British Columbia is not only internationally renowned for its natural beauty, but also home to several of Canada’s largest and most expensive real estate markets.
Mortgage shoppers in British Columbia are able to take advantage of the second-most competitive mortgage market in the country—after Ontario—and as a result, can often find among the best mortgage rates in Canada.
There are more mortgage brokers per capita competing for business in the province, which also boasts a strong credit union presence. Both of these market segments compete head-to-head with the big banks, stoking competition that helps drive down mortgage rates.
British Columbia is home to some of the highest average home prices in the country, despite experiencing a housing downturn in 2018 and early 2019, which quickly caused a 180 from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market.
In 2019, the average home price was $700,397, down 1.6% from the previous year according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). B.C. home prices are expected to rise by 4.8% in 2020 to $734,000.
There was a total of 77,349 sales in 2019, a 1.5% decline from 2017, though that’s expected to rebound by 10% in 2020 to more than 85,000 sales. Keep in mind that these forecasts were derived prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and are likely to be revised down.
British Columbia has a robust mortgage market comprised of mortgage brokers, credit unions, Canada’s big banks, and of course a small percentage of private and alternative lenders.
British Columbia’s mortgage market, like many other parts of Canada, also sees aggressive competition from international banks and financial institutions, such as HSBC, as well as Canada’s Big 5 banks. CIBC and BMO have tended to dominate the market for higher-end properties, which comprises a large part of the Vancouver and Victoria real estate markets
Mortgage brokers are a third and vital component of British Columbia's competitive landscape, and they are a major reason why the province has the second-best mortgage rates of any province in the country.
Some of the most competitive mortgage rates in Canada can be found in British Columbia. This can be attributed primarily to the province’s large population—compared to a majority of other Canadian provinces—and stable urban housing markets, even throughout the 2018 downturn.
Workers in the Greater Vancouver Area also receive a higher income per capita due to the higher cost of living, which means buyers are not as rate-sensitive compared to other provinces
Nobody should begin their mortgage journey without first comparing mortgage rates in order to have a better understanding of what constitutes the lowest mortgage rates in British Columbia.
The difference between British Columbia's best and worst mortgage rates can be as much as a full percentage point or more. Comparing mortgage rates (on sites such as RateSupermarket.ca) can give you a better idea of the best rates that are available from reputable mortgage providers in British Columbia.
While banks and credit unions do offer discounted rates that can be competitive, the best rates are typically found from brokers, who often buy down rates using their commission and then offer their clients' cashback to lower their effective mortgage rate.
The Greater Vancouver Area is the engine of British Columbia’s mortgage market performance, thanks in large part to its competitive housing market and high home prices. B.C. saw home prices rising by double digits for years leading up to its housing market peak in 2017.
The runaway prices led to the provincial government implementing a 15% foreign homebuyer’s tax on home purchases in metro Vancouver as of Aug. 2, 2016.
Because British Columbia’s population density is predominantly situated in and around the Greater Vancouver and Victoria areas, and in the southern part of the province’s interior, that allows for a greater concentration of mortgage providers in those markets. British Columbia mortgage brokers are often able to offer the lowest mortgage rates on the market. The largest brokerages operating in the province include:
Some of the top online discount brokers that are licensed in British Columbia include:
As mentioned earlier, British Columbia is home to a large and healthy contingent of credit unions operating in the province. In fact, three of the five biggest cooperative lenders in the country lend in British Columbia.
Some of the top British Columbia credit unions include:
Some of the lowest mortgage rates in British Columbia can often be found from credit unions, particularly through their mortgage promos during the busy spring homebuying season.
If you’re shopping for a home, don’t rule out a mortgage from one of British Columbia’s top credit unions.
If you’re able to grab a great mortgage deal, it could be worth making the switch from your big bank or existing financial institution.