Canadian Real Estate Buyers Are Facing The Highest Mortgage Rates In A Decade

Canada’s era of cheap debt and low inflation is now firmly behind us — and it disappeared really fast. The Government of Canada (GoC) 5 Year Bond closed at the highest level in a decade today. Five Year yields are important to real estate, influencing one of the key mortgage rates. As a result, Canadians should expect to pay the highest mortgage interest in a decade — and these rates are just getting started.

Bond Yields Influence Mortgage Rates

Government bond yields influence the interest cost on debt of similar term lengths. When yields rise or fall, the interest cost on debt is just a few steps behind. One of the most important bonds is the 5 Year, directly influencing the 5 year fixed rate mortgage. The mortgage also happens to be one of the most popular mortgage products. Especially when interest rates are rising. 

Canadian Bond Yields Surged To A Decade High

The 5 Year Government Bond yield is climbing at an usually rapid rate these days. The yield closed the week out at 2.544% today, up 7.65 basis points (bps) from last week. Over the past month, the yield has climbed 74.25 bps — one of the fastest jumps ever. Canada hasn’t seen it this high since April 2011, over a decade ago. 

Government of Canada 5-Year Bond Yield

The percent yield of the Government of Canada’s 5-year bond.

Source: Bank of Canada; Better Dwelling.

We don’t have to go far back to show how strangely fast the climb has been. The yield increased 158.67 bps from last year, meaning the past month was nearly half the increase. To say this is a rapid rate would be to undersell this crisis-like movement in response to inflation. 

Canadian 5 Year Fixed Rate Mortgages Are Soaring 

Canada has also seen 5 year fixed mortgage rates climb just as fast in response. For example, RBC’s posted rate was near a record low of 2.19% as recently as October. As of today, it’s climbed to 3.94% — a significant increase in such a short period of time. In situations where a stress test is not applied, a buyer would see a 17% drop in maximum buying power. Stress tested buyers are already tested at a higher 5.25% interest rate, so their maximum mortgage is only minimally impacted. Though this rate cycle is the first time where a buyer’s contract rate plus 2 points can exceed the current stress test threshold, meaning the first drop in leverage in years.

Five year fixed term mortgages were the most popular mortgage until recently. When these began climbing a year ago, buyers began looking at variable rate mortgages. Those are based on the overnight rate, which failed to move with market expectations. This left a gap of cheap money that buyers were more than ready to take advantage of. With the overnight rate climbing with 5 year fixed rates, there’s nowhere left to hide. As a result, some economists expect a repricing of assets — a fancy way of saying falling home prices.



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  • Ike 2 years ago

    This should make housing really affordable.

  • C.Rose 2 years ago

    We have the perfect brew in place for a real estate correction (crash)- rising rates, spec taxes and anti foreign purchases. Let the selling begin.

  • John 2 years ago

    Better Dwelling once again trying to get people to lock into a 5 year fixed mortgages. What are the Banks giving you for kickbacks? In the past 25 years at no time was it better to lock into a 5 year fixed over a variable.

    • Ian Brown 2 years ago

      You’re seeing what you want. They literally asked on of the top mortgage brokers in the country what to do a few weeks ago and he recommended a variable rate with ability to lock in.

    • question guy 2 years ago

      rates have consistently gone DOWN the past 25 years… so, while I agree with your statement “past experience does not promise future returns” (or something like that). The variable rates will jump in the next 12-18 months – the question is – by how much, and is the current spread between variable and fixed enough to justify variable?

      • Ohwell 2 years ago

        Stay variable and set your payment at an interest rate 2 points higher than your current variable rate. Let the extra pay down principal rather locking into fixed today paying the extra in interest to the bank. This of course assumes that you can afford the higher payment and you should because you qualified at the benchmark rate right?

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