We are now over a month into Social Distancing across most of the world. It will likely last a few more months. It has wreaked havoc on our mental health. It has caused a large number of layoffs, or reduced hours of work for others. The uncertainty is crushing!
Alberta lost 100,000 jobs in March and more are being lost in April.
Mortgage Rates continue to be in a state of flux with COVID-19. Here is my latest (March 27, 2020) explanation of what has been happening.
Two weeks ago the Bank of Canada lowered it’s overnight rate by a half percent. This was the largest single day drop since 2008. Just over a week later on Friday the 13th, they did it again in an unscheduled rate announcement.
The major banks didn’t immediately follow suit, but as of today we have seen the banks pass along the full half percent rate drop again.
The Bank of Canada announced an unplanned change to their overnight rate to take effect Monday March 16, a cut of an additional 50 basis points just 9 days after the Bank had already cut the overnight rate by 50 basis points. In under two weeks the overnight rate will have dropped from 1.75% to just 0.75%.
The Bank of Canada’s move was not predicted by speculators, but is largely believed to have been prompted by the US Federal Reserve’s rate cut of the same amount the day before. The Bank stated that the coronavirus and its impact on the Canadian economy was a core factor for the decision.
The Federal Reserve made an unscheduled rate announcement yesterday and cut their overnight rate by 50 basis points. The Bank of Canada wasn’t largely expected to cut its rate today at its scheduled announcement, but it followed suit and also cut its overnight rate by 50 basis points. This is the first rate cut we’ve seen since 2015.
The Bank of Canada cut its overnight rate for the first time in four years. This follows the US Central Bank doing the same thing just yesterday. In the BoC announcement it seems that the overall Canadian economy has been doing sufficiently well that under normal circumstances they would not have dropped the rate.
More good news for people who have been struggling with the mortgage stress test!
It was recommended by FINA (House of Commons Standing Committee of Finance) to the federal government that they “exempt mortgages from the stress-test where the mortgagor has already met the obligations of their original mortgage.” This is great news for existing borrowers who have already proven they can handle the rigors of mortgage repayment.
The Department of Finance announced Tuesday changes to the mortgage stress test. “The new benchmark rate will be the weekly median 5-year fixed insured mortgage rate from mortgage insurance applications, plus 2%.” This change is specific to insured mortgages (i.e. mortgages with a down payment of less than 20%) and takes affect on April 6.