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Variable Rates

As low as

1.20%

Fixed Rates

As low as

1.64%

Cha-ching! Our rates are always lower than the posted bank rates.

Current lowest posted bank rate

2.19%

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

Before you compare average Vancouver mortgage rates on LowestRates.ca, you’ll need to choose what type of mortgage to apply for. There are two main types of mortgages based on how big your down payment is: conventional mortgages and high-ratio mortgages.

A high-ratio mortgage is where the homebuyer has a down payment of less than 20% of the purchase price. In this case, the homebuyer is required to purchase mortgage insurance from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

A conventional mortgage means the homebuyer makes a downpayment of at least 20% of the home’s purchase price. With a conventional mortgage, you don’t need to purchase CMHC insurance.

Here’s a comparison of conventional mortgage rates vs. high ratio mortgage rates in Vancouver.

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

DateAverage Conventional RateAverage High Ratio Rate
04/20 2.82%2.51%
05/20 2.50%2.32%
06/20 2.38%2.23%
07/20 2.23%2.08%
08/20 2.10%1.93%
09/20 2.02%1.82%
10/20 1.90%1.75%
11/20 1.82%1.64%
12/20 1.86%1.66%
01/21 1.94%1.71%
02/21 1.67%1.49%

Last Updated: March 1, 2021

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

While searching for the cheapest mortgage rates in Vancouver, one of the main decisions homebuyers will need to make is whether to choose a fixed or variable rate mortgage.

While fixed and variable rates have been closer than ever on LowestRates.ca over the past year, there are some key differences to be aware of.

A fixed mortgage rate stays the same for the entirety of your mortgage term. Fixed rates aren’t affected by interest rate changes, and give home buyers the stability of fixed monthly payments. However, the tradeoff is that fixed mortgage rates are generally higher than variable rates.

A variable rate can change over the course of your mortgage term. Your lender will adjust their prime rate based on market conditions, including the overnight lending rate set by the Bank of Canada. If the prime rate goes up, so does your mortgage rate. If it goes down, your mortgage rate does too. Variable mortgage rates are expressed as prime plus or minus a spread. For example, prime -0.5%. So if the prime rate is 2%, your interest rate will be 1.5% (2% - 0.5%).

5-year fixed vs. 5-year variable mortgage rates in British Columbia

MonthFixedVariable
04/20 2.30%2.79%
05/20 2.15%2.42%
06/20 2.07%2.31%
07/20 2.00%2.16%
08/20 1.94%2.03%
09/20 1.83%1.93%
10/20 1.79%1.83%
11/20 1.76%1.73%
12/20 1.69%1.74%
01/21 1.68%1.83%
02/21 1.45%1.62%

Last Updated: March 1, 2021

Factors that affect your Vancouver mortgage rate

When deciding whether or not to approve your mortgage application (and the interest rate they’ll offer), lenders look at a few different factors.

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Typical mortgage amounts in Vancouver

The size of your mortgage will depend on where you live, your down payment and your mortgage interest rate. The benchmark price for a detached home in Vancouver is $1,538,900 as of November 2020, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). For a buyer with a 20% down payment ($307,780), the mortgage would be $1,231,120. This amount doesn’t include interest paid over the lifespan of the mortgage, which depends on the mortgage interest rate.

Remember: if your down payment is less than 20%, you’re required to buy CMHC mortgage insurance. This will increase the cost of your mortgage and the amount of interest you’ll pay. CMHC insurance premiums depend on the size of your down payment. Your mortgage insurance premium can be paid as a lump sum, or added to the cost of your mortgage.

Vancouver’s housing market and home prices

Even with low mortgage rates, houses in Vancouver are expensive. With the average detached home still selling for well over $1 million, purchasing even a modest home is difficult for many Vancouver families. Condos are also expensive in Vancouver, although they haven’t appreciated at quite the same pace as detached houses have.

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, benchmark prices for detached homes in the Greater Vancouver Area increased from $1,406,900 to $1,538,900 between November 2019 and November 2020.

Other forms of housing, such as townhomes and apartments also saw increases. The benchmark price of a townhouse in Vancouver reached $814,800 in November 2020, and the benchmark price of an apartment reached $676,500.

Vancouver’s housing market has been hot year after year. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported 3,064 residential homes sold in November 2020, an increase of 22.7% from the same time last year.

Single-family detached homes in the Vancouver area take an average of 42 days to sell, compared to 34 days for apartments and 35 days for townhouses.

Vancouver closing costs and land transfer tax

After buying the property itself, closing costs are the last expenses you need to pay to finalize the deal. It’s usually advised to budget at least 1.5% of the home’s purchase price to cover closing costs (not including the down payment). When buying a home in Vancouver, closing costs may include:

Closing costs may include:

When you buy a home in Vancouver, you’ll have to pay a provincial land transfer tax. In B.C. it’s called the Property Transfer Tax (PTT). Here’s how the marginal tax rate works:

Purchase PriceTax Rate
0–$200,0001.00%
$200,001–$2,000,0002.00%
$2,000,001–$3,000,0003.00%
$3,000,000+5.00%

For example: For a Vancouver home that costs $1.2 million, you would pay $22,000 in provincial land transfer taxes.

Foreign nationals and foreign corporations have to pay an additional 20% PTT, known as the “foreign buyers’ tax.” This tax applies to residential homes in Metro Vancouver and several other municipalities across B.C.

 

Information for first-time home buyers in Vancouver

Broker vs. bank mortgage rates in Vancouver: Mortgage brokers have a distinct advantage over banks in that they can shop around at multiple lenders and negotiate the lowest mortgage rates for prospective Vancouver home buyers. Banks, on the other hand, are tied to their own mortgage products. Whether you choose a bank or broker, your mortgage will ultimately come from a financial institution—brokers can help you find the best rate and walk you through the mortgage application process, but they don’t provide or service the mortgage itself. When you’re house hunting in an expensive city like Vancouver, broker mortgage rates tend to be more competitive than bank rates. The city’s real estate market is hot, and there’s a high concentration of mortgage companies in Vancouver competing for business.

However, it’s also possible to negotiate with a bank if you have a strong existing relationship. Sometimes banks will give customers a discount on their regular posted mortgage rates for consolidating their bank accounts, credit cards, investments and mortgage all in one place, but you’ll have to handle the negotiations yourself.

Tax credits: When purchasing a home, there are a number of tax credits you may be eligible for. Some of these might include:

First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit: This is a $5,000 non-refundable federal tax credit designed to help buyers manage the closing costs of purchasing a new home. This credit is applicable across Canada.

British Columbia Land Transfer Tax Rebate: First-time homebuyers are eligible for a rebate based on the fair market value of the home. The rebate is for Canadian citizens and permanent residents only who have never owned a home in any part of the world. There are two types of rebates:

  • A full rebate on homes used only as a principal residence with a fair market value of $500,000 or less, where the property is 0.5 hectares (1.24 acres) or smaller.
  • A partial rebate on homes valued at $525,000 or less, on a property larger than 0.5 hectares. You may also qualify if there’s another building on the property other than the principal residence.

The Federal Home Accessibility Tax (HATC) for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities: This non-refundable tax credit allows you to claim up to $10,000 in renovation expenses. This credit is applicable country wide and is available for homeowners who are aged 65+ before the end of the tax year or who have a disability.

Home insurance: It’s not legally required to have home insurance in Canada, but most lenders will require you to have a home insurance policy as a condition of approving your mortgage. Since a home is likely your most expensive asset, you’ll want to protect it. Home insurance protects your home from a number of unexpected incidents that could cause damage to your property, as well as the contents of your home and personal liability.

Your questions about Vancouver mortgages, answered.

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

Mortgage term: A mortgage term is the length of time homeowners are committed to their lender and interest rate. When the term ends, you can renew your contract at a new rate. Mortgage terms can range from six months to 10 years in Canada, but the most popular term is right in the middle at five years.

Amortization period: The amortization period is the total amount of time it will take you to pay off your mortgage loan’s principal, plus the interest. In Canada, the maximum amortization period is 35 years. If your down payment is less than 20% of the total price of the home and you’re required to purchase CMHC mortgage insurance, your maximum amortization period is 25 years.

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

In addition to choosing a mortgage term, amortization period and between a fixed or variable rate mortgage, Vancouver buyers will also need to decide between two types of mortgage payment structures: open or closed.

Open mortgage: This type of mortgage is more flexible, and can be paid off in full without penalty at any time. Open mortgages usually have a shorter term (up to five years), but interest rates are usually variable and a little bit higher compared to closed mortgages. Open mortgages are usually for people who want to make additional or increased mortgage payments, pay off the mortgage early, or move to a different home in the near future.

Closed mortgage: This type of mortgage requires you to make fixed payments on a set schedule for the entire term. You’ll be charged a penalty if you want to refinance, renegotiate or pay off your closed mortgage before the term is up. However, closed mortgage interest rates are usually lower. Some lenders will allow you to make accelerated payments up to a certain amount each year. Every lender will have its own terms and conditions around prepayments, so it’s important to ask or look at your mortgage contract before signing.

How much does it cost to live in Vancouver?

Vancouver is diverse and cosmopolitan, with gorgeous coastal waterways and a rich urban fabric made up of superb dining, walkable neighborhoods, and many cultural amenities. Vancouver is often cited as one of Canada’s most bike-friendly cities, and is connected by the SkyTrain light rapid transit system.

Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities, but there’s also no getting around it: it’s also one of the most expensive. Housing is the biggest line item when it comes to calculating the cost of living in Vancouver. In a vibrant city with lots to do, you’ll also need to consider how much you spend on things like restaurants, bars, shopping and outdoor activities.

The cost of living will also depend on whether you’re a driver, transit commuter or cyclist. Unfortunately, Vancouver is also an expensive place to drive: residents of B.C. pay the highest auto insurance premiums in Canada, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. Because it’s a major city with bad traffic congestion, Vancouver drivers can expect to pay more for car insurance compared to other cities.

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

If you’re house hunting in B.C., securing a low Vancouver mortgage rate is one great way to save money on your mortgage. However, 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: A prepayment privilege allows you to increase the amount of your monthly mortgage payments, up to a certain percentage each year. This means you can pay off your mortgage earlier without having to pay an additional fee. Some banks and brokers will offer different prepayment terms, so it’s important to raise the issue before you sign your contract.

Penalties: If you need to break your mortgage, which you may need to do when you refinance or move, 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.

Portability: One way to avoid these penalties is to negotiate a portable mortgage. Porting a mortgage means taking the existing mortgage contract and interest rate you have for your current home and transferring it to the new one you want to buy. This means you don’t have to go through the mortgage application process all over again, and you don’t have to worry about paying penalties if you want to move in the middle of your mortgage term.

Your questions about LowestRates.ca, answered.

How are mortgage rates determined on LowestRates.ca?

LowestRates.ca works with more than 30 banks and brokers to bring you Vancouver’s best mortgage rates from lenders in Canada and we’re 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 for Vancouver. 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 not only in Vancouver, but across the country.

How do I know if 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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