Unlike variable rate loans which take their cues from the Bank of Canada’s benchmark rate, lenders finance fixed-rate loans based on the rates they can get in the bond market. Essentially, they’ll borrow money themselves at one rate, loan it out to a borrower at a higher rate and make money on that spread.
So current rock-bottom interest rates on fixed loans are no coincidence, considering the yield on a five-year Government of Canada bond dipped below 1.3% this month. If a lender can borrow funds for as little as 1.3% then turn around and make money by loaning it out for twice that rate, they have every incentive to keep offering those deals.
“The hard cost of funding these loans is going down,” Laird said. “And at the same time we are at the tail end of the most competitive market, when lenders fight for [business], so that’s when they are willing to thin out their margins a bit to attract volume.”