Real Estate

What’s next for the Bank of Canada, and why mortgage holders are still holding on: This week’s top real estate stories

Royal LePage Terrequity Realty

Here are The Globe and Mail’s top housing and real estate stories this week, with the lowest mortgage rates available in Canada today, commentary from our mortgage expert and one home worth a look.

The Bank of Canada holds off on interest-rate hikes, but the door remains open

The Bank of Canada held its benchmark interest rate at 4.5 per cent this week, pausing its year-long campaign to increase borrowing costs. The widely anticipated decision makes the Bank of Canada the first major central bank to halt monetary-policy tightening and puts it on a different trajectory than the U.S. Federal Reserve, whose officials have said they expect to increase interest rates several more times.

This sounds like good news for borrowers, but central bank officials say they need more evidence that the economy is cooling and inflation is slowing before ruling out further interest-rate hikes, reports Mark Rendell.

Property taxes up in some cities – should you worry about other tax hikes?

Property taxes are going up 10.7 per cent and 5.5 per cent in Vancouver and Toronto, respectively. Victoria is looking for ways to raise revenue so it can keep this year’s tax hike to 6.9 per cent, and Montreal’s 2023 budget includes an average tax increase of 4.1 per cent.

Now comes federal budget season, and the government has to balance a deficit and big spending commitments. And despite high interest rates and stubborn inflation, tax hikes are on the agenda, writes Rob Carrick.

Reasons why Canadian mortgage holders are surviving extreme rate hikes

Canadians are caught up in the fiercest interest-rate shock in decades. Despite punishing payment increases, the overwhelming majority of mortgage borrowers are hanging tough, at least so far. In his weekly column, Robert McLister gives eight reasons why.

As for this week’s lowest available mortgage rates: Here is what the rates look like as of March 9.

Lowest nationally available mortgage rates

1-year fixed 5.74% Ratehub 5.69% QuestMortgage
2-year fixed 5.64% Ratehub 5.49% QuestMortgage
3-year fixed 5.24% Ratehub 4.99% Radius Financial
4-year fixed 5.19% Investors Group 4.84% Ratehub
5-year fixed 5.14% QuestMortgage 4.69% Nesto
10-year fixed 5.94% HSBC 5.29% QuestMortgage
Variable 6.10% HSBC 5.50% True North
5-year hybrid 5.65% HSBC 6.06% Scotia eHOME
HELOC* 6.70% HSBC n/a n/a

Source: Robert McLister; data as of March 9

More Canadians are spending a quarter of their income on mortgage payments

The Bank of Canada says the share of borrowers spending more than 25 per cent of their income on mortgage payments is growing: from 12 per cent in 2021 to 29 per cent today. The central bank considers these households to be more vulnerable to rising interest rates and loss of income, Rachelle Younglai and Mark Rendell report. The Bank of Canada’s data also shows that indebted households are falling behind on their car loans, credit cards and lines of credit payments.

Canada’s biggest shopping malls scramble for new tenants after Nordstrom’s departure

Last week, luxury retailer Nordstrom announced its exit from Canada, closing 13 department stores and laying off 2,500 employees. It’s the latest U.S. chain to retreat from the country in the face of strong domestic competition. The closing of the company’s six Canadian Nordstrom stores and seven Nordstrom Rack stores will eliminate anchor tenants in several of the country’s largest malls, leaving landlords scrambling for replacements, potentially facing requests for rent reductions from other stores if customer traffic declines, reports Rachelle Younglai.

Home of the week: A lakeside condo with singular views

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2285 Lakeshore Blvd. W., No. 1908, Toronto

A 1,600-square-foot unit in the Grand Harbour complex on Etobicoke’s waterfront, with wraparound windows overlooking the yacht clubs below, a balcony and a large terrace. The unit has two bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and a powder room, and the complex’s amenities include an indoor saltwater pool, squash and basketball courts, and a car wash.

What do you think is the asking price for this house?

a. $2,195,000

b. $1,899,000

c. $1,300,000

d. $3,150,000

a. The asking price is $1,899,000.