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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?

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SEPTEMBER 2019 OVERALL SUMMARY

Trade conflicts are dominating market sentiment. That's souring the economic outlook such that none of our panelists see the Bank of Canada moving rates near-term.

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Bond yields steer fixed mortgage rates and yields remain near two-year lows. Assuming no trade-related surprises (a shaky assumption), we expect yields and fixed mortgage rates to maintain a flat to slightly downward bias.

Economic uncertainty is depressing business investment and eliminating any chance of rate hikes. Most likely, the BoC will watch the Federal Reserve cut U.S. rates on September 18 and then re-asses in October.

This Month's Panelists

Dan Eisner

President,

True North Mortgage

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Bonds yields seem to react to every Trump tweet as of late, but we haven't seen a trend build in either direction so we believe fixed rates will remain stable over the next few weeks.

We believe a downward prime rate move is coming but we don't think it will happen at the next Bank of Canada meeting.

Dr. Ian Lee

Program Director,

Carleton University

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As I noted in the last Mortgage Rate Outlook, 3-5 year GoC bond yields appear to have stabilized around 1.3 percent. Moreover, mortgage demand appears to have stabilized. Indeed, the Government of Canada announcement of CMHC becoming co-owners with some new homebuyers suggests they are "hearing footsteps". That is, they sense demand is softening and want "political cover" that they are doing "something".

While there is heightened fear of a recession in the last month with significant attention paid to the inverted yield curve, it seems to me that the Bank of Canada – cautious as it is – will punt on its September 4 interest rate announcement and take a "watch and see" position. The BoC will want to see what the Fed does next and even more importantly, take note of the growth, unemployment and confidence metrics before deciding to decrease its rates.

Will Dunning

Chief Economist,

Mortgage Professionals Canada

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Despite strong conditions, interest rates have fallen substantially this year. For example, the yield for 5-year Government of Canada bonds was 1.85% at the start of the year, but is now below 1.2%. Mortgage interest rates have also fallen. Based on economic conditions in Canada, these reductions are hard to justify. These movements are due to fears that reckless economic policies and increasingly dysfunctional politics in the US might impair the economy later this year and into next year. These conditions make it very difficult to predict the direction of interest rates.

The Bank of Canada is signalling that it is comfortable with evolving economic conditions, and that it expects growth to improve during the coming year. It does concede that "the outlook is clouded by persistent trade tensions." Overall, it is very unlikely that the Bank of Canada will change its key interest rate during the next few months. Housing activity has improved during the past few months, but is still below average. Therefore, continued competition should prevent rises in these rates.