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Conventional vs. high-ratio mortgages: which is cheaper?

Using, online visitors can apply for one of two types of mortgages: a conventional mortgage or a high-ratio mortgage.

Conventional mortgages and high-ratio mortgages differ in that the former requires a down payment of more than 20% of the purchasing price of the home and the latter allows a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price.

If buyers opt for a high-ratio mortgage, they must also purchase mortgage insurance from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Check out the chart below to compare conventional mortgages versus high-ratio mortgages in London.

Conventional 5-year fixed mortgage rates vs. high ratio 5-year fixed mortgage rates in Ontario

DateAverage Conventional RateAverage High Ratio Rate
04/20 2.76%2.58%
05/20 2.40%2.26%
06/20 2.26%2.18%
07/20 2.10%1.96%
08/20 1.97%1.83%
09/20 1.90%1.77%
10/20 1.90%1.79%
11/20 1.85%1.71%
12/20 1.82%1.64%
01/21 1.81%1.65%
02/21 1.69%1.60%
03/21 1.91%1.75%

Last Updated: April 1, 2021

Fixed rate vs. variable rate mortgages: which is cheaper?

When considering the cheapest mortgage rates in London, you’ll want to weigh the costs of a fixed rate mortgage against a variable rate mortgage.

A fixed rate means the rate is static and won’t change during the length of your mortgage term. As you may guess, a variable rate works in the opposite manner, in that it’s going to fluctuate based on market conditions.

In early 2020, it seemed the better deal was a fixed rate but our recent comparisons of London’s fixed mortgage rates versus variable mortgage rates have shown that the results appear to be evening out. As it stands now, the rates are relatively on par.

See for yourself with our chart comparing 5-year fixed mortgage rates with 5-year variable mortgage rates in London.

5-year fixed vs. 5-year variable mortgage rates in Ontario

04/20 2.32%2.71%
05/20 2.07%2.37%
06/20 2.03%2.25%
07/20 1.82%2.03%
08/20 1.78%1.91%
09/20 1.74%1.84%
10/20 1.77%1.84%
11/20 1.74%1.77%
12/20 1.68%1.73%
01/21 1.63%1.72%
02/21 1.52%1.65%
03/21 1.36%1.86%

Last Updated: April 1, 2021

Factors that affect your London mortgage rate

Lenders examine a multitude of factors when considering the approval of a mortgage application and determining the best interest rate to offer. The following are some of the top criteria lenders use when trying to calculate a mortgage rate in London.

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Typical mortgage amount in London

The amount of your mortgage is dependent on your location, your down payment and your mortgage interest rate. As of December 2020, the Aggregate Composite Benchmark price for the London-St. Thomas area was $483,900, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

With that information, we can predict the average mortgage rate in London. If making a 20% down payment ($96,780) on the average home cost ($483,900), your mortgage would be $387,120. This, of course, doesn’t account for the amount paid over the lifespan of a mortgage. That will depend on how quickly you pay down your home and the mortgage rate of your house in London.

If you’re unable to make a down payment of 20%, then keep in mind that you’ll need to purchase CMHC mortgage insurance. This can be paid all at once or over a period of time with your mortgage payments.

London’s housing market and home prices

As mentioned above, the Aggregate Composite Benchmark of the entire London-St. Thomas area shows the average price of a home sitting at $483,900. However, the overall LSTAR (London & St. Thomas Association of Realtors) positions that average price at $555,324 instead. Both these numbers account for findings as of December 2020.

These numbers can be broken down further based on which corner of London you wish to reside in. London East, for example, has a lower average price of $434,195 (still up 25.2% from last year) and London North, in comparison, has an average home price of $674, 872, up 29.3% from December 2019. Despite these rapid increases, homes in London are less expensive than property in other major Ontario areas.

In December 2020, LSTAR reported selling 596 homes, 440 of which were single-family home dwellings. The remainder of sales went to townhouses (76) and apartments (52).

London closing costs and land transfer tax

Unfortunately, the spending doesn’t stop as soon as you determine your down payment and mortgage rate for your London home. You’ll also need to budget for closing costs, which can amount to approximately 1.5% of the home’s sale price (outside of the down payment).

Closing costs may include:

Since you’re buying a home in London, you’ll also be responsible for paying a land transfer tax. In Ontario, land transfer taxes are calculated as follows:

Purchase PriceTax Rate
$400,000–$2 million2.00%
$2 million +2.5%

Information for first-time homebuyers in London

As you’ve learned by now, there are a lot of extra costs that come with buying a home. Here are some other considerations you’ll need to factor into your budget:

Brokers vs. bank mortgage rates in London: When it comes to mortgages, bankers are usually obligated to sell proprietary products, which means they’re selling products created by the bank that employs them. Brokers, on the other hand, have a bit more freedom to look around and take their pick of a few mortgage rates from different lenders. Broker mortgage rates in London, and anywhere else in Canada for that matter, can be more competitive than bank offerings. That said, you can still negotiate fair rates from banks, especially since they’ll want to keep their long-term customers happy.

First Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit: First introduced in the 2009 federal budget, the First Time Home Buyers’ Tax lets first-time homeowners recoup some of the expenses of their purchase. It’s a $5,000 non-refundable tax credit that’s available across Canada.

GST/HST new housing rebate: For Canadians who have bought a new-build home, substantially renovated a property, or rebuilt a house that was severely damaged by fire, they can apply for the GST/HST new housing rebate, which is designed to help off-set some of the extra costs involved in home repair.

Federal Home Accessibility Tax (HATC) for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities: Homeowners aged 65 and above, as well as homeowners living with a disability, can apply for a non-refundable tax credit for up to $10,000 in renovation expenses. This credit enables seniors and persons with disabilities to invest in homes that better meet their accessibility needs.

Your questions about London mortgages, answered.

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

In this section, we’re going to break down even more terms that will help you understand how to get the best mortgage rates in London, Ontario, Canada.

Mortgage term: A mortgage term describes the set period of time in which you’ll be mortgaging a home with a specific lender. These terms range anywhere from six months to 10 years. Once this term ends, borrowers can renew with their lender or switch to another one. It’s always a good idea to keep your eye out for the best mortgage lenders in London.

Amortization period: An amortization period can be described as the length of the entire mortgage and the amount of time it takes to pay down the home (including the interest). Canada’s current maximum amortization period is 35 years. For homeowners unable to make a down payment of 20% or more, their maximum amortization period is 25 years. They will also be required to buy CMHC mortgage insurance.

What’s the difference between an open mortgage vs. a closed mortgage?

Buyers in London should make mortgage rate comparisons between an open mortgage and a closed mortgage before making any final decisions.

Open mortgage: An open mortgage is known for its flexibility. The borrower can pay down the mortgage at their own pace without the repercussion of a fine. This can sometimes be a better option for homebuyers who don’t have their financial future entirely mapped out. The disadvantage of an open mortgage, however, is that lenders typically offer higher interest rates.

Closed mortgage: For would-be London homeowners, the lowest mortgage interest rates are typically found in closed mortgages. This means, at the end of the day, borrowers will be able to pay down their mortgages more quickly. While borrowers are given a fixed schedule for their entire term, closed sometimes let borrowers accelerate their payments with lump-sum deposits or greater monthly payments. Unlike with open mortgages, if the homeowner wants to refinance, negotiate or pay down their closed mortgage earlier, they will be charged a fine.

How much does it cost to live in London?

The cost of living in London is highly dependent on whether you own a home, rent, drive a car or commute with public transit.

If you’ve never lived or travelled to London, there are some things you may want to keep in mind before making a major purchase. For instance, London doesn’t have as complex a transit system as Toronto so many residents opt to buy a vehicle. If you follow suit, you’ll need to add auto insurance to your monthly expenses. Unfortunately, the province of Ontario has some of the highest auto insurance rates in Canada. Just like you’ll want to shop around for the best mortgage interest rates in London, you’ll want to search for the top auto insurance rates as well.

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

When buying a home in Ontario, finding low London mortgage rates should be one of your top priorities. But, you don’t want to overlook other avenues for making your mortgage more affordable. Learn how you can save money (or avoid extra expenses) by understanding the following:

Prepayment privileges: Prepayment privileges mean that you can pay down your mortgage earlier than expected without incurring a monetary charge. Banks and brokers have different rules around prepayment, so you’ll want to ask what their rules are around this before signing any contracts.

Penalties: If you buy a home in London, you’ll notice current mortgage rates can change over time. While it can be tempting to break your mortgage and go with another lender who has a better deal, you could wind up with some pretty hefty penalty fees. Homeowners also sometimes incur these fees when they refinance or move. Always read the fine print so you can assess whether the fees outweigh the benefits.

Portability: A portable mortgage can be a way to avoid paying penalties. By negotiating a portable mortgage in advance, you can transfer your mortgage to a different property and combine it with an additional mortgage loan. This is something to consider if you anticipate moving before the mortgage is entirely paid off.

Your questions about, answered.

How are mortgage rates determined on brings you London's best mortgage rates from 75+ banks and brokers across Canada. 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 for London. 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. only works with reputable, trustworthy financial institutions. We take care of the heavy lifting by comparing the market for you and can connect you with the best mortgage lenders not only in London but also across the country.

How do I know I’m getting the lowest rate?

We have a strong selection of lenders on including the big banks and many independent providers. This ensures we’re always finding 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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