Nerdy Tip: The best mortgage rates in the Northwest Territories are a little better in February than they were in January, but rising government bond yields could lead to an increase in fixed mortgage rates in the coming weeks. Variable mortgage rates in the Northwest Territories won’t fall until the Bank of Canada reduces its overnight rate. That may not happen until at least June.
The best fixed and variable mortgage rates in the Northwest Territories
Est. payment: $3,120.00/mo
Est. payment: $2,694.00/mo
Est. payment: $2,982.00/mo
Est. payment: $2,641.00/mo
Est. payment: $2,641.00/mo
Est. payment: $2,927.00/mo
Disclaimer: These rates do not include taxes, fees, and insurance. Your actual rate and loan terms will be determined by the partner’s assessment of your creditworthiness and other factors. Any potential savings figures are estimates based on the information provided by you and our advertising partners. Mortgage Brokerage Licensed in ON #12984, BC #X301004, MB and AB. Homewise can pursue mortgage brokering activity in SK, NL, NS and NB.
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The average mortgage rate in the Northwest Territories
There’s not much value in calculating the average mortgage rate in the Northwest Territories since it would include every mortgage type and term length from every lender, including the above-average rates associated with open mortgages and private mortgages.
The only rates that matter are the ones attached to the mortgage you hope to be approved for. If you’re interested in a variable-rate mortgage, for example, compare variable mortgage rates. If you’re looking for more stability, compare fixed rates according to term length. Specific comparisons like these will give you more relevant information to work with.
Your mortgage rate will ultimately be determined by your finances, so it doesn’t really matter what other people are paying.
Northwest Territories mortgage rate update: February 2024
Toward the end of January, mortgage rates finally dipped in response to falling three- and five-year government bond yields. Generally, this kind of action in the bond market would lead to faster reductions in three- and five-year fixed mortgage rates, but lenders don’t usually rush to serve up bargains.
As of February 12, 2024, lenders were offering five-year fixed rates below 4.8% on certain mortgage products, while three-year fixed mortgage rates were available for around 5%.
Five-year terms being a more affordable option puts the Northwest Territories’ mortgage shoppers in a bind: A five-year term isn’t overly attractive if rates are expected decline significantly by 2025 or 2026, but it may be easier to qualify for once the stress test is factored in.
According to the Bank of Canada, the average posted rate for a one-year, fixed-rate mortgage was an eye-watering 7.84% as of February 7. At an average posted rate of 6.99%, three-year fixed mortgage rates might be more affordable, but they require borrowers to pass the stress test at a brutal 8.99%.
Don’t let your bank’s posted rates make you hyperventilate, though. They’re meant to be negotiated down, and should be closer to the rates found on the table above.
Variable mortgage rates remain elevated after the Bank of Canada held its overnight rate at 5% on January 24. The Bank’s rate hikes have likely come to an end, but the overnight rate, and variable mortgage rates, won’t be reduced until inflation is firmly under control and heading toward the Bank’s target of 2%. That may not occur until June 2024.
Forecasting Northwest Territories mortgage rates
Variable Mortgage Rates
Variable mortgage rates are expected to finally begin decreasing in the first half of 2024. When they decline, and by how much, depends on the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate.
When inflation is running hot, the Bank raises the overnight rate to increase borrowing costs and cool the economy. Whenever the overnight rate increases, variable mortgage rates rise to the same degree.
If inflation trends closer to the Bank’s target rate of 2% in the first few months of 2024, it may feel confident lowering the overnight rate as soon as April. When the overnight rate falls, variable mortgage rates will soon follow.
Fixed Mortgage Rates
Because they’re driven by lenders’ interpretations of activity in the government bond market, fixed mortgage rates can be difficult to predict over the long-term.
Based on bond activity in the fourth quarter of 2023, for example, lenders could have dropped their three- and five-year fixed mortgage rates moderately in January, but there weren’t many bargains on offer at the time of this writing.
Fixed mortgage rates could be somewhat lower by the end of 2024, but it’s unlikely that they’ll fall significantly below 5%.
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Northwest Territories first-time home buyer programs
The Northwest Territories government has a program that reduces costs for first-time home buyers. Eligible applicants can receive a forgivable loan equal to 5% of their home’s purchase price, with a loan maximum amount of $30,000, to use as a down payment. The loan is completely forgiven after one, two or three years, depending on the amount of the loan.
To be eligible, applicants must meet certain requirements. For example, they must:
- Live in the Northwest Territories for at least three years.
- Have income under certain limits, which vary by location.
- Must secure outside financing.
If the homeowner goes into default or if they sell the home before their forgivable loan period is up, they are not eligible for loan forgiveness.
Federal assistance programs include the Home Buyers’ Plan, First-Time Home Buyer Incentive and the First Home Savings Account. Some of these tools can be combined, so it might be worth investigating all of them to see which ones fit your goals and finances.
Land transfer fees in the Northwest Territories
In the Northwest Territories, you’ll pay $2 for each $1,000 of your home’s value, with a minimum of $100. If your home’s value is above $1 million, the rate changes to $1.50 for each $1,000 of value above $1 million.
In addition, if you take out a mortgage to pay for your home, you’ll pay $1.50 for every $1,000 of the mortgage amount, with a minimum of $80.
Guide to Northwest Territories mortgage rates
Types of lenders in the Northwest Territories
Mortgage lenders in the Northwest Territories tend to fall into four categories, which include:
- Large chartered banks such as Scotiabank, RBC and TD.
- Credit unions such as East Coast Credit Union and CUA.
- B lenders that work with borrowers with lower credit scores, such as True North Mortgage and Neo Financial.
- Private lenders, who typically deal with borrowers in need of short-term funding.
Types of mortgages in the Northwest Territories
With a fixed-rate mortgage, the rate stays the same for the duration of the mortgage term, even if rates fluctuate.
Fixed rates provide certainty, which can make them easier to budget around than variable mortgage rates. That certainty comes at a price, though: Outside a few exceptions, fixed rates have historically been higher than variable rates.
Variable mortgage rates rise or fall depending on which direction your lender’s prime rate moves. Depending on the state of the economy, a variable rate can increase or decrease multiple times during a mortgage term.
Variable rates are risky, which is why they’re typically lower than fixed rates. In a high-inflation environment, when lenders’ prime rates are driven upward by increases to the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate, variable mortgage rates can skyrocket.
» MORE: The difference between fixed- and variable-rate mortgages
If you take out a hybrid-rate mortgage, a portion of your mortgage is subject to a variable rate and another portion is at a fixed rate of interest. Hybrid mortgages can dampen the impact of fluctuating interest rates in a particularly turbulent economy, but they tend to be more difficult to transfer between lenders.
Insured and uninsured mortgages
If you buy a home for under $1 million, and your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price, you must purchase mortgage default insurance, which adds to the cost of your loan. In these cases, you’ll be getting an insured mortgage.
If your down payment is greater than 20%, or you’re buying a home where a 20% down payment is required, like an investment property or a home worth $1 million or more, insurance is not required. In this scenario, you’re getting an uninsured mortgage.
Insured mortgage rates tend to be lower than uninsured mortgage rates.
Short-term and long-term mortgages
Short-term mortgages typically last five years or less. Long-term mortgages last over five years. With a shorter term, you’ll need to renew your mortgage sooner, which can provide flexibility, but it can also increase risk if rates are trending upward as your renewal date approaches.
Closed and open mortgages
The primary difference between closed and open mortgages is that you can pay off an open mortgage whenever you like and not pay a penalty. If you have a closed mortgage and make additional payments that go beyond your pre-payment allowances, you’ll be penalized for breaking your mortgage.
Closed mortgages often offer better rates than open mortgages. But an open rate mortgage may be a good option if you think you may be able to pay off your mortgage early.
» MORE: Understanding open and closed mortgages
How Northwest Territories lenders determine mortgage rates
The mortgage rate you’re offered by a lender in the Northwest Territories will be based on two primary factors; one based on the state of the economy and one based on your financial situation.
Variable mortgage rates are influenced by the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate. When the overnight rate increases or decreases, a lender’s prime rate follows suit. Variable mortgage rates are based on a lender’s prime rate, so as the prime rate rises or falls, so do variable rates.
Fixed mortgage rates are determined by activity in the government bond market, particularly the yields on one-, three- and five-year bonds. Fixed mortgage rates follow the movement of those yields.
Your financial situation
Factors specific to you also affect the rates you’re offered. These include:
- Your credit score.
- Your income.
- Your total debts.
- The loan type you choose.
- The amount you’re borrowing.
- The term length and amortization period of your loan.
Lenders look for signs of risk when assessing these aspects of your finances. The riskier they perceive you to be as a borrower, the higher the rate they’re likely to offer you.
How to qualify for a lower mortgage rate in the Northwest Territories
Some of the mechanisms that shape rates are beyond your control, but there are steps you can take to convince lenders to offer you the best mortgage rates. For example, you can try:
- Improving your credit score. A higher credit score generally results in better loan offers. Get a better score by eliminating existing debt and paying future bills in full and on time.
- Increasing your income. It’s not always easy, but any additional income you can earn will improve your financial position. Lenders look at your income to assess your ability to afford a mortgage.
- Decreasing your total debts. Lenders consider your total debt load when determining your mortgage rate. Pay down personal loans, student loans or other types of debts if you can.
- Consider all your mortgage options. See if adjusting the loan type, the term length or the amortization period of your loan could result in you being offered a better rate.
Factors that affect mortgage affordability in the Northwest Territories
A home’s price and the rate you’re offered aren’t the only factors that affect how much mortgage you can afford. You’ll also have to account for the following components, which play a role in all mortgages.
Debt service ratios
Lenders use debt service ratios to determine how much of your income goes toward paying debt. If those ratios are too high, you may not qualify for the mortgage amount you need.
Car loans, credit cards and lines of credit are all examples of debt that require regular payments. Decreasing some of these balances, or relying less heavily on credit, can help you lower your debt service ratios.
The mortgage stress test
You will have to pass the mortgage stress test if you want a home purchase funded by a federally regulated financial institution.
The rules of the stress test say you must qualify for a mortgage at a minimum qualifying rate of either 5.25% or the rate you’re offered plus 2%, whichever is higher. If a lender offers you a rate of 5%, for example, you’ll have to demonstrate you can afford the same mortgage at 7%.
You may be able to avoid the stress test if you apply for a mortgage with a lender that is not federally regulated, like a credit union.
Your down payment
Your down payment is a critically important factor in determining mortgage affordability. The more you can put down, the less you’ll need to borrow. Your monthly mortgage payment will likely be smaller, and you’ll pay less in interest.
The term is the length of time your mortgage contract is valid. In Canada, mortgage terms can run anywhere from six months to as long as 10 years.
Chances are that your mortgage will have multiple terms during the amortization period until you pay it off in full. Once your mortgage term ends, you can pay your loan off in full, renew it or refinance it.
A mortgage’s amortization period is the time it will take to pay off the loan in full. In Canada, the most common amortization period is 25 years. If your down payment is less than 20%, you can’t have an amortization beyond 25 years.
If your down payment is greater than 20%, you may find some lenders willing to offer amortization periods of up to 35 years.
Why would you want a longer amortization period? The longer your mortgage lasts, the smaller your monthly payment will be. You’ll pay more in interest, but that might be a worthwhile trade-off if it helps you keep your home.
How to compare mortgages from Northwest Territories lenders
Use APR for greater accuracy
The annual percentage rate (APR) includes fees and closing costs the lender may charge in addition to the interest rate. A lender offering the lowest rate may actually have a higher APR due to those additional costs. Comparing APRs is the easiest way to see the complete cost of each offer.
Compare similar mortgages
For a comparison to be useful, the mortgages should have the same term, amortization period and payment frequency.
When looking for the best mortgage rates in the Northwest Territories, also consider:
- Mortgage type.
- Ease of application.
- Prepayment penalties.
- Customer service.
- Any other fees not included in the APR.
You can also compare mortgage rates in other provinces to get a sense of how the rate you’ve been offered in the Northwest Territories stacks up:
- B.C. mortgage rates.
- Alberta mortgage rates.
- Saskatchewan mortgage rates.
- Manitoba mortgage rates.
- Ontario mortgage rates.
- Nova Scotia mortgage rates.
- New Brunswick Mortgage rates.
- Prince Edward Island mortgage rates.
- Newfoundland and Labrador mortgage rates.
- Yukon mortgage rates.
- Nunavut mortgage rates.
Working with a mortgage calculator can help you compare different mortgages in a single place.
There’s more to mortgage shopping than the interest rate
Scoring a low mortgage rate might be a home buyer’s prime motivation, but getting the lowest rate doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the best mortgage for your needs.
For example, you could opt for a fixed rate, which might cost more than a variable rate, if you’re more comfortable with the certainty that your rate won’t increase during the term.
Or, if you expect to come into a sizable sum of money soon (via an inheritance, for example), paying a higher rate for an open mortgage, which allows you to pay it off early without penalties, could be worth it.
Frequently asked questions about Northwest Territories mortgage rates
Mortgage rates are expected to decrease in 2024. If the Bank of Canada reduces its overnight rate by a full 100 basis points this year, as some analysts expect, variable mortgage rates will fall by 1% before the end of the year. If government bond yields continue declining, fixed mortgage rates should shrink well, but home buyers shouldn’t expect any mind-blowing bargains.
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