Bank of Canada Governor, Mark Carney, confirmed on Wednesday that he has no immediate intentions to raise mortgage rates; however, Carney did confirm that “some” of the stimulus currently bolstering the system would be “eventually withdrawn.”
Carney made these statements following the release of fresh data from the Canadian Real Estate Association stating that some of Canada’s urban housing markets are grossly overvalued. Even though the pace of Canadian home sales is currently in line with the 10 year-average, prices are continuing to escalate, rising a staggering 8.6% nationally during the month of May. Home prices are surging in cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal, which has Carney worried about unfounded excess.
Factors Affecting the Surge
While Carney has been careful to avoid referring to the current housing market as a bubble, the signs all point to impending problems. Elevated levels of ‘multiples’ inventories, increased development, and heavy investor demand are three of the factors currently driving housing and condo prices through the roof. Unfortunately, information from Statistics Canada doesn’t support the current spike in demand. Recent stats show that the average Canadian families’ income (including earnings, investments, and private pensions) fell 3.2% in 2009, making it the first significant drop in market income since the early 1990’s. So who exactly is driving the demand for investment properties? Realtors point to an influx of foreign investment interest, specifically from Asian nations.
Finding the Silver Lining
While many potential home buyers see the rise in home prices as an impediment to homeownership, it isn’t all bad news. Even though home prices are skyrocketing, mortgage rates have remained at historic lows… for now, at least. These lows can’t last forever, and if Carney’s comments are any indication of future increases, home buyers can expect hikes to come fast and furious once they hit. As long as mortgage rates stay low, Carney warns that Canadian financial authorities will remain vigilant and ready to move at the first sign of any imbalance.
How to Take Advantage of Low Mortgage Rates
Borrowers with strong credit and stable jobs are in a prime position to save big by refinancing their mortgage in order to take advantage of record lows. While the low rates have sparked a surge in refinancing activity, many homeowners are oblivious to the fact that they could be saving more money on their mortgage. Homeowners throughout the country can begin their journey to lower mortgage payments online by answering a quick and easy mortgage pre-approval questionnaire. If you’re a first-time home buyer looking to purchase your first piece of real estate, don’t wait to secure your mortgage rate. The rate you see tomorrow could be three times higher than the current offer.
As with any market, it pays to act fast. Now’s the time to review the up-to-date rates and refinance your mortgage.
Chantielle Kennedy writer for FamilyLending.ca