Why smaller down payments can lead to better mortgage rates

May 2, 2012

Smaller down payments for Canada … what about here?

Financial Post | Business

It doesn’t make much sense, but a skimpy down payment on a home might actually get you a better mortgage rate in today’s market.

Blame the government subsidy known as mortgage default insurance, which ultimately makes it less risky to lend money to someone who has only 5% down compared to someone with 20%.

Consumers with less than 20% down must get mortgage default insurance in Canada if they are borrowing from a federally regulated bank. The cost is up to 2.75% of the mortgage amount upfront on a 25-year amortization but that fee comes with 100% backing from the federal government if the insurance is provided by Crown corporation Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

“It’s already happening,” says Rob McLister, editor of Canadian Mortgage Trends, who says secondary lenders are now offering rates that are 10 to 15 basis points higher for a closed five-year mortgage for uninsured…

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