Variable rates are expected to stay low until at least 2023, whereas fixed rates are on the rise.
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Conventional vs. high-ratio mortgages: which is cheaper?
On LowestRates.ca, customers can start an application for a number of different mortgage products. The two main types of mortgages you can apply for include conventional mortgages and high-ratio mortgages. A conventional mortgage means that the homebuyer has put at least 20% of the property’s purchase price down. With this type of mortgage, the homebuyer does not have to purchase mortgage insurance from the CMHC.
A high ratio mortgage, on the other hand, is where homeowners put down less than 20% of the purchase price as a down payment, which means they’re required to purchase mortgage insurance from the CMHC. Below, you’ll see a comparison of high ratio mortgages and conventional mortgages to get a sense of Ontario’s average mortgage rates and Hamilton’s rate, by extension.
Conventional 5-year fixed mortgage rates vs. high ratio 5-year fixed mortgage rates in Ontario
|Date||Average Conventional Rate||Average High Ratio Rate|
Last Updated: April 1, 2021
Fixed rate vs. variable rate mortgages: which is cheaper?
When hunting for the best mortgage rates in Hamilton, it’s important to compare different offers. One question homebuyers continue to face: how do the current best variable rates compare to the best fixed rates in Hamilton?
To find the answer, we compared the 5-year variable mortgage rates and 5-year fixed mortgage rates Ontario shoppers — Hamilton included — have applied for on our site.
We discovered that whether you go with a fixed or variable rate on LowestRates.ca, you’re getting a great deal. Since late 2020, our 5-year fixed mortgage rates and our 5-year variable rates have been on par with each other. Keep reading to learn more about the difference between fixed and variable mortgage rates in Hamilton.
5-year fixed vs. 5-year variable mortgage rates in Ontario
Last Updated: April 1, 2021
Factors that affect your Hamilton mortgage rate
Lenders have a set of criteria they examine when determining whether to give your mortgage application their stamp of approval, along with what mortgage rates to propose. Here is what lenders consider when they calculate a mortgage rate for a Hamilton home.
Down payment: This is one of the biggest factors when determining your Hamilton mortgage loan. The bigger the down payment you make, the smaller your loan will be. This will also dictate your mortgage rate. Typically, Canadians must make a down payment between 5% and 20% of their home’s total cost. Here is what the federal government outlines:
- 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
If you’re unable to make a down payment of 20% or more, you’ll be required to buy CMHC mortgage insurance.
Debt service ratios: When calculating a best mortgage rate, lenders in Hamilton consider your gross debt service ratio (GDS) and your total debt service ratio (TDS).
Gross debt service ratio (GDS): Your GDS is based on how much you’ll be spending on housing costs, such as your mortgage, property taxes, heating costs and condo fees (if you purchase a condo). This number is then divided by your gross annual income. If the final number comes to more than 35%, your lender may have doubts about your ability to pay your bills.
Total debt service ratio (TDS): A TDS ratio expands on your GDS ratio by including other monthly financial responsibilities, such as credit card debt, car payments, and any other loan payments. This number is then divided by your income. You want to aim for a number of 42% or less, otherwise your lender will have some scepticism about your ability to meet your monthly bills.
Credit score: Credit scores in Canada run from 300 to 900, with traditional mortgage lenders only considering applications with a minimum score of 650, giving preference to candidates in the 700 and up range. A high credit score let’s lenders know that you’re typically good to pay back the money. A low score signifies that you’re a risky candidate. To get the lowest mortgage rates in Hamilton, you will definitely want to ensure your credit score is as high as possible.
Income: Mortgage companies in Hamilton will want to look at all sources of income before making any financial decisions. They will examine your salary, any rental income or investments, and type of employment you currently have, whether that’s full-time, casual, temporary or seasonal. If you’re self-employed, they may apply more scrutiny, looking at tax returns from the past three years; any articles of incorporation, business or GST licenses; your business credit score; and income statements, balance statements, and cash flow statements.
Typical mortgage amount in Hamilton
The size of a typical mortgage varies based on location, your down payment and your mortgage interest rate in Hamilton.
In November 2020, the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) said that the average price of a home in Hamilton stood at $721,000. For a buyer with a 20% down payment ($144,200), the mortgage would be $576,800. Buyers will also need to tack on the amount of interest paid over the duration of the mortgage, which is dependent on the mortgage interest rate and amortization period.
If your down payment is less than 20%, you’ll be obligated to purchase CMHC mortgage insurance, which will add a greater expense to your total housing costs. You can lower your costs by comparison shopping for the best mortgage rates in Hamilton, Canada.
Hamilton’s housing market and home prices
Compared to its neighbour Toronto, homes in Hamilton remain a bargain. However, shrinking supply and intensifying demand have been pushing prices up. In late 2020, the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported that an ongoing shortage of housing inventory was leading to increased housing costs.
Specifically, the average sale price for a single-detached family home in Hamilton jumped up 25% from $576,700 in November 2019 to $721,000 in November 2020.
Townhouses in Hamilton are not significantly cheaper, either. On average, they sell for $672,730. The average listing price for a condo is $656,631.
Hamilton closing costs and land transfer tax
In addition to your mortgage, you’ll need to consider the closing costs associated with your home purchase. It’s usually recommended to budget 1.5% of the home’s purchase price to cover these expenses, not including your down payment. Closing costs may include some of the following:
- Title insurance
- Mortgage default insurance (if applicable)
- Property valuation fees
- Home inspection fees
- Legal fees
- Home Insurance
- Provincial sales tax (PST) on CMHC insurance
- Goods and services tax (GST) or harmonized sales tax (HST) for those purchasing a brand new home or condo
Closing costs in Hamilton also include a provincial land transfer tax. Ontario uses the following guidelines to determine that expense:
|Purchase Price||Tax Rate|
|$2 million +||2.5%|
For instance, on a home worth $500,000, you’d pay $6,475 in land transfer taxes.
Your questions about Hamilton mortgages, answered.
What’s the difference between a mortgage term and an amortization period?
Before signing a mortgage contact these are some good terms to know:
Mortgage term: A mortgage term is the amount of time borrowers are committed to their mortgage contract with their lender. When the term ends, borrowers can negotiate a new rate with their current lender or move to a new lender. Mortgage terms in Canada can last anywhere from six months to 10 years.
Amortization period: The amortization period describes the total length of time it takes to pay down your loan’s principal and interest. In Canada, the amortization period can go up to 35 years. However, if you make a down payment that’s less than 20%, you’ll be required to buy CMHC mortgage insurance, which limits your maximum amortization period to 25 years.
What’s the difference between an open mortgage vs. a closed mortgage?
Fixed or variable mortgage rates aren’t the only things to consider when doing a comparison of mortgage rates in Hamilton. Homeowners also need to decide between an open mortgage and a closed mortgage.
Open mortgage: Open mortgages are designed for homeowners interested in making extra mortgage payments, paying down their mortgage early and/or thinking of moving before their mortgage is paid off. Open mortgages provide a lot more flexibility than closed mortgages but that comes with a price: today’s open mortgage interest rates in Hamilton are usually higher.
Closed mortgage: While closed mortgage rates are the best in Hamilton, Canada, if solely looking at interest rates, they do require making consistent payments on a set schedule for the entire duration of the mortgage. Homeowners will receive a penalty if they wish to refinance, renegotiate, or pay down the closed mortgage before the term has ended. Some lenders do make exceptions, however. You’ll have to read the terms and conditions of your mortgage closely.
How much does it cost to live in Hamilton?
The cost of living in Hamilton largely depends on which neighbourhood you hang your hat and whether or not you drive or use public transit. Currently, Hamilton public transit is built around bus services.
If you opt to purchase a car, mortgage rates for Hamilton houses may not be your only financial concern. You’ll also need to add auto insurance to your monthly expenses. If you’re relocating to Ontario, you may be surprised to learn that the province has some of the highest auto insurance rates in Canada. You can use a comparison tool on LowestRates.ca to shop around for the best auto insurance prices.
How much does getting a lower interest rate matter in Hamilton?
Finding the lowest mortgage interest rate in Hamilton is just one piece of the home purchasing puzzle. You’ll also want to consider prepayment privileges, penalties and portability:
Prepayment privileges: Prepayment privileges let you pay down your mortgage in advance without receiving any penalties. Banks and brokers have their own rules when it comes to this, so you’ll want to ask for clarification before signing any contracts.
Penalties: Homeowners can wind up paying thousands of dollars as a penalty for paying down a mortgage early. This typically occurs if a homeowner wants to refinance the mortgage or move to another location. Sometimes taking a penalty is part of a strategic move to obtain a better rate, but you’ll need to do the math to determine whether it’s ultimately worth it in the end.
Portability: One tip for potentially avoiding a penalty is to arrange for a portable mortgage. That way, if you do want to buy and move into another home, you can transfer your mortgage to the new property.
Your questions about LowestRates.ca, answered.
How are mortgage rates determined on LowestRates.ca?
LowestRates.ca works with multiple banks and brokers to bring you competitive mortgage rates from lenders in Canada and we’re always adding new ones. We work with our partners to obtain their best deals and offers, and then we let them compete for your business. All you have to do is answer a few questions, and in minutes you’ll be provided with today’s mortgage rates. There’s no obligation, but you can choose to speak with our broker partner to secure your best rate and see if you're eligible for more savings.
Is it safe to get a mortgage online?
Yes, it’s safe — you no longer need to visit a bank branch or mortgage broker’s office in person to apply for a mortgage. It’s becoming increasingly common for Canadians to apply for mortgages online. LowestRates.ca only works with reputable, trustworthy financial institutions. Your credit score won’t be affected and your information is secure. We don’t share your information with anyone unless you want to connect with a mortgage broker. We take care of the heavy lifting by comparing the market for you and can connect you with the best mortgage lenders in the country.
How do I know I’m getting the lowest rate?
We have a strong selection of lenders on LowestRates.ca including the big banks and many independent providers and we’re adding more lenders all the time. This ensures we’re always delivering you a competitive rate. Even if you’re not ready to commit to anything, you can use our site as a starting point for research (it’s totally free, and you’re under no obligation).
The better informed you are, the more likely you'll negotiate a better deal for yourself. And, really, that’s what we care about the most.
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