The Bank of Canada understands that targeting inflation is still its No 1 job, and that there are limits to its ability to keep borrowing costs on hold to buffer against economic shocks or trouble in the financial system, Governor Mark Carney said today.
In his first remarks on his approach to inflation-control since the Harper government renewed his mandate on November 8th, Carney defended his “flexible” approach, which has seen him keep interest rates at 1% since September 2010, amid price gains that have exceeded his 2% target for much of the past year. Plus, he reiterated that the 2007-09 crisis taught central bankers that in some exceptional cases, monetary policy may be needed to complement attempts by regulators and supervisors to keep the financial system stable.
In both cases, however, Carney came out swinging against so-called policy purists who have expressed concern that he’s moving the central bank too far away from its principal task.
“We make monetary policy in the real world, where shocks are a fact of life,” Carney said in a speech prepared for delivery to the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal. “That is why the Bank responds with a flexible approach, taking decisions guided by considered analysis and informed judgment rather than mechanical rules.”
Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Canadians with a mortgage hope to be mortgage-free by the time they reach age 65, but one-third (33%) of older Canadians (those over the age of 55) have 16 or more years left on their mortgage term, according to the latest RBC Housing Snapshot poll.
“Canadians want to be mortgage-free as they approach retirement age and beyond, but the reality is that it takes prudent planning and the right advice to stay on track,” said Claude DeMone, Director of Strategy for Home Equity Financing, RBC. “Using flexible and accelerated payment options are an easy and pain-free way to help take years off your mortgage and save thousands of dollars in interest costs.”
Canadians overwhelmingly say that a low interest rate is the most important feature when choosing a mortgage (96%). Almost nine-in-10 Canadians also say that accelerated payment options (85%) and flexible payment options (88%) are important and desirable features.
Looking ahead, the majority of Canadians expect steady interest rates in the next six to 12 months. Almost one-in-five Canadians (18%) expect rates will rise less than 1%. Just over a quarter of respondents (26%) think interest rates will rise more than 1% in the same time period.
When it comes to buying a condo, what’s a better investment? Buying one that’s already built and is being resold, or buying on the hype of a new building that’s yet to be constructed?
Jana Masiewich considered both a resale and pre-construction condo before deciding that buying a condo prior to it being built presented a better opportunity for her to make money on her investment. The 29-year-old, who lives and works in downtown Toronto, was looking for a condo property that met her criteria, in particular one in an up-and-coming area of the city. But she also had to discuss with her advisers whether she had the cash to purchase a yet-to-be built condo now.
To land confidently on her decision she consulted with her financial planner, her realtor, and did her due diligence on the developer building the condo. Masiewich says she understands there is some risk in buying pre-construction, but if you do your research, and go with a credible builder, then you significantly reduce the chance of a bad investment.
Canadians are eying cheap Florida real estate.
Joe Waddell got the best cross-border bargain of his life last year – a three-bedroom, 1,700-square-foot condo for just under $120,000 (US).
The Fort Myers property is just 15 minutes from southwest Florida’s gulf beaches, within an easy drive of Miami nightlife and, better yet, about two hours from Disney World.
But Waddell, 45, his wife and 11-year-old daughter won’t actually be using their sun-and-sand getaway for a few more years.
Instead, they are among the growing ranks of Canadian “endvestors” — investors who’ve been snapping up deeply discounted bargains south of the border with the intention of renting them out until they retire.