After almost a decade of warning and keeping the rates practically unchanged for the last 7 years, the Bank of Canada has raised its benchmark interest rate from 0.50% to 0.75% at its Board of Governors meeting on Wednesday. If it doesn't happen next Friday – it is sure to happen in the fall as indicated by the Bank of Canada.This small increase of 0.25% will be the start of a road to increased interest rates in coming years. This increase will cause the mortgage interest rates to go up, too.
By Jeet Singh
What goes up must come down! By the same token, what goes down must come up!
After almost a decade of warning and keeping the rates practically unchanged for the last 7 years, the Bank of Canada has raised its benchmark interest rate from 0.50% to 0.75% at the Board of Governors meeting earlier today (Wednesday).
This small increase of 0.25% will be the start of a road to increased interest rates in coming years. This increase will cause the mortgage interest rates to go up, too.
Initially, it won’t put too much a dent in your finances and in your ability to make payments. But when an initial .25% increase in mortgage rates slowly creeps up to 1% hike and eventually more than that, some of us will feel the pinch.
Here is an illustration. Let’s say you owe $500,000 on your home loans at an interest rate of 3% compounded semi-annually for 25 years. Your mortgage payment is around $2366. If the rates inch up by a full percentage, your monthly payment will be about $2630. That is an increase of about $264 in your payment every month. By the time, the rates inch up by two percentage, your payment will go up by almost $542 per month.
Such an increase in mortgage rates can hit the real estate market with a double whammy. On one hand, the existing homeowners start to have difficulty in making their new higher mortgage payments. On the other hand, the new home buyers find it hard to qualify for their desired loan amount. That results in the drop in home prices.
So, how should you prepare for higher interest rates and higher payments?
First of all, don’t bite more than what you can chew. When taking a new loan, leave some room for yourself to be able to make higher payments should the rates go up. Hopefully, your income will go up, too. Some banks are already qualifying the buyers at higher interest rates or lower debt ratios just to make it safe for their clients.
Second, pay-off most all of your consumer debt. Pay off your credit card balances every month so you do not have to pay 20% or so in interest on those balances. Use that freed-up money to build up savings.
Third, invest your savings at higher rates that net you some real income after paying off your taxes and accounting for inflation. Savings account in your favorite bank is not an investment by a long shot. In fact, you are being left behind in the dust. A savings account is like a hatchling in the nest waiting to grow up and soar to the sky. Eventually, you should also learn to fly and move up to investing and soar the skies of wealth.
Fourth, don’t let this rate hike or the fear of future rate hikes hold you back from buying real estate. Each day, you are without owning real estate, you are being left behind. Real estate is one of the best hedges against inflation; especially, if you don’t use it as your piggy bank.
Jeet Singh is a writer and a private mortgage investor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org