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A look at this week’s available mortgage rates on fixed and variable terms and HELOCsGene J. Puskar/The Associated Press

Slow going in the rate market

It’s a grind out there, but we did make slight progress in rates this week.

The lowest uninsured one- and three-year fixed mortgage rates improved 10 basis points. Albeit, many will still find them unpalatable at 5.74 and 5.24 per cent respectively.

McLister: Why not all mortgage lenders are created equal

All we can do is hope that rates don’t get uglier before inflation gets better.

On the insured side, rates remain much lower. A one-year insured term at the current rate leader, QuestMortgage, will run you 4.64 per cent. That’s 110 basis points lower than if you didn’t purchase default insurance. That wide spread is quite unusual and a reflection of how much lenders value government-backed default insurance when lending out their money.

Looking ahead, remember that bond yields generally lead fixed mortgage rates. Once economic data confirm that inflation risk is meaningfully subsiding, bond yields will drift lower.

Problem is, short-term yields will fall slower than longer-term yields. That’s an annoyance for borrowers who want to lock in for just a year and then ride rates lower in 2024. For at least the next six to 12 months this phenomenon should keep one-year fixed rates high relative to longer-term fixed mortgages.

Lowest nationally available mortgage rates

1-year fixed5.74%Ratehub4.64%QuestMortgage
2-year fixed5.54%HSBC4.64%QuestMortgage
3-year fixed5.24%Ratehub4.59%QuestMortgage
4-year fixed5.19%Ratehub4.64%QuestMortgage
5-year fixed5.14%Radius Financial 4.54%Ratehub
10-year fixed5.94%HSBC5.54%Nesto
5-year hybrid5.62%HSBC5.94%Scotia eHOME

Source: Robert McLister; data as of Jan. 5

* Home equity line of credit

Rates are as of Jan. 5, 2023 from providers that advertise rates online and lend in at least nine provinces. Insured rates apply to those buying with less than a 20 per cent down payment, or those switching a pre-existing insured mortgage to a new lender. Uninsured rates apply to refinances and purchases over $1-million and may include applicable lender rate premiums. For providers whose rates vary by province, their highest rate is shown.

Robert McLister is an interest rate analyst, mortgage strategist and editor of You can follow him on Twitter at @RobMcLister.