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Mortgage Minute 22: The Bank of Canada’s Final Rate Increase

Time To Evaluate

Is the Bank of Canada finally ready to stop their rate hikes?

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Our Quick Take

This is widely expected to be the LAST rate increase from the Bank of Canada. Next will be decreases starting about a year from now.

2023 Gets Started With A .25% Rate Increase

The Bank of Canada’s language is easing.

After the Bank of Canada’s half-percent rate increase in December, there was some hope that rates would stop rising. The Bank shifted from a stance of “yes we will increase rates further” to a “we will watch the data and decide if further increases are necessary.”

This shift in language was rather significant, but not enough to calm concerns about further increases.

Since March 2022 the bank has increased rates now 4.25%. And most of the increases have been a half percent or larger, compared to more normal quarter percent changes to the rate.

This brings the retail PRIME rate to 6.7%, with variable rate mortgages, depending on the discount from prime, somewhere around 5.8% for most variable rate mortgage holders.

Separate from this rate announcement, but related for anyone looking for a mortgage, new insured 5-year fixed rate mortgages today can be had for under 5% in most cases. This is because fixed rate mortgages change when the Bond rates change, which is different than the Bank of Canada’s rate.


So, with today’s announcement, there is a growing consensus that the Bank of Canada is done with the rate increases. This has been the most aggressive cycle of rate increases in decades with eight consecutive increases, and most jumbo increases verses the more traditional quarter percent adjustments. Housing markets across the country, in the markets that really needed it, have already softened significantly.

What the experts are saying

In advance of the increase today, BMO Capital Market’s director and senior economist Sal Guatieri said that he sees today’s move as insurance on the inflation outlook.

When asked what to expect this year, Guatieri told BNN Bloomberg that rates have risen enough and that the economy will enter a shallow recession in the first half of this year. He expects the Bank to sit on the sidelines for the balance of the year and then in 2024 start to reverse gears with rate drops.

Today’s announcement matches that pointing to “growing evidence that {rate increases] have slow[ed] activity, especially household spending. Consumption… has moderated from early 2022, and housing market activity has declined substantially.” The bank predicts that this “overall slowdown in activity will allow supply to catch up with demand.” This is economy speak for “inflation will return to the target range.”

And I am excited to tell you that the bank thinks this will be the last increase! They said that “If economic developments evolve broadly in line with [their] … outlook, [the Bank] expects to hold the … rate at its current level while it assesses the impact of the cumulative interest rate increases. “

Based on the major banks predictions I think we will see rates more or less where they are today until the end of 2023 and back to about 4% by the end of 2024.

Alberta’s real estate market remains strong. In the lower priced part of the market, Realtors are reporting multiple offers, and less flexible sellers. We didn’t have the price increases seen elsewhere in the country and are not expecting much more downward pressure on prices in our province. Both Calgary and Edmonton remain some of the most affordable major housing markets in the developed world.

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Josh Tagg

Owner of Mortgages For Less, writes about current market trends, and how they impact the mortgage market.


January 25, 2023



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