As expected, Bank of Canada cuts the key lending rate by 1/4 per cent.
The Bank of Canada this morning announced its expected 1/4% cut in Canada’s mortgage-rate setting overnight lending rate. The anticipated move is made to ensure that the Canadian economy continues to grow, despite continuing struggles in the world economy dealing with the fallout of the credit crisis brought on by the housing meltdown in the United States. Borrowers in Canada can expect their lending institutions to lower their mortgage rates in the coming weeks, and variable rate mortgages should decrease as well.
There was a highly-sensationalized story reported last week that the major banks may not follow the Bank Of Canada’s monetary policy and would instead keep rates where they are, thereby increasing profitability in the wake of tightening credit availability. This is unlikely, and was denied by the major banks the following day. All it would take would be one institution to offer the lower rate, and competition being what it is, the other banks would be forced into line.
This is good news for homeowners and potential buyers. The outlook for inflation is below the 2% target rate, and is expected to stay this way until the end of 2009. The increased competition in retail sales brought on by price cuts due to the high Canadian dollar has slowed inflation to the point where it will be below 1.5% by mid year. To stimulate aggregate demand (overall spending in the economy) to return inflation to the target 2%, the Bank will likely continue to adjust downward the interest rate over the coming year.
With housing price growth expected to cool this year, and interest rates remaining stable or lowering, the erosion of housing affordability we have witnessed over the past few years should slow somewhat.
The full Bank of Canada news release can be found here.
The US Federal Reserve, in charge of setting monetary policy for our southern cousins, has meanwhile slashed rates 3/4%, the biggest cut in 23 years in an effort to ward off the threat of a U.S. recession.
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