Photo: Kurt Bauschardt/Flickr
It’s no secret that mortgage rates in Canada were on the rise last year as the central bank hiked its policy rate by 25 basis points a total of three times, but a new report gives an idea of how much more borrowers had to fork over in 2018.
Homeowners’ mortgage rates averaged 3.09 percent in 2018, up from 2.96 percent, according to the results of consumer surveys found within broker industry group Mortgage Professionals Canada’s Annual State of the Residential Mortgage Market in Canada report.
For borrowers who took out a mortgage on a home they purchased in 2018, the average rate was higher at 3.31 percent. Meantime, those who renewed existing mortgages — about one-fifth of all mortgage holders in any given year — the rate averaged 3.28 percent.
These mortgage renewers typically saw their interest costs climb by $650 annually, or around $50 a month extra.
In total, borrowers in Canada owed an estimated total of $1.55 trillion on mortgages in 2018, according to Mortgage Professionals Canada. Next year, the industry group suggests that number could swell to as much as $1.6 trillion.
This year, however, borrowers have been able to benefit from discounted rates. Some of Canada’s biggest banks started cutting five-year fixed rates, beginning with RBC. Fixed-rate mortgages are the most common arrangement for homebuyers, with 68 percent of mortgages falling under this category. About 6.03 million Canadian homeowners had mortgages at the end of 2018.
And on the central bank front, it looks as if policymakers are holding off on further hikes until at least later this year.
In 2018, it appeared the Bank of Canada was set to continue gradually hiking rates, a path that began in July 2017 and was followed by four subsequent hikes, the most recent this past October.
But since then, the central bank has stepped to the sidelines as a result of worse-than-expected economic prospects at a time of lower oil prospects and a drawn out recovery for the energy sector.
Some experts are even entertaining the idea of a Bank of Canada rate cut, which would translate to lower variable mortgage rates for borrowers.