- the source for market opinions


July 26, 2019 | More Stress

A best-selling Canadian author of 14 books on economic trends, real estate, the financial crisis, personal finance strategies, taxation and politics. Nationally-known speaker and lecturer on macroeconomics, the housing market and investment techniques. He is a licensed Investment Advisor with a fee-based, no-commission Toronto-based practice serving clients across Canada.

Four of the six Big Banks have now chopped their posted 5-year fixed mortgage rates. That leaves TD and CIBC as the outliers, with everybody else moving to 5.19%.

Of course that’s not the rate you actually borrow at. All of these guys will happily load you up with debt at less than 3% for a fiver. So the ‘posted’ rate is, like me (without the ripped torso), an anachronism. Makes you wonder why they bother, when nobody actually pays that.

The main reason seems (naturally) to make money. By having a high, official, posted rate the banks can charge more when someone breaks their mortgage and must buy their way out. That happens a lot. As you may know the cost of doing this is generally three months’ worth of interest or the difference between the mortgage loan rate and the posted rate over the remaining period of the mortgage – whichever’s more painful. Thus the higher the official number in a declining rate environment, the more to be garnered in break fees.

So while the yield on government bonds has crumbled, and the marketplace is full of home loans as cheap as 1.99%, the banks have maintained these inflated posted rates, even as their own customers load up for far less. Now you know why.

By the way, the fact four of six banks have moved down a little (and the others will probably follow) means the stress test stays at 5.19% for quite a while to come. This week the Royal’s CEO said that was a good thing – that the national housing market “has stabilized” and “achieved balance” as a result of the stress test and other government measures. The test might need some tweaking, he hinted (probably making people renewing mortgages exempt), but is worth hanging on to.

RBC is the largest bank and the biggest mortgage lender. Its CEO does not say stuff off the cuff. Moisters thinking Justin will come along and trash the test should cut back on the ganja. It’s not happening.

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This pathetic blog is, like, eleven years old. There have been 3,454 posts containing the same number of words as 43 books (although some of the words may have been used more than once). So far visitors have posted 615,000 comments. Well, actually there were a lot more comments but I deleted those which were in poor taste, demeaning, vulgar, aggressively ad hominem, too damn stupid to publish or wounded my fragile and sensitive nature.

All of those comments appeared here in the order they were written and submitted. No attempt at organization. Complete chaos. Some people like that, especially the morons who get off posting ‘First!’. But many people don’t. Like Ron. He writes:

I have suggested this several times before but I don’t give up easily …

  • Why should you use threaded/nested comments on
    Your visitors can interact and respond to other comments easily and with less confusion, which enhances user experience.
  • If you receive a lot of comments, threaded comments can add a lot to the interactivity of the conversation. With Linear commenting the conversation appears broken.
  • With the threaded comments mode, you control the conversation by setting the level allowed in your comment thread, from 1 to 10 in your dashboard.
  • With default WordPress settings, comments are linear. In this case, longer discussions tend to get confusing, as the reader has to keep track of Who is responding to Whom.
  • You can reply to comments directly within the thread, rather than at the bottom of the Comments Section.

Quite often, those of us in the steerage section find ourselves in the midst of ongoing disputes/discussions/squabbles on the blog. Unfortunately, we have to sift through every comment on the blog since the comments/replies are not grouped accordingly, which is quite time consuming. Oftentimes, replies refer to comments made on previous days’ posts.

This would have HUGE benefits and would allow the “steerage section” to easily “separate the wheat from the chaff”.  Plus, an added benefit for you … they will think you are a technical genius and up on the latest blogging trends, which of course you are.

Threaded comments would certainly allow people to argue with each other more effectively without having to read and absorb other opinions and uncomfortably expand their horizons. But is that a good thing? Will the blog descend into a Reddit-style, navel-gazing, myopic slurry of misinformed, opinionated slop? Or is this how intelligent people use the Internet, able to target their words?

Beats me. I just put on my helmet and hip waders when I visit below decks, and that seems to work. But does Ron have a point? Or does this blog work the way it is? Sort of.

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July 26th, 2019

Posted In: The Greater Fool

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