment of a new U.S. Federal Reserve Chairperson who is unlikely to start tapering QE in the immediate future. In Canada, short term (one-and-two-year) rates are pushed back by the certainty of continued low Prime Rate status. There has already been a drop in fixed rates in late October and I suspect slow downward pressure on fixed rates will continue in November as banks complete their fiscal years and look to compete actively on rates in their first quarters.

Major news came out of the Bank of Canada's scheduled rate announcement as they have removed their long standing caution to expect future increases in Prime Rate. Economists all across Canada have issued announcements that they believe there will be no Prime Rate increase in 2014 and in many cases no increase till 2016.

As a side note, this certainty of continued low rates coupled with increased activity and price appreciation in Canada's housing market has sparked speculation that we will see future changes in mortgage lending rules coming from either OSFI or the DOF or both. Canadian mortgage rules could tighten again before Christmas or in early January 2014. If you have plans for mortgages changes and particularly mortgage refinancing now is the time to take action.

Dan Eisner - President, True North Mortgage

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We have seen a recent lowering of Canadian bond yields as a reaction to the Bank of Canada's desire to keep a stimulative policy in place longer than otherwise expected. This downward pressure on mortgage rates will be somewhat offset by the regulator changes set in motion by the government which will have the effect of increasing the cost of mortgage lending for Canadian banks.

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

Dr. Ian Lee - Program Director, Carleton University

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While the five-year Bank of Canada bond rate is up very slightly, the continued uncertainty – highlighted in the Bank of Canada Monetary Policy Report and the Governor's pessimistic musings concerning the Canadian economic outlook – while possibly intended to help nudge the Canadian dollar somewhat – nonetheless reminds everyone once again of the weakness of the recovery. Moreover, demand for housing in the period leading to Christmas declines which should produce some downward pressure on the demand for five-year bonds.

The release of the most recent Bank of Canada Monetary Policy Report and Governor Poloz's more guarded comments in conjunction with the downgrade of the forecast to GDP growth of 1.6 per cent for 2013, make it extremely clear there will be no central bank rate increase anytime soon. By suggesting even the possibility of a rate reduction – which is unlikely in my judgment – it has sent a signal to the markets there will be no rate increase anytime soon.

Kelvin Mangaroo - President of RateSupermarket.ca

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Bond yields remain low amid reassurances that Canadian interest rate stimulus will last for the long term. Developments for U.S. monetary policy are also contributing to a low fixed rate environment, as the Fed did not taper quantitative easing measures in October. While yields initially rose in response to fears this would mean an inevitable December stimulus cut, they have since moderated. As a result, we could see some slight discounting for fixed mortgage rates this month.

The Bank of Canada dropped their "rate bias", which signals when interest rates will rise, in their latest announcement. This has led many to believe that the current Overnight Lending Rate will remain untouched well into 2016. While there has been speculation that the rate could be cut lower, it's unlikely given the heated state of Canadian housing market demand and growing household debt levels.