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LowestRates.ca conventional mortgage rates vs. high ratio mortgage rates

You can start a quote for a number of different mortgage products on LowestRates.ca, though the two main types are conventional and high ratio mortgages. The key difference between these two types of mortgages is whether you’re able to put down 20% of the purchase price of the home as a down payment. Conventional mortgages refer to mortgages with at least 20% down. High-ratio mortgages refer to those with less than 20% down, which also means homebuyers need to purchase mortgage insurance. Below, you’ll find a comparison of high ratio versus conventional mortgage rates in Alberta over the past several months. And keep in mind, high ratio mortgage rates are often lower because these mortgages are insured by the CMHC - but you’re also paying for additional mortgage insurance. It’s important to speak with an advisor about what works for you.

Conventional 5-year fixed Mortgage rates vs. High Ratio 5-year fixed Mortgage rates in Alberta

MonthAverage Conventional RateAverage High Ratio Rate
04/202.95%2.62%
05/202.6%2.39%
06/202.43%2.16%
07/202.20%2.00%
08/202.16%1.95%

Last Updated: October 7th, 2020

Our 5-year fixed rates vs. our 5-year variable rates

Starting the mortgage application process with LowestRates.ca can help you secure the best mortgage rate on your Calgary home and help you save thousands of dollars. One of the most important decisions you’ll make while hunting for a mortgage is whether to go with a fixed or a variable rate, and regardless of which you choose, current interest rates on Calgary mortgages have never been lower

Variable rates are historically lower than fixed rates. Over the past year, though, both mortgage types have been almost equal but fixed rates have actually averaged out to be a fraction of a percentage point lower.

5-year fixed vs. 5-year variable Mortgage rates in Alberta

MonthAverage LR.ca 5-year fixed rateAverage LR.ca 5-year variable rate
09/192.36%2.64%
10/192.43%2.65%
11/192.35%2.67%
12/192.39%2.70%
01/202.57%2.70%
02/202.43%2.70%
03/202.32%2.22%
04/203.64%2.31%
05/202.36%2.06%
06/202.14%2.06%
07/202.09%1.91%
08/202.03%1.89%

Last Updated: October 7th, 2020

Focus On

Calgary Housing

The housing market in Calgary has remained steady for the past year. As mortgage rates and house prices in Calgary are connected, we thought we’d give you an overview. Single-detached housing prices fluctuating between $510,000 and $550,000. Townhouse prices experienced a similar trend, though had slightly more price fluctuation with a range of $367,000 to $446,000 over the past year.

Take a look at the graphs below to get an idea of how the housing market in Calgary has changed in the past 10 months.

Single-detached home and townhouse prices

MonthSingle-detachedTownhouse
06/19$537,807$400,426
07/19$519,949$404,511
08/19$538,437$378,082
09/19$541,577$368,517
10/19$528,025$401,874
11/19$536,437$367,210
12/19$513,590$371,201
01/20$532,626$368,837
02/20$514,778$413,955
03/20$543,074$382,937
04/20$510,704$445,614
05/20$507,340$357,931
06/20$529,034$353,193
07/20$531,856$357,106
08/20$543,614$385,609
09/20$550,878$380,145

Last Updated: October 7th, 2020

Source: Zolo

Your Calgary mortgage questions, answered.

Looking for mortgage info? Check out our Homebuyers Guide .

What’s the difference between a variable and fixed mortgage?

While variable rates and fixed rates on LowestRates.ca are closer than they’ve ever been in years, there are some key differences to be aware of.

A fixed rate is just like it sounds. FIxed. Your rates will stay the same for the duration of your mortgage term. On the other hand, a variable rate means that your rate could be adjusted based on market conditions. In 2019, 67% of homebuyers in Toronto opted for a fixed rate while the other 33% selected a variable rate. However, fixed rates have been almost equal to variable rates over the past year. This makes mortgage rate comparisons for Calgary home buyers even more difficult.

What’s the difference between a mortgage term and an amortization period?

Mortgage term: A mortgage term is often confused with an amortization period. A mortgage term is the length of time you’re committed to the terms and the conditions of your mortgage contract — including the rate and your lender. In Canada, the most popular mortgage term is five years. However, terms can range anywhere from six months to 10 years. At the end of your term you’ll renew your mortgage contract for the unpaid principal at a new rate.

Amortization period: The amortization period refers to the duration of time it will take you to pay off your mortgage loan in full with interest. In Canada, the maximum amortization period is 35 years, but if your down payment is less than 20% of the value of the home, your maximum amortization period is 25 years. You’ll also be required to purchase mortgage insurance from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

What other costs are involved with buying a house in Calgary?

In addition to finding the cheapest mortgage rates, Calgary homebuyers will also need to think about these additional costs that come with purchasing a home in the city:

Down payment: A down payment refers to the amount of money you’ll pay a seller upfront. In Canada, you’re legally required to put down a specified percentage of your home’s total home price. Here are the rules according to the federal government:

  • A home that costs $500,000 or less - 5% of the purchase price
  • A home that costs $500,000 to $999,999 - 5% of the first $500,000 of the purchase price, and 10% for the portion above the purchase price above $500,000
  • A home that costs $1 million or more - 20% of the purchase price

Land transfer tax or fee: Alberta is one of the few provinces in Canada that doesn’t charge a Land Transfer Tax. This means that finding the cheapest mortgage interest rates in Calgary will take you even further when it comes to savings. Don’t skip this section though. You’re still required to pay the province a land transfer registration fee and a mortgage registration fee to consider, but these are usually considerably lower than land transfer taxes.

Tax credits: There are a number of tax credits you may be eligible for when purchasing a home. They include:

  • The Federal Home Accessibility Tax (HATC) for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities: This non-refundable tax credit is available for homeowners who are aged 65+ before the end of the tax year or who have a disability. This credit allows you to claim up to $10,000 in renovation expenses. This credit is applicable country wide.
  • First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit: This is a $5,000 non-refundable tax credit designed to help buyers manage the closing costs of purchasing a new home. This credit is applicable across Canada.

Home insurance: While home insurance technically isn’t legally required in Canada, you’ll be hard pressed to find a lender who will give you a mortgage without one. Home insurance protects your home from perils that insurance companies are willing to cover. These are also referred to as “insured perils.”

What incentives are there to buy a home in Calgary?

The government offers first-time buyers financing of up to 5% of the price of a home (up to 10% if it’s a new-build). If you decide to use the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, you’re entering a mortgage with the Government of Canada. You also need to pay the government back when you sell the home or after 25 years — whichever comes first.

How are mortgage rates calculated in Calgary?

Your down payment: The size of your down payment factors significantly into determining your mortgage rate. This is because, the larger your down payment, the less money your lender needs to advance you. The size of your down payment is a signal to lenders about how capable you are of paying off your mortgage. When it comes to down payments, the more you can put down, the better.

  • Your debt service ratios: Calgary lenders look at a number of other factors when calculating your mortgage rates. These are known as debt ratios and can be grouped into two categories:
    • Gross Debt Service Ratio (GDS): To calculate your GDS, lenders determine how much of your monthly income will be used to cover housing costs. This includes your mortgage, property taxes, heating costs and 50% of your condo fees (if applicable). The lender then divides this by your gross annual income. If the result is lower than 35%, your lender will feel confident in your ability to handle your monthly housing costs.

Total Debt Service Ratio: Your TDS ratio is everything that comprises your GDS ratio plus any other monthly payments you have to make. These could include things like credit card debt, loan payments and car payments. The total is divided by your income. If the result is less than 42%, your lender will be confident that you earn enough to make all your monthly payments.

How are mortgage rates determined on LowestRates.ca?

LowestRates.ca works with our partners to consolidate their best deals and offers, and then we let them compete for your business. We work with more than 30 banks and brokers across the country to bring you the best rates from lenders in Calgary.

How much does getting a lower interest rate matter in Calgary?

Getting the best mortgage rates is one great way to save money on your mortgage, but it’s one of many things you can do to increase the overall affordability of your mortgage. Some of these features might include prepayment privileges and portability.

  • Prepayment privileges: Not all banks and brokers offer the same prepayment terms, however, so it’s important to raise it before you sign your contract. Before signing on the dotted line, prepayment privileges are something you should discuss with your lender

Portability: One way to avoid these penalties is to negotiate a portable mortgage. This means that if you move, you can transfer your mortgage to a new home and combine it with an additional mortgage loan.

Penalties: If, for whatever reason, you need to break your mortgage, you may be required to pay thousands of dollars in penalties. While you may wind up with a better rate if you choose to go with a different lender, it’s important to look at the fine print to ensure that it won’t cost you more than you’ll gain.

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