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A look at the lowest available mortgage rates on fixed and variable terms and HELOCs this weekGene J. Puskar/The Associated Press

Waiting for rates to drop

Rate cut cycles are like floating down the Niagara River in a barrel. Everything’s nice and calm and then kerplop, you go off the edge.

The time is approaching when recession or some global event pushes mortgage rates off the edge. We just don’t know how long rates will drift until we get there.

At the moment, fixed rates are consolidating near multiweek lows. Consolidation like this usually precedes a big move in one direction or the other. I’ll take the under.

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In the rate survey, the only tweaks to leading rates this week were a few five- to 10-basis-point changes to default-insured mortgage offerings. (A basis point is one hundredth of a percentage point.)

The lowest uninsured rates saw zero changes since my last report.

Regarding variable rates, markets still expect the Bank of Canada’s next move to be a cut. Accurate or not, derivatives pricing in the bond market still implies the first prime rate drop will come by December.

Rates are as of May 11, 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.

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