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A look at the lowest available mortgage rates on fixed and variable terms and HELOCs this weekMatt Rourke/The Associated Press

The clock ticks on rates

Bond yields drive fixed mortgage rates and those yields are up over 40 basis points in seven days. (A basis point is 1/100th of a percentage point.) Several lenders have already started boosting rates as a result. So if you’ve got a purchase, refinancing or renewal coming up in the next four months, and want a fixed rate, lock something down.

So far, the country’s lowest nationally available prime mortgage rate hasn’t changed. As this is being written, Nesto’s insured five-year fixed remains at 4.29 per cent.

McLister: For thousands of variable-rate mortgage holders, another rate hike would be no joke

Now, should people take a five-year fixed near the presumed top of a rate cycle? Generally not. But some still choose a five-fixed because the low contract rate lets them qualify for a bigger mortgage under the government’s stress test formula.

That, and perhaps a preoccupation with rate risk, are usually the only justifications for locking in a long term with monetary easing a possibility in 2024 – as tenuous as the inflation picture seems right now.

Rates are as of May 18, 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.