The ‘increasingly wobbly’ Canadian housing market is getting a boost from the Bank of Montreal with a mortgage rate cut and aggressive news release.
“It’s a great time to buy a home,” Martin Nel, a senior BMO official, said in news release announcing the change. He added that people who take advantage of the offer will benefit.
“If ever there was a time to buy, it is now,” Mr. Nel said.
The move which takes effect Thursday brings the bank’s key five-year rate to 3.59%, down from 3.79%, making it one of the lowest five-year rates ever offered by a Canadian bank, says industry newsletter Canadian Mortgage Trends.
But some experts are already scratching their heads because of the aggressive tone of the announcement as well as the timing, given the recent spate of warnings about the uncertain state of the market, including one earlier this week from the Canadian Centre for Policy alternatives predicting an imminent collapse.
When the big banks make mortgage rate changes they generally just disclose the new numbers without commenting on housing market conditions. If pressed, bank officials are usually quick to explain that the change in these consumer lending rates are merely a function of fluctuations in their own borrowing costs.
“It’s a bit puzzling to me,” John Andrew, a professor at Queen’s University’s School of Urban and Regional Planning, said of the BMO announcement. “Perhaps they are concerned that the number of new customers will fall off precipitously.”
And why would they care about a drop off in new customers? Ah, here it is later in the article: