True North Mortgage
British Columbia has a population of 5.1 million as of January 2021 and accounted for 20.5% of all new housing under construction in Canada. The average home price in the Greater Vancouver area rose 15% year-over-year in June 2021 to over $1.17 million, making the Vancouver housing market one of the most expensive real estate markets in Canada, alongside Toronto. In comparison, housing prices in Northern B.C. average at over $380,000, while Vancouver Island’s average is at $665,000 as of June 2021.
That’s not to say that Vancouver is the only area in British Columbia that is currently seeing significant growth. The average home price in B.C. grew by 22.2% year-over-year according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) with a provincial average home price of $910,000, meaning that growth in Greater Vancouver of under 15% year-over-year is slightly trailing below the provincial average. Even then, housing prices in Vancouver can make it difficult to afford a mortgage. The opposite was true for the volume of transactions. Unit sales of houses increased 34.7% provincially, compared to 53.2% for Vancouver.
70% of homes sold in British Columbia in 2020 were multi-unit homes, while 30% were single detached homes. Total home registrations for multi-unit homes decreased by 38.6%, while single detached homes increased by 5.8%. A large proportion of homes sold in British Columbia was in the Metro Vancouver area, at 43%, including Surrey, Langley, White Rock, Burnaby, Richmond, Coquitlam, North Vancouver, and Delta. The Central Okanagan Valley region also saw large growth led by Kelowna.
When looking for a mortgage, it is important to compare different lenders in order to find the best mortgage rate that is available for you. British Columbia’s large population means that there is a significant amount of mortgage lenders available for you to choose from. The Big Banks, including RBC, TD, Scotiabank, CIBC, and BMO are of course available, but there are also mortgage lender options that are only available within the province. This includes credit unions, B lenders, monolines, and private lenders.
|Lender||Number of Branches in BC|
|Coast Capital Savings||52|
|Coastal Community Credit Union||24|
|Prospera Credit Union||23|
|Interior Savings Credit Union||21|
|Canadian Western Bank||17|
|G&F Financial Group||16|
|BlueShore Financial Credit Union||13|
|Kootenay Savings Credit Union||11|
|Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union||9|
|Integris Credit Union||8|
|Khalsa Credit Union||6|
|Aldergrove Credit Union||6|
|Greater Vancouver Community Credit Union||5|
|Northern Savings Credit Union||4|
|Sunshine Coast Credit Union||3|
|Laurentian Bank||Through B2B Bank|
|First National||Brokers across BC|
|CMLS||Brokers across BC|
|MCAP||Brokers across BC|
|Canada Life||Advisors across BC|
|Investors Group||Advisors across BC|
Branch data as of July 2021.
British Columbia is home to 42 credit unions and also has the largest number of credit union members in Canada, at 1.9 million members. That means just over 40% of all people in British Columbia are members of a credit union. In comparison, only 11% of people in Ontario are members. Along with having the most assets in Canada at $72 billion, credit unions have a major presence in B.C and offer competitive credit union mortgage rates.
Vancity is the largest credit union in Canada outside of Quebec according to the Canadian Credit Union Association. Coast Capital Savings, another B.C. credit union, is the third largest, followed by First West Credit Union at number five and Prospera Credit Union at number seven. These credit unions offer mortgages for properties within British Columbia only. Some private mortgage lenders include Antrim Investment and Cove Mortgage.
Vancity is the largest credit union in British Columbia and describes itself as Canada's largest community credit union. In addition to fixed and variable rate mortgages, Vancity also offers construction mortgages, home renovation financing, mixer mortgages to share costs with co-owners, and creditline mortgages that have a credit limit that increases as you pay off the balance. Vancity’s creditline mortgage would work well with the Smith Maneuver, a strategy that lets you make your mortgage interest tax-deductible.
One way that Vancity rewards members is through their Shared Success program, where they return 30% of their net profits back to members and the community. In 2020, Vancity shared $13.9 million, with half going to Vancity members as a bonus or rebate, and half going to the community.
Vancity's Shared Success Patronage account is where your profit-sharing rebates or bonuses will go. For Vancity mortgages, you'll receive a 0.18% rebate on interest paid on the mortgage. For interest earned on registered and non-registered chequing and savings accounts, the bonus is 0.58%.
Coast Capital Savings is a credit union that describes itself as Canada's largest credit union by membership, with branches and members from Vancouver Island to the Okanagan. Coast Capital gives back 7% of their pre-tax earnings to the community through youth initiatives.
Coast Capital is British Columbia's first federal credit union, which means that they can operate nationally. Coast Capital is regulated federally by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) and is a member of the CDIC, so your eligible deposits are insured.
Coast Capital lets you renew your mortgage 210 days early before your mortgage maturity. You can lock in your rate 120 days before renewal, and they offer weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, and monthly mortgage payment options.
One special mortgage product that Coast Capital offers is reverse mortgages. Coast Capital’s reverse mortgages require you to be 55 years of age or over, and you'll need to have a minimum home value of $250,000.
Coastal Community Credit Union has 24 branches on Vancouver Island, from Port Hardy to Victoria. Coastal Community Credit Union's One Grand Plan gives you $1,000 towards the down payment on your first home if you save at least $100 monthly to your One Grand Plan savings account.
Their mortgages are re-advanceable, which means that you can re-borrow the amounts that you have paid with no extra fees.
Prospera merged with Westminster Savings Credit Union to form Prospera Credit Union in 2020. Prospera gives up to 5% cashback on mortgages, up to $25,000 in cashback, and offers amortizations of up to 30 years. You'll also be guaranteed to be approved for a $5,000 line of credit if you are approved for a conventional Prospera mortgage. If you have a high-ratio insured Prospera mortgage, then you'll be eligible for $1,500 overdraft protection.
Prospera mortgages have a 3 month rate lock, and they offer weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly mortgage payment options. You will need to be a resident of British Columbia to be eligible for a Prospera mortgage.
Interior Savings has 21 branches throughout the Okanagan and Thompson area, including Kelowna, Penicton, and Kamloops.
Interior Savings offers a cashback mortgage that gives 5% of your mortgage amount as cash, but they'll add 1% to your mortgage rate. This can help with costs such as home renovations or BC real estate commissions if you’re also selling a home. Other mortgage options include mortgages for recreational properties, mobile homes, lease land loans, and construction mortgages.
There are over 40 credit unions that operate within British Columbia and offer mortgages for BC properties. Some of British Columbia’s credit unions include:
British Columbia mortgage brokers can help you get some of the lowest mortgage rates in BC, and can compare multiple BC mortgage lenders for you. Mortgage brokers can also connect you to BC private mortgage lenders.
In British Columbia, "Mortgage Brokers" are mortgage brokerages, while "Submortgage Brokers" are those employed by a mortgage brokerage. Mortgage brokers are not required to have errors and omissions insurance in British Columbia. Individuals can also be registered as a sole proprietor mortgage brokerage. BC mortgage brokers need to follow the Land Owner Transparency Act (LOTA) and Business Corporations Act.
Mortgage Brokers in British Columbia are regulated by the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA), formally known as the Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM). Mortgage brokers must be licensed by the BCFSA for you to be protected under the B.C. Mortgage Brokers Act. You can check to see if your mortgage broker is licensed at BCFSA’s website.
Some members of the Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association British Columbia (CMBA-BC) include First National, Invis, Accredit Mortgage, Community Trust, Peoples Trust, and XMC Mortgage Corporation.
There’s over 1,000 sub-mortgage brokers that are members of the Canadian Mortgage Brokers Association British Columbia. Some notable mortgage brokers in BC include:
Other BC mortgage brokers include:
Banks in British Columbia are federally regulated by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OFSI). Banks in British Columbia that are members of the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) will also need to follow CDIC’s by-laws.
Credit unions in British columbia are provincially regulated by the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA), formally known as the Financial Institutions Commission (FICOM). Provincial laws that BCFSA administers include the Credit Union Incorporation Act, Financial Institutions Act, and the Mortgage Brokers Act.
BC credit unions offer unlimited deposit insurance if they are a member of the BC Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (CUDIC). CUDIC covers all deposits at BC credit unions, except for investments, for an unlimited amount. In comparison, Ontario's provincial deposit insurance also covers up to $100,000, while Quebec covers up to $250,000.
Not all BC credit unions are members of the CUDIC. For a full list of CUDIC insured credit unions, visit BCFSA’s website. You can also search to see if your BC Mortgage broker is regulated by the BCFSA.
|Regulators||Laws and Regulations|
|Banks||Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC)|
Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI)
Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC)
|The Bank Act|
|Credit Unions||BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA)|
Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation (CUDIC)
|Credit Union Incorporation Act|
Financial Institutions Act
|Mortgage Brokers||BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA)||Mortgage Brokers Act|
If a borrower defaults on their mortgage in British Columbia, the BC Land Title Act gives the mortgage lender rights to help them recover their losses. In BC, foreclosure is used by lenders to sell the property to recover their losses, unlike power of sale in Ontario and some Atlantic provinces.
British Columbia has among the lowest mortgage delinquency rates in Canada. According to the Canadian Bankers Association, there were 987 mortgages in arrears in BC in 2021, accounting for 0.14% of all BC mortgages. Mortgages are considered to be in arrears if mortgage payments have been missed for three or more months. This 0.14% arrears rate is lower than the Canadian average of 0.21%.
The CMHC’s published mortgage delinquency rates also look at mortgages that are more than 90 days past-due. BC’s mortgage delinquency rate was 0.16% for Q1 2021, lower than the Canadian average of 0.25%. In comparison, BC’s mortgage delinquency rate was 0.43% in Q1 2013, higher than the national average.
|2013 (Q1)||2021 (Q1)|
Mortgage defaults can be reversed if you reinstate the mortgage by paying the mortgage arrears that are past-due. A mortgage default will cause the lender to start the foreclosure process if you don't repay, usually after three months of being delinquent.
During foreclosure, there will be a redemption period that allows the borrower to repay the mortgage balance. In British Columbia, the redemption period must be at least six months. Once the redemption period is over, the lender can then ask for an order for conduct of sale, which is a court order that allows the lender to sell your home.
If the lender doesn't want to sell the property, the lender can obtain a final order of foreclosure to transfer the property title to the lender.
If your home is being foreclosed, you have two options during the redemption period:
The redemption period is usually six months. If you try to sell the home during the redemption period, you'll use the proceeds to pay off the mortgage, along with any other creditors, such as BC property tax. Any surplus left over is yours to keep, but you'll need to make up for any differences if the sale of your home doesn't cover your mortgage balance.
Your lender can ask for a court order to end the redemption period early. This is often the case if there’s little equity in the home. Once the redemption period is over and the lender is granted an order for conduct of sale, you cannot try to sell the home. Only the lender can sell the home. You can be sued if the sale of the home doesn’t cover the mortgage.
Due to British Columbia’s high home prices, mortgages in BC are larger than those seen in other provinces. According to the CMHC, the average new mortgage balance in British Columbia was $454,000 in 2021, much higher than the Canadian average of $335,000.
British Columbians also pay larger mortgage payments due to their higher average mortgage balance. In 2021, the average mortgage payment for Vancouver was $1,975 per month, higher than the Canadian average of $1,358. Such large mortgages means that a small difference in your BC mortgage rate can mean thousands of dollars savings or paying extra in mortgage interest.
|City||Average New Mortgage (Q1 2021)|
|British Columbia Average||$454,976|
Let’s look at the average BC mortgage of $454,000 for a new home buyer in BC with a 5-year fixed term and 25-year mortgage amortization. The best BC mortgage rates as of July 2021 was 1.54%. This would give a $1,823 monthly mortgage payment, with $31,900 paid in mortgage interest over the 5-year mortgage term.
If your mortgage rate was 1.74%, your monthly mortgage payment would now be $1,866, with $36,173 paid in interest over the same 5-years. This 0.20% difference in BC mortgage rates meant that you’ll be paying an extra $4,273 due to interest alone.
Looking at the next best mortgage rate in BC offered by a major bank, you'll get a 5-year fixed rate of 2.34%. Your monthly mortgage payment will increase to $1,998 with $48,877 of interest costs. Choosing the lowest mortgage rate in BC will not only reduce your monthly mortgage payment, but it can also save you thousands of dollars from interest savings.
|City||Average Monthly Mortgage Payment (Q1 2021)|
The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) expects the 5-year average discounted mortgage rate in British Columbia to stay in the low 2% into 2022. It's then predicted that British Columbia mortgage rates will rise to 2.5% by the end of 2022, a slight increase from today's BC mortgage rates of around 2%. This follows projections of the Bank of Canada rate and Prime Rate to remain at their current lows until 2022, but to swiftly increase afterwards. Similarly, the qualifying rate for the mortgage stress test is expected to stay at 5.25% until the end of 2022.
|Q1 2020||Q2 2020||Q3 2020||Q4 2020||Q1 2021||Q2 20211||Q3 20211||Q4 20211||Q1 20221||Q2 20221||Q3 20221||Q4 20221|
|5-Year Qualifying Rate||5.04%||4.94%||4.79%||4.79%||4.79%||5.25%||5.25%||5.25%||5.25%||5.25%||5.25%||5.25%|
|5-Year Discounted Rate||2.80%||2.94%||1.95%||1.95%||2.05%||2.10%||2.10%||2.25%||2.25%||2.35%||2.45%||2.50%|
According to Super Brokers, the busiest season for mortgage applications in British Columbia is from January to June. Applications then taper off into the fall, before reaching a low in December. The busiest days for mortgage applications in BC are Monday and Tuesday, while Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were the least popular. The median age of a mortgage applicant in British Columbia is 38 years old. The average income of applicants varies by regions. For example, the average income of mortgage applicants in Vancouver is $72,500, while it is $50,200 in Nanaimo.
Housing prices in British Columbia, and particularly in Metro Vancouver, have been consistently among the most expensive in Canada. Elevated housing costs contribute to BC’s high cost of living. Looking from 2010 to 2020, home prices in Vancouver have almost doubled. In 2010, the average price of a two-storey home in Vancouver was $1,007,500, according to the Royal LePage. In 2020, the average two-storey home price in Vancouver was $2,113,500, which means that two-storey home prices have more than doubled in ten years. Looking at annualized return over this 10-year period, two-storey home prices grew by 7.69% a year.
Other property types had smaller gains, but still significant growth. In 2010, condominiums had an average price of $484,500 in Vancouver. In 2020, the average price of a condo is now $784,000, an over 60% increase in 10 years. Meanwhile, detached bungalows rose from $891,500 in 2010 to $1,424,000 in 2020 for just under a 60% gain in price.
Similar price appreciation in housing is seen across BC. In Victoria, a two-storey house had an average price of $480,000 in 2010, increasing to $967,000 in 2020.
|Property Type||Average 2010 Prices||Average 2015 Prices||Average 2020 Prices||10-Year Price Change||Annualized Price Change|
Source: Royal LePage
In British Columbia, the Property Law Act and Mortgage Brokers Act gives you protections and rights as a borrower (mortgagor). As a borrower, you have the right to request your lender to send you a statement that shows information such as the mortgage principal remaining, interest due, amount payable to discharge, the cost of discharge. These statements must be given for free.
Mortgage transactions in BC are covered by the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act. Disclosure statements must be given to the borrower at least 2 business days before the mortgage agreement is signed.
Mortgage borrowers that cancel optional services and give 30 days' notice, such as for mortgage life insurance or mortgage protection insurance, are entitled to a refund for amounts paid.
For BC mortgage renewals, lenders must notify the borrower at least 21 days before the mortgage term ends. Borrowers have the right to fully repay the mortgage balance within the 21 days without any mortgage penalties or charges, and if the mortgage is repaid, then the lender must refund the borrower of any renewal charges that were applied beforehand.