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Scotiabank Mortgage Rates

Find the best mortgage rates in Canada from Scotiabank, all other major banks, mortgage brokers and lenders here.

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Scotiabank mortgage rates

The Bank of Nova Scotia (also known as Scotiabank or “Scotia” for short) is ranked as Canada's third-largest bank by market capitalization. The firm is a leading provider of mortgage rates and one of the most competitive big banks.

Scotiabank counts more than 10 million customers in Canada and more than 950 branch locations. Worldwide, the company serves more than 25 million customers. The company was founded in 1832 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, but later moved its headquarters to Toronto in 1900. Scotia has billed itself “Canada’s most international bank” due to its large presence in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Scotiabank Mortgages

Scotiabank is one of Canada’s major mortgage providers, and the largest lender in Canada’s mortgage broker channel. Most of Scotia’s mortgages are sold through its Home Financing Advisors, who provide personalized mortgage advice to clients at their homes, at work or on the go. The company’s marquee mortgage product is the Scotia STEP, a readvanceable mortgage and line of credit in one.

Most Scotia mortgages include two key features:

  • Match-a-Payment: This allows you to make an extra regular payment once during the year.
  • Miss-a-Payment: This allows you to miss a mortgage payment as long as you have matched one previously.

Most of Scotiabank's mortgage rates are based on a 25-year amortization, but 30-years is available with no surcharge, unlike most of the other big banks.

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Scotiabank posted mortgage rates

There are three types of mortgage rates that big banks quote: posted rates, special offer rates and discretionary rates. In the case of Scotiabank, there’s also a fourth and fifth category: broker rates (which are obtained by those using a mortgage broker) and online-only rates (via Scotia’s eHOME division).

  1. Posted rates: These are artificially high, non-discounted mortgage rates that very few borrowers will actually pay. Instead, posted rates are used by big banks predominantly as a starting point to calculate rate discounts. These discounts are an important component in their formulas for calculating prepayment penalties (the amount you must pay if you break your mortgage early).
  2. Special mortgage rates: Special offers are rates that have been marked down from the bank’s posted rates and are displayed publicly on Scotia's website. These are typically limited-time offers. Compared to some of the other big banks, Scotia typically has fewer special mortgage rates on offer at any given time.
  3. Discretionary rates: Those skilled in the art of negotiation can often haggle even lower rates from the bank’s Home Financing Advisors. You do so by requesting the bank’s lowest possible “floor rate.” The lowest discretionary rates are reserved for well-qualified clients and those who do a large amount of business with the bank.
  4. Broker rates: Because Scotia is one of only three big banks that participate in the mortgage broker channel, these are unpublished rates that are made available exclusively to mortgage brokers. They in turn quote these rates to their clients. Scotiabank’s broker rates are often about the same as those offered by the bank’s in-house sales team, but sometimes a bit higher. In both cases, these rates are usually lower than the bank’s special offer rates posted on its website.
  5. eHOME digital mortgage rates: Scotiabank is one of the only big banks to offer clients a mostly online mortgage process. Once you start that process and create an account, you gain access to Scotia’s eHOME mortgage rates. These are generally Scotia’s most-discounted rates.

Scotiabank fixed rate mortgages

There are three standard types of mortgages offered by Canada’s big banks, including Scotia. Those are: fixed, variable and hybrid.

Historically, Canadians’ preferred term has been the 5-year fixed term. Scotia clients are no exception.

Most of Scotiabank's fixed mortgage rates come with a 120-day rate hold, a 15% annual lump-sum prepayment option and a 15% annual payment increase option. If you’re obtaining your Scotia mortgage rate through a broker, they can often get you 20% prepayment privileges upon request.

If you have a fixed-rate mortgage and prepay more than the allowable amount, you’ll potentially face a steep prepayment penalty (more on that below). And in the event you’re paying out the mortgage, you'll also be dinged a discharge/assignment fee of up to $270, depending on your province (as of summer 2018).

Scotia Flex Value Mortgage (Variable Rate Mortgage)

While the 5-year fixed rate may be Canada’s favourite, the 5-year variable is the second-most requested term.

One of the benefits of Scotiabank’s Flex Value variable rate is that you can choose a fixed-payment option. This means that even if prime rate rises or falls, your monthly mortgage payment remains the same over the term. Instead, the amount that goes to interest rises or falls depending on which way prime rate moves. If prime rate climbs, for example, the portion going to cover interest will rise while the amount going towards principal decreases.

One of the benefits of a variable rate—aside from being able to take advantage of a historically low prime rate—is that floating rates entail a prepayment penalty of just three months’ interest. This can be far less than the cost to break a fixed rate, which often entails five-digit penalties (more on prepayment penalties below).

Scotia value mortgage

Scotia’s Value Mortgage is a less-frills version of the bank’s standard five-year fixed.

It’s got:

  • A rate that is typically about 1/10th of a percentage point lower than a regular Scotia mortgage
  • 10% lump-sum prepayments instead of 15%+
  • A once-a-year limit on lump-sum prepayments instead of the ability to make them anytime
  • An annual 10% payment increase option instead of 15%-plus double-up
  • A 90-day rate hold instead of 120 days

Other things to know about the Value Mortgage:

  • It's not available with the STEP product
  • It cannot be ported (which could be a deal-breaker for certain borrowers, since it requires them to pay a penalty to move their mortgage to a new property
  • It has no early refinance restrictions, however

Scotiabank specialized mortgage products

Aside from its standard mortgage products, Scotia offers a variety of specialized mortgage options. Here are some of them:

  • The Long and Short Mortgage: This is Scotiabank’s hybrid mortgage, which combines part variable rate and part fixed rate. This is ideal for those wanting a low-interest variable rate, but also the security of a longer-term fixed rate. Perfect for the indecisive among us.
  • Scotia Mortgage for Self Employed: This mortgage product is designed specifically for those who are self-employed or commission-based.
  • Scotiabank StartRight Mortgage Program for Temporary Residents: For temporary residents wanting to purchase a home while they are living in Canada, this is the mortgage product that can make that happen, as the name suggests.
  • Scotiabank StartRight Mortgage Program for Permanent Residents: Similar to the above-mentioned product, this mortgage is designed for permanent residents, but non-citizens, who have been in Canada for three years or less. These programs offer temporary and permanent residents access to fixed mortgage terms ranging from as low as six months to as long as 10-years as well as Scotia’s Flex Value variable rate.

Historical Scotiabank mortgage rates

Historical Scotiabank Mortgage Rates
*as of July 1, 2020
Current 5-year fixed rate: 2.97%

Scotiabank Total Equity Plan (STEP) - Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

The Scotiabank Total Equity Plan (STEP) is the bank’s marquis lending product and a great option for homebuyers who want quick access to the equity from their home.

This is a readvanceable mortgage product that allows homeowners to access up to 80% of the equity in their home. The mortgage can also be split into up to three types of mortgages and terms, including fixed and variable rates.

Scotia allows up to 65% of the mortgage to be in a revolving line of credit, meaning you only have to pay the interest each month. You can repay the outstanding amount as quickly as you want without penalty.

The remaining 15% can be borrowed in the form of an amortizing mortgage portion, which means payments are scheduled and include both interest cost and principal (similar to a regular mortgage).

The STEP can also be registered for the full home value, allowing you to increase your credit limit later without using a lawyer. That saves you legal fees. (A new application is required each time you ask for a higher credit limit.)

Customers find STEPs useful for a range of purposes, including renovations, business capital, emergencies and leveraged investing (using strategies like the Smith Manoeuvre).

Historical Scotiabank HELOC rates

These were the bank’s standard rates. They applied to lines of credit of $50,000 or more.

Historical Scotiabank HELOC rates
*as of July 1, 2020
Current Scotiabank HELOC rate: 2.95%

How do you get a Scotiabank mortgage?

There are several ways to obtain a mortgage from Scotiabank. Here are more details about some of those channels

1. Scotiabank eHOME mortgages

Launched in 2019, eHOME is Scotiabank’s digital mortgage offering. With it, Scotia became the first Big 6 bank to display its discounted rates online (without the need to haggle with a mortgage advisor). You must start an application to have access to the rates, but you don’t need to submit to a credit check.

Scotia boasts fast closing times through eHOME—nearly as quickly as you’re able to get your documents together and arrange your lawyer. In many cases, a physical appraisal isn’t even required as appraisals—particularly in the post-COVID world—can be done electronically.

As of June 2020, eHOME is only for purchases and not available in Quebec. This will change eventually. Additionally, mortgage applications can only be submitted with a maximum of two applicants on any one deal.

For more information, visit Scotiabank’s eHOME portal.

2. Using a Scotiabank Home Financing Advisor

A large percentage of Scotia’s mortgages are sold through its team of Home Financing Advisors. These commissioned salespeople operate similar to a mortgage broker, often meeting their clients at home, work or a public place, with most of their subsequent communications taking place electronically.

Like a mortgage broker, Scotia’s mortgage advisors can also forfeit part of their commission and buy down a rate to offer the client an even better deal. Remember that when dealing with a Scotia Home Financing Advisor, particularly if you find their initial rate offer high.

Other points to keep in mind:

  • Home Financing Advisors (HFAs) only serve new bank customers.
  • For existing homeowners looking to renew or refinance, you should contact the bank’s customer service centre directly: 1-877-303-8879.
  • You can locate a Scotiabank Home Financing Advisor directly from the Scotiabank website.
  • Unlike mortgage brokers, HFAs do not compare multiple lenders for you.

3. Using a Scotia-Approved Broker

While mortgage brokers can get you a Scotia mortgage rate similar to the bank’s team of Home Financing Advisors, a few things differentiate the two.

While both can use their commission to buy down those rates, this is a practice more commonly associated with brokers, since many of them publicly advertise bought-down rates.

Scotiabank is one of only three big banks that participate directly in the broker channel. It dominates market share among broker lenders with approximately a quarter of the market (as of year-end 2019).

Virtually all mortgage brokers listed on RATESDOTCA can also help you get a competitively priced Scotia mortgage.

How to get the best Scotiabank mortgage rate

If you’ve been reading the sections above, you’ll know that Scotiabank’s best mortgage rates are often not advertised on its website. Scotia’s lowest rates are sometimes reserved for well-qualified buyers who are willing to negotiate.

Even though dealing with a big bank can be intimidating, remember that they always have room to negotiate if they really want your business. To ensure you’re a client whose business they’ll fight for, be sure to maintain a high credit score and clean credit history.

It also helps if you’re seeking a large mortgage, like $400,000+. Just remember, your finances and debt obligations must be able to easily support such a mortgage.

Before attempting to negotiate Scotiabank’s rate offer, be sure to do your research (using this site, for example). Step one is to inform yourself of the rates currently being offered by other lenders for a comparable mortgage. This information can be used as leverage during your negotiations, but keep in mind Scotia may only choose to match a rate quote from another big bank as opposed to a smaller brokerage or credit union.

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Scotiabank mortgage renewals

While it may seem intuitive that clients who have been loyal to their bank would be rewarded with lower mortgage rates, it sometimes doesn’t work that way.

In fact, existing big-bank mortgage clients are often offered inferior rates compared to those offered to new clients. This is largely because your bank knows most clients are “sticky.” In other words, they usually accept a slightly higher rate to avoid spending time and effort to seek a new lender.

Knowing this, you should never accept the first rate you’re offered at renewal, whether it’s from Scotiabank or any other lender. Let the bank know you plan to explore other lenders unless they sharpen their pencils. Since this process can be time-consuming, be sure to get started no later than 60 to 120 days before your mortgage is up for renewal.

For mortgage renewal tips and a gameplan on how to deal with your lender’s mortgage rate offer, check out this story: Prepare for Your Lender’s Mortgage Renewal ‘Song and Dance’.

All this said, Scotiabank is notorious for contacting borrowers six months before renewal with “special” early renewal offers. Sometimes they’re great deals, sometimes they’re not. You have to compare to the market to know.

Scotiabank Pros

A mortgage from a big bank isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but there are some of advantages of having your mortgage with Scotiabank:

  • Full-service: One of the biggest advantages of dealing with a big bank is the wide selection of complementary bank services you gain access to. This can include additional banking accounts, investment products, insurance or other secured/unsecured loans. Sometimes these products are offered at discounts for mortgage customers.
  • Rate discretion: Scotiabank has pretty deep pockets and can—in some cases—offer highly competitive discretionary rates. These are negotiated on a case-by-case basis, however, and your likelihood of getting them down to a low rate may depend partly on your qualifications and how much additional business you have with the bank.
  • Reputation/Security: As one of the top banks in the country, Scotiabank has rigid controls and anti-fraud measures in place to ensure your assets and personal information are in safe hands.
  • You can get one from a broker: If you prefer to have your mortgage with a big bank, but like the idea of having a broker do the legwork and negotiations for you, Scotia is a good choice. One of the advantages of using a broker is that they can use part of their commission to buy down rates even lower, they can secure better prepayment options, and sometimes even better HELOC terms.
  • Branch access: With more than 950 branches across Canada (as of June 2020), you’re likely close to a brick-and-mortar location. That said, Scotia is also a leading bank when it comes to digital adoption (take its eHOME digital mortgage platform, for example).

Scotiabank Cons

As with any lender, there are sure to be some downsides. Here are some disadvantages of getting a mortgage from Scotiabank:

  • Potentially higher rates: Like any big bank, Scotiabank tries to maximize margins, meaning you might not be offered the bank’s lowest rates right off the bat. To obtain a deep-discounted “discretionary rate,” be prepared for negotiation. And make sure you’re well-qualified, otherwise your efforts will be futile.
  • High fixed penalties: While some mortgage lenders offer discounted prepayment penalties on fixed mortgage rates, Scotiabank isn’t one of them (nor are any of the top 10 banks, for that matter). They often use an Interest Rate Differential (IRD) prepayment charge, which is based on artificially high posted rates. That results in much larger breakage penalties for many borrowers, compared to a non-bank lender.
  • Less choice: When you choose a big bank, perhaps to keep all of your financial accounts in one place, you limit your mortgage options. Big banks only sell their own branded loans, meaning they’ll almost never tell you about potentially better deals elsewhere.
  • Restrictive mortgage insurance: Scotiabank doesn’t allow its creditor life mortgage insurance to be ported should you switch to a new lender. As a result, you would need to buy new insurance when you move, which could entail higher premiums due to age or illness.

What is Scotiabank's prime rate?

As one of the country’s Big 6 banks, Scotiabank’s prime rate is used in the Bank of Canada’s formula for setting the benchmark prime rate. Virtually all floating-rate mortgages and lines of credit are priced using the prime rate.

Prime rate typically changes only when the Bank of Canada adjusts its overnight target rate. While Scotia is rarely the first bank to announce its prime rate changes following a Bank of Canada rate move, it nearly always follows the movements of the other big banks.

10 year history of Scotiabank prime rate

10-Year history of Scotiabank prime rate
Prime rate changed a lot in 2020 due to COVID-19
Current Scotiabank Prime Rate = 2.45%

Scotiabank prepayment charges

One of the biggest drawbacks of getting your mortgage from a big bank is the high penalty often charged when breaking a fixed-rate mortgage.

Large penalties aren’t usually an issue for variable-rate mortgages, since their penalties entails three months’ interest. But, for fixed rates, the penalty is calculated based on the greater of:

  • Three months’ interest, or
  • The interest rate differential (IRD)
    • This is the difference between your rate and the rate the bank could lend at today, for a term equivalent to your remaining term. The more your rate is above today’s rates, the higher the IRD charge.

Unlike some of the other lenders, Scotia is fairly transparent about its prepayment charges and how they are calculated. They even have a webpage dedicated to the topic.

To learn more about breaking a Scotiabank mortgage, visit the bank’s guide: What You Need to Know About Mortgages & Mortgage Prepayment Charges.

More Scotiabank statistics

  • Mortgage Portfolio: The bank's mortgage portfolio includes more than $232 billion in residential loans (as of Q2 2020).
  • Branches: 950
  • Provinces Served: All
  • Clients worldwide: 25 million
  • Full- and part-time employees worldwide: 88,000
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