For many Canadians, their home is the biggest investment they will ever make, and their mortgage the most significant loan. When shopping for a mortgage, people generally look for ways to get low mortgage rates. A mortgage rate doesn’t refer to the size of the mortgage loan, but rather the interest rate on your mortgage. Obviously before you buy, you’ll want to search for a low mortgage rate. There are many factors that affect mortgage rates in Canada, and a fuller understanding of these factors can be an immense help to the inexperienced buyer when applying for a mortgage.

In this article, we’ll look at a basic outline of how mortgage rates are determined in Canada, including some ways to get a low mortgage rate. Fixed vs. Variable Rate Mortgages There are two kinds of mortgage loans available to Canadians: fixed or variable rate mortgages. A fixed rate mortgage, as the name suggests, keeps the same interest rate and monthly payment for the duration of the term. A fixed rate mortgage is ideal for those who want more stable financial planning, and want to avoid any surprises due to sudden inflation. A variable rate mortgage adjusts based on the lender’s prime rate, which is determined by the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate. This means the interest rates can change day to day. While obviously there is some risk involved with a variable rate mortgage, they can often save Canadian homeowners money. While the monthly payment remains the same, lower interest rates mean that more of your monthly payment goes towards your principal. While some homeowners fear sudden increases in mortgage rates, banks generally avoid this so as not to incur any backlash. The Mortgage Market Mortgage rates are set based on a number of factors. These factors, or steps, are referred to as the secondary mortgage market. When you are granted a mortgage loan, the following steps occur:

  • Your mortgage is sold by the bank/lender to a third party investor, known as the aggregator.

  • Your loan is combined with other loans by the aggregator to form a mortgage-backed security.

  • The mortgage backed security is divided into shares, which are sold to other investors.

Therefore, your mortgage rates are based on what the aggregator will pay for the mortgage, but also by the worth of the mortgage-backed security and what investors are willing to pay. This creates a competitive mortgage market, with homeowners benefitting from low mortgage rates and investors benefitting from higher mortgage rates. It can be complicated to understand everything that goes into determining mortgage rates in Canada. The best way to understand mortgage rates is to consult with one of our mortgage professionals. They understand the market thoroughly and will be able to explain how everything works, and help you find a low mortgage rate! Contact us today to schedule a consultation.