Paying more for your mortgage?
I know it's not easy after enjoying such low interest rates for such a long time, but there may be some ways to manage it.
If you're in an Adjustable Rate Mortgage (also sometimes called a Variable Rate Mortgage with a non-static payment), you have likely noticed that your payments have started to rise with the Bank of Canada rate increases/increases to Prime Rate.
First, before you panic about rates rising and whether you will be able to make your payments, try to remember that, for the past 2-4 years, all mortgage borrowers have had to qualify for their mortgages based on the mandatory Government "stress test". This means that, despite some of the record low interest rates that we have actually been paying over the past few years, borrowers have been forced to show that they will be able to make the payments if rates were to rise as high as 4.89-5.25%, using approximately 40-44% of their income to pay for mortgage and non-mortgage debt. If you got a mortgage in the last 4 years, then you passed this test. Granted, I know this calculation does not include a number of factors such as daycare costs (for some of you), gas prices, and the overall increase to the cost of living lately, but hopefully it's a tiny bit comforting to know that *on paper* you should hypothetically be able to make the payments based on 40% of your pretax income, leaving 60% of your income for those other expenses and taxes.
If that's not comforting (I tried!), here are a few ideas to help you minimize/manage your mortgage payments:
Just one more note: if you're in a Variable Rate Mortgage (with a static payment), your payment may not have risen automatically. However, if paying off your mortgage is your goal, you may want to think about increasing your payment (if you are able to), since more of your mortgage payment is now going towards interest instead of paying your principal balance.
Questions? Please feel free to reach out! I am happy to help.
Hang in there! We won't be in this space, or in this place, forever.
Property Taxes - Don't forget!
Many of you have been receiving your property tax bills over the past few days, and most property taxes will be due on July 4th - 5th this year.
If you are eligible, please do not forget to apply for your Home Owner Grant! This must be done EVERY YEAR, and it is your responsibility to claim the grant. Banks DO NOT do this on your behalf.
If you pay your taxes through your Lender/with your mortgage, please make sure to forward a copy of the tax bill to your Lender/your servicing branch if it does not indicate "COPY SENT TO MORTGAGE LENDER" in the upper header section of the tax notice. This will assist in preventing any late tax payment penalties.
If this is your FIRST YEAR with your Lender, it would be a good idea to contact them at your earliest convenience to check on the payment status of your property taxes this year, and to let them know that you have applied for your Home Owner Grant.
Depending on when your new mortgage closed, you may be expected to make this year's property tax payment directly to your municipality, even if your lender collects regular property tax payments from you. For example, if your new mortgage closed after March 1st, 2022, some Lenders may not have had enough time to get you onto the full payment cycle for this year, and the payments that they have been collecting are actually for next year (2023).
The easiest and fastest way to pay your property taxes is with online banking or setting up a pre-authorized payment plan with City Hall directly. Please check your property tax bill or visit your municipality's website for more information.
Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions.
Have a great day!
As widely expected and projected by many industry analysts for the past month and a half, the Bank of Canada raised their key interest rate by another 0.50% this morning. To many who have been following the news, this comes as no shock; however, even those who were expecting it are still feeling somewhat perturbed by this rate hike. After all, the rising cost of, well...everything is now hitting our mortgages and household debt.
Before you panic, it's important at this time to keep a level head and to put everything into perspective. How WILL this ACTUALLY affect your mortgage?
~ For those of you with Fixed Rate mortgages, today's Bank of Canada rate increase will not affect you at all. Your rate and payment will stay the same.
~ For those of you with Variable Rate mortgages with static payments, your payments should remain the same. However, the amount of your mortgage payment that goes towards interest will increase, while the amount of your payment that goes towards paying down your principal amount of your mortgage balance will decrease. If you would like to stick with your original amortization schedule (ie. the original plan on how long it will take you to pay off your mortgage), I would recommend that you contact your Lender to ask them to increase your payment accordingly. Please see below.
~ For those of you with Adjustable Rate mortgages (sometimes called Variable Rate mortgages with Non-Static payments), your payment will change based on the 0.50% increase to Prime Rate. The change in your payment will likely come next month on your next month's payment date, or may come sooner for some Lenders, depending on your payment frequency. Your Lender will likely send you a notice to let you know what your payment change will look like.
- To put it simply, your mortgage payment will likely rise approximately $26 for every $100,000 of your mortgage balance (based on a 25 year amortization). On a $500,000 mortgage balance, that will be an increase of around $130 per month.
- If you've been applying my suggest strategy for the last few months/years and have been putting aside the monthly savings that you would have paid if you had chosen a fixed rate, you likely will have a sizable slush fund to pay for this increase.
- If this amount sounds like a lot to swallow, it is important to REMEMBER how much money you have been saving over the past few months and years! The strategy with variable/adjustable rate mortgages is a LONG GAME. Interest rates may rise and fall over the course of your mortgage term and, historically, the variable rate mortgage holders have always won the Rate Game.
It's important to note that, despite the increase to Prime Rate today, Variable/Adjustable Rate mortgage rates are still much lower than those of Fixed Rates mortgages today. They also offer much more flexibility (ie. smaller penalties) than Fixed Rate mortgages. As such, I do not believe that now is the time to panic and it is certainly not the time to lock into a 5-year Fixed Rate mortgage product at 4.5-5%.
If, as many people believe, we are heading into a recession and rates begin to drop again, those of you with Variable/Adjustable Rate mortgages will have the opportunity to break your mortgages and secure a lower rate.
Remember, we knew that the ultra-low rate environment would not last forever.
- We also know that an ultra-high rate environment will not last forever, either.
If you're unsure about what type of mortgage you have and how today's rate increase will affect you, reach out to your Mortgage Broker or Lender!
Any further questions? I'm happy to help! Please do not hesitate to reach out.
---> And, yes....I still have two variable/adjustable rate mortgages of my own and, NO, I will not be locking into a fixed rate at this time! Keep calm, and ride the wave with me...
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