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  • Writer's pictureDave Hall

Understanding the Types of Mortgages



Buying a home is a significant investment, and for most Canadians, it requires taking out a mortgage. A mortgage is a loan that is used to purchase a home, and it is secured by the property itself. There are different types of mortgages available in Canada, and each has its own features and benefits. In this blog post, we will explore the different types of mortgages in Canada and explain their characteristics.


Fixed-Rate Mortgage

A fixed-rate mortgage is a mortgage where the interest rate stays the same throughout the loan term, which is usually five years. This means that the borrower's monthly payments are fixed and do not change, even if interest rates rise or fall. Fixed-rate mortgages provide predictability and stability and are ideal for borrowers who prefer to have a consistent payment amount.


Variable-Rate Mortgage

A variable-rate mortgage is a mortgage where the interest rate can fluctuate during the loan term. The interest rate is tied to the Bank of Canada's prime rate, which means that if the prime rate goes up, the borrower's interest rate and monthly payments will go up as well. Conversely, if the prime rate goes down, the borrower's interest rate and monthly payments will go down too. Variable-rate mortgages provide flexibility and can be advantageous in a falling interest-rate environment.


Open Mortgage

An open mortgage is a mortgage that can be paid off, in full or in part, at any time during the term of the loan without any penalty. Open mortgages are usually short-term loans, typically six months to one year, and they are suitable for borrowers who plan to sell their homes or pay off their mortgage early.


Closed Mortgage

A closed mortgage is a mortgage that has a set term and cannot be paid off, in full or in part, without incurring a penalty. Closed mortgages are the most common type of mortgage in Canada, and they have a term of one to ten years. Closed mortgages offer lower interest rates than open mortgages, and they are suitable for borrowers who want to budget and plan their payments over a fixed term.


High-Ratio Mortgage

A high-ratio mortgage is a mortgage where the borrower is borrowing more than 80% of the purchase price of the home. In Canada, high-ratio mortgages are required to have mortgage insurance provided by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or private insurers. The purpose of mortgage insurance is to protect the lender in case the borrower defaults on the loan.


Conventional Mortgage

A conventional mortgage is a mortgage where the borrower is borrowing less than 80% of the purchase price of the home. Conventional mortgages do not require mortgage insurance, and they usually have lower interest rates than high-ratio mortgages.


Choosing the right mortgage is an important decision when buying a home. Understanding the different types of mortgages available in Canada and their characteristics can help borrowers make an informed decision that aligns with their financial goals and circumstances. Borrowers should consult with a mortgage professional to discuss their options and choose the mortgage that is best for them.

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