Canada Mortgage Interest Rate Forecast: 2024-2028

This Page's Content Was Last Updated: January 14, 2024
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Forecast of Lowest Mortgage Interest Rates as of February 22, 2024

DateBoC RatePrime Rate5-Year Variable1-Year Fixed2-Year Fixed3-Year Fixed5-Year Fixed
2024-02-235%7.2%5.9%6.29%5.79%4.84%4.69%
2024-06-304.75%6.95%5.65%6.25%5.58%4.89%4.63%
2024-12-314.25%6.45%5.15%5.77%5.25%4.64%4.5%
2025-06-303.75%5.95%4.65%5.46%5.03%4.49%4.44%
2025-12-313.25%5.45%4.15%5.29%4.91%4.42%4.42%
2026-06-303.25%5.45%4.15%5.17%4.84%4.4%4.44%
2026-12-313%5.2%3.9%5.08%4.82%4.41%4.46%
2027-06-303%5.2%3.9%5.07%4.85%4.45%4.51%
2027-12-303%5.2%3.9%5.11%4.9%4.52%4.56%
2028-06-303%5.2%3.9%5.18%4.97%4.57%4.61%
2028-12-303%5.2%3.9%5.25%5.03%4.63%4.65%
This table is populated based on the forward short-term lending rates on February 22, 2024. These forecasts change frequently as market prices change. In making these forecasts, we have assumed the risk premium and the term premium to stay constant and market expectation of the risk-free rate to be correct.

What You Should Know

  • We anticipate variable interest rates to decline significantly and medium-term fixed rates to decline moderately over the next three years. This is because current interest rates are significantly higher than neutral interest rates.
  • The long-term trend of declining yields has ended and we are unlikely ever to see low rates like those of 2020-2021 or the 2009-2010 again.
Lock these mortgage rates until July 3, 2024 (130 days)
5-Year Fixed5-Year Variable
BMO
5.16%
BMO
6.67%
Lock these mortgage rates until June 23, 2024 (120 days)
TermRate
Butler Mortgage
1-Year Fixed
6.29%
Butler Mortgage
2-Year Fixed
5.79%
6ix Mortgage Group
3-Year Fixed
4.84%
Butler Mortgage
4-Year Fixed
4.94%
6ix Mortgage Group
5-Year Fixed
4.69%
6ix Mortgage Group
5-Year Variable
5.9%

How Does the Market Think About Future Rates?

Changes in the Bank of Canada (BoC) policy rate and Canada’s prime rate as implied by the forward contracts on a one-month Canadian dollar offered rate as of February 15, 2024.

Fixed Announce-ment DateLikelihood of BoC policy rate atisLikelihood of BoC policy rate atis
2024-03-065%91%4.75%9%
2024-04-105%76%4.75%24%
2024-06-055%45%4.75%55%
2024-07-245%13%4.75%87%
2024-09-044.5%22%4.75%78%
2024-10-234.5%68%4.75%32%
2024-12-114.25%22%4.5%78%

Today’s Mortgage Rates

TermLowest RatesAverage Rates
(11 Lenders)
30-Days Change of Average Rates
1-Year Fixed6.29%7.45%
-3 bps lower
2-Year Fixed5.79%6.7%
-2 bps lower
3-Year Fixed4.84%6.05%
-8 bps lower
4-Year Fixed4.94%6%
-9 bps lower
5-Year Fixed4.69%5.44%
-10 bps lower
5-Year Variable5.9%6.76%
-2 bps lower

The basket of 11 lenders includes: CIBC logoCIBC, BMO logoBMO, TD logoTD, Scotiabank logoScotiabank, RBC logoRBC, National Bank logoNational Bank, HSBC logoHSBC, Desjardins logoDesjardins, nesto logonesto, Tangerine logoTangerine, First National logoFirst National

Best 5-Year Fixed Mortgage Rates in Canada CanadaLeaf
Select: Term
Fixed
Variable

Bank of Canada Rate Forecast for 2024: 0.75% Decrease in the Overnight Rate

UPDATED January 12, 2023

Though the inflation of 3.4% (as of December 2023) is still too high, half of it is due to the shelter component. The rental Housing Vacancy rate is very low, which means high shelter inflation will likely continue for at least the first half of 2024. Bank of Canada can do little about the shelter inflation as it is largely due to overregulation of the land use by municipalities. In early 2024, the market expects the BoC to recognize that it cannot control the housing supply and start cutting rates when the inflation ex-shelter reaches the BoC target.

This course of action is unlikely as Canadians watch house prices obsessively, and house prices strongly affect their inflation expectations. A premature rate cut by the BoC can cause another rise in Canadian housing markets and potentially unanchor inflation expectations.

The impact of the current restrictive policy rates will continue to percolate throughout the Canadian economy in 2024, reducing demand for goods and services. As a result, inflation should decrease to the target range of 1%-3% later in 2024.

This reduction in aggregate demand decreases the number of job vacancies further. Furthermore, the high inflation experienced from 2021 to 2023 could strain household finances, potentially leading to higher labour force participation rates as families need to supplement their income. Higher participation rates, lower job vacancies and continued immigration would increase unemployment.

With inflation heading towards the target and a weaker job market, the Bank of Canada will gradually lower its policy rate toward the neutral level. We expect the policy rate to reach 4.25% by the end of 2024.

Bank of Canada Rate Forecast for 2025: the Overnight Rate Declining by 1%

UPDATED January 12, 2023

By the end of 2025, the percolation of the effect of higher interest rates in the economy should become complete, and inflation is expected to return to the target of 2%. This would allow the Bank of Canada to bring its policy rate to neutral to support the job market.

However, we anticipate that reverse globalization caused by tensions between Western countries on the one side and China, Russia, and some smaller states will be an inflationary force. Additionally, transitioning to more sustainable energy sources will require significant investments in energy infrastructure. A high investment level would increase capital demand, which might increase the real interest rate. Due to the aforementioned factors and demographic changes, we expect the real neutral rate to be greater than the BoC’s estimation of 0%-1%. Thus, the BoC rate will settle significantly above its pre-pandemic levels.

Changes in the overnight rate (Bank of Canada (BoC) policy rate) as implied by the BAX futures contract traded on the Montreal Exchange. The underlying asset is the three-month Canadian dollar offered rate (CDOR) as of February 14, 2024. Canada’s prime rate can be calculated by adding 2.2% to the overnight rate.

Fixed Announce-ment DateLikelihood of BoC policy rate atisLikelihood of BoC policy rate atis
2024-03-184.75%10%5%90%
2024-06-175%44%4.75%56%
2024-09-184.5%44%4.75%56%
2024-12-184.25%58%4.5%42%
2025-03-194%56%4.25%44%
2025-06-183.75%32%4%68%
2025-09-173.75%96%4%4%
2025-12-173.5%44%3.75%56%
2026-03-183.5%80%3.75%20%

To see how the market thinks about the evolution of interest rates, we consider that depositing money with the BoC and buying treasuries are both riskless for a financial institution. So to maintain their liquidity, Canadian financial institutions would park their cash in either one, which offers a higher yield. As a result, the yield on a Canadian T bill should equal average of the expected BoC rate until T bill's maturity. This is called the expectation hypothesis.

The expectation hypothesis allows us to use yields on the money market instruments to derive market expectations for the BoC target policy rate. There are also many other interest rates in the market. Some of these rates allow us to infer the market's expectation of future interest rates more conveniently.

BAX contract prices are one of the rates which can conveniently suggest expectations for future changes to interest rates. BAX is a futures contract with the three-month reference Canadian Bankers Acceptance rate as the underlying price. The Investment Industry Regulatory Organisation of Canada (IIROC) publishes the reference for 1-month and 3-month Canadian Bankers’ Acceptance (BA) Rates based on actual transactions in the market. Prominent market participants (financial institutions) must report their trades to IIROC.

A BA is a loan made to a corporation but repaid by a commercial bank (from that corporation's line of credit with the bank). Because BAs are short-term and a commercial bank guarantees repayment, BA is a low-risk money market instrument.

BAX price implies the expectation of the market for the BA interest rate on the maturity date of the BAX contract. The difference between this rate and today’s BA rate implies the expected movement in the short-term interest rates on Canadian dollar debt.

Another way to conveniently calculate the market expectation of the likely changes in the BoC benchmark rate is using 1-month Canadian dollar offered rate (CDOR) forward contract rates as reported by Chatham Financial.

Between 1968 and 2001, interest rates were frequently greater than their current levels, but the Western economies, in general, and the Canadian economy, in particular, have changed considerably. Debt levels are much higher than during the 20th century, and tolerating high-interest rates is quite difficult in the 2020s.

General Government Gross Debt

Total Credit Liabilities of Households

General Government debt has multiplied by five since 1990, while household debt is multiplied by eight. Increasing household debt levels can also be deduced from rising income levels in combination with falling interest rates and largely stable debt service ratios.

Canadian Household Income

Canadian Household income is growing much faster than the population. Since 1990, the population has grown by around 44% while household income has increased by 265%. Inflation over this period has been 93%. So household income has increased by 32% if we adjust for both inflation and population growth.

Debt Service Ratio for Canadian Households

Debt Service Ratio
Mortgage Debt Service Ratio
Non Mortgage Debt Service Ratio

The total debt service ratio has increased from about 12% in the 1990s to approximately 14% in recent years. Note that interest rates for non-mortgage debt are often much higher than a mortgage. As a result, mortgage and non-mortgage debt service ratios are comparable, while mortgage debts are much larger than non-mortgage debts (about three-quarters of Canadian household debt is mortgage debt).

Canadian T-Bill Yields

1 Month
3 Month
6 Month
1 Year

Nature of Interest Rates

We can think of interest as a price for using money, yet interest differs from rent because money differs from real property. The intersection of the supply and demand curves for rental properties determines rents. Money is different from rental properties because the supply of money is unlimited.

Bank of Canada, Federal Reserve or any other central bank can buy an asset or make a loan by crediting the seller's or borrower's account. In this purchase or loan process, new money is created. More interestingly, when a commercial bank uses depositors’ money to make loans, it creates money. Because the depositors still have their money, while those who have received the loans also have the money and can spend it.

On the other hand, when a central bank sells an asset or receives a loan payment, money is destroyed. Similarly, when a commercial bank receives loan principal payments, money is destroyed (annihilated). This temporary nature of money allows policymakers to set its rent. In most countries, central banks are responsible for setting monetary policy.

In Canada, the Bank of Canada (BoC) has several responsibilities. The most important mandate of the Bank of Canada is achieving price stability. BoC has agreed with the Department of Finance to define price stability as having a 2% CPI inflation rate.

Importance of Mortgage Rates

Canadian homes’ average price is just under $650k. Thus, an average home buyer who has saved over 20% ($150k) for their down payment to reduce their risk and save on mortgage insurance premiums requires a mortgage of around $500k.

Currently, Canada’s interest rate environment is such that advertised mortgage rates range from 4.8% to over 7.5%. So if you are shopping for a mortgage, 5% is a very attractive rate depending on the term and features of your mortgage.

WOWA’s mortgage interest calculator shows that conservatively buying an average house with a competitive mortgage rate would translate into a monthly mortgage payment of $2,900, initially including $2,100 in interest costs.

The median after-tax income for a Canadian family is $68.4K per year, around $5,700 per month. It is easy to see that mortgage expenses are the most significant expense for a Canadian family. The mortgage expense is much more for those living in the most expensive Canadian population centers of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and the Greater Vancouver Area (GVA).

Interest Rate Determinants

Factors that push interest rates higherFactors that pull interest rates lower
High inflationLow inflation
Low savings rateHigh savings rate
Decreasing trade Increasing trade
Risk of defaultLoan security
Decrease in labour productivityIncrease in labour productivity
High employmentLow employment

How do Mortgage Lenders Fund Mortgages?

To understand how we can save on our mortgage costs, we should understand how mortgages work in Canada. A bank can use deposits it is holding to lend out a mortgage. The first problem with using depositor money for lending a mortgage is that those who have deposited their funds in a chequing account or a savings account might want their money back at any time.

In contrast, a mortgage borrower would repay his debt on a predetermined schedule over many years. So the bank would have to put aside some money to provide liquidity to its depositors.

Moreover, the bank might lose money on this loan if the borrower fails to make their scheduled payments and becomes delinquent. Thus such a mortgage would increase the amount of capital the bank requires. Still, because the loan is secured by real estate, it is pretty safe, and the added capital requirement it imposes on the bank is relatively small.

The three preceding paragraphs explained how a home equity line of credit (HELOC) works. HELOC interest rates are often slightly higher than the prime rate. Looking at variable mortgage interest rates, we see that most lenders offer rates well below the prime rates (and below HELOC rates). OSFI regulation imposes a HELOC limit of 65% of the property value. In comparison, conventional mortgages can be up to 80% of the property value, and high ratio (insured) mortgages can be up to 95% of the property value.

Because of their lower loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, HELOCs pose a lower risk to lenders than mortgages. We know an interest rate comprises a risk-free rate plus a risk premium. So why do HELOCs, despite their lower risk, have a higher rate than residential mortgages?

Mortgage rates are low because the National Housing Act created a legal framework to transform mortgages into safe and liquid assets. According to the National Housing Act (NHA), lenders can create a special legal entity (called a guarantor entity) and transfer their mortgages (after purchasing insurance for their conventional mortgages) into this entity which can issue what is called covered bonds.

Mortgages would serve as collateral for covered bonds. NHA also protects cover bond collateral from being affected by any bankruptcy proceedings. According to the NHA, the guarantor entity should be registered with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). These bonds are called covered bonds because a pool of assets covers them. This means that a pool of assets (loans) is their collateral.

The legal framework of covered bonds allows Canadian financial institutions to transform their mortgage loans into liquid assets. This framework allows them to offer mortgages with interest rates materially lower than their prime lending rates. A bank has both liquidity and capital requirements. From the liquidity standpoint, an illiquid loan would require a bank to put aside some liquid (often low-yielding) assets to maintain its liquidity ratio. From a capital perspective, a liquid asset can be sold in bad times and prevent diluting shareholders by raising capital. So a lender is willing to advance liquid loans at a much lower margin than illiquid loans.

What About Fixed Rate Mortgages?

Covered bond programs reduce the cost of funding mortgages for Canadian lenders by transforming their mortgage assets into liquid assets. The other issue relating to mortgages is that many borrowers are unwilling to accept interest rate risk. At the same time, the cost of money for a financial institution often changes in line with the risk-free interest rate. So lenders are expected to offer fixed-rate mortgages and must manage their interest rate risk when offering fixed-rate mortgages.

The interest rate of savings accounts often changes with the risk-free interest rate. Therefore using deposits to make loans at a fixed interest rate brings interest rate risk to a bank. To mitigate this risk, the bank has to hedge its exposure to changes in interest rates.

One can use interest rate swap contracts to hedge their exposure to interest rates. An interest rate swap is a financial arrangement which enables a stream of variable-rate interest payments to be exchanged for a stream of fixed-rate interest payments.

Several types of swaps are available, including

  • Interest rate swaps: These swaps involve exchanging interest payments based on a notional principal amount. The parties involved agree to exchange interest payments based on fixed and floating rates. This type of swap is commonly used to manage interest rate risk.
  • Currency swaps: Currency swaps involve exchanging the principal and interest payments in one currency for the principal and interest payments in another. Multinational corporations often use this type of swap to manage exchange rate risk.
  • Commodity swaps: Commodity swaps involve exchanging cash flows based on the price of a particular commodity, such as natural gas or oil price. Energy (oil) companies commonly use this type of swap to manage price risk.
  • Equity swaps: Equity swaps involve exchanging cash flows based on the performance of a particular stock or stock index. Investors commonly use this type of swap to gain exposure to a particular stock or market, e.g., the S&P TSX index.
  • Credit default swaps: Credit default swaps involve exchanging cash flows based on the occurrence of a credit event, such as a default on a particular bond or loan. Investors commonly use this type of swap to manage credit risk.

A common form of interest rate swaps is called OIS. OIS stands for "Overnight Index Swap." It is a type of interest rate swap in which the two parties involved exchange the difference between an overnight interest rate index and a fixed interest rate.

The overnight interest rate index used in an OIS is typically the overnight interbank lending rate, such as the Federal Funds Rate in the United States, the Euro Overnight Index Average (EONIA) in the Eurozone, or the Sterling Overnight Index Average (SONIA) in the United Kingdom. However, the two parties involved in the swap agree on the fixed interest rate.

The purpose of an OIS is to manage interest rate risk by providing a way for market participants to protect themselves from fluctuations in overnight rates. Market participants with cash positions exposed to overnight rates can use OIS to hedge or mitigate that risk.

OIS is typically settled daily, with the swap value recalculated daily based on the current overnight index rate. This means that the swap value can change daily, depending on the movement of the overnight index rate.

The calculators and content on this page are provided for general information purposes only. WOWA does not guarantee the accuracy of information shown and is not responsible for any consequences of the use of the calculator.