As the Globe and Mail (and countless other Canadian news outlets) have recently reported, the ratio of Canadian household debt to disposable income has hit a new record high. Statistics Canada says that, on average, households hold $1.65 in debt for every dollar of disposable income. As is always the case, a lot of that new debt comes in the form of mortgages, but consumer credit is also at an all time high.
So what now? Well, if your mortgage rate is greater than 3% or if you’re looking to manage high interest credit debt at much lower rates, this just might be the best time in our history to refinance.
It’s a Great Day to Refinance
Mortgages are at record-lows today, but if you’re paying into a 5-year fixed rate mortgage and still have a few years left on the mortgage, you might not be feeling so great. You might want to explore the possibilities of a new mortgage, because it could save you a bundle – especially if you have enough equity to let you eliminate some high interest personal debt you might be carrying.
Of course, every situation is unique so do your research. Before you refinance you’ll need to be sure that the savings you’ll gain will trump any penalties connected with breaking an existing mortgage. A good mortgage broker can easily give you the answers you seek.
Leverage your home equity
Housing prices continue to rise everywhere, so you may have more equity in your home than you think you do. That’s important because it can change your ratios, and give you more borrowing power, which opens up all kinds of new opportunities. Just imagine repackaging high interest debt or paying off a credit line or starting that major renovation or taking that trip you’ve always dreamed of. If you find yourself house rich and cash poor, borrowing money at today’s incredibly low interest rates could change your world.
Consolidate your high-interest debt
I touched on it above, but if you find yourself fighting off high interest debtors, debt consolidation can solve your personal debt situation while letting you keep your home. When you roll your existing debt into a single low interest loan, your life greatly improves. Knocking your high credit score down to low single digit interest rates means your new mortgage pays off your existing debts and you get a clean start. And once again, you get to keep your home.
Do the real math on mortgage penalties
The simple truth is that if you have a closed mortgage, you’ll have to pay a penalty to escape your existing deal with your bank. If you have a variable rate mortgage, the formula is simple: It will cost you three months’ interest on the existing mortgage. If your current mortgage rate is fixed, you’ll have either pay three months’ interest or something called the Interest Rate Differential (IRD); whichever is higher. Interest Rate Differential can be scary in some instances, so make certain you and your mortgage broker do the real math for your current mortgage to make certain that refinancing makes sense in your situation. What’s the point if it’s going to cost you money instead of saving you?
It’s pretty clear: today could be a great day to refinance.
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