The Impact of Mortgage Interest Rates on Canadian Real Estate
In a bold and unexpected move, the Bank of Canada lowered key interest rates in early 2015. This is in contrast with the direction other nations appear to be headed with their rate policies in 2015. So how is this affecting the nation’s property markets and what does it suggest are the best money moves for Canadian property investors?
As the Toronto Star highlighted at the end of March 2015, this rate cut has spurred more competition between national banks and mortgage lenders as they vie to make loans. One of the most recent to join the rate war has been BMO, with new mortgage deals under 3 percent.
Many Canadian property owners are finding this the optimal moment to capitalize on low interest rates and the recent lift in equity by refinancing. This can help free up more monthly income thanks to lower housing payments and can enable more liquidity by freeing previously captive equity, which can be reinvested to magnify returns. This rate reduction can also help spur more consumer spending.
Of course, most of the media attention has been focused on the lift this is providing to home purchasing activity and the new bidding wars that it is creating. Not only do low rates make this an attractive time for buyers to move up to dream homes, but it is affording many people the opportunity to purchase a home, that previously couldn’t qualify.
One of the largest and most significant segments of the population to benefit from this lull in interest rates will certainly be Canadian property investors. Low cost leverage often means the ability to enjoy higher profits from new acquisitions. Plus, now that oil and credit is cheaper, an increase in consumer shopping at local malls and plazas ought to provide a lift to both retailers and their investor-landlords.
Ultimately low interest rates are fueling the Canadian property market in many ways and have the capacity to significantly boost returns and gains for commercial property investors.