TORONTO – Scotiabank (TSX:BNS) is causing some new waves in the mortgage rate market after lowering its special fixed five-year rate to 2.97 per cent, the lowest among the big banks.
The rate is effective until June 7, and comes amid growing competition for mortgages that have pushed rates down in recent months.
It’s also below the 2.99 per cent level that drew sharp criticism from Ottawa in the past over fears that such rates would trigger a damaging housing bubble.
Finance Minister Joe Oliver has said in the past that unlike his predecessor Jim Flaherty, he had no plans to wade into the debate over the setting of mortgage rates, calling it a “private” decision by lenders.
But he has signalled he would keep an eye on the changes, noting that Ottawa has intervened in the past.
Investors Group recently offered a 1.99 per cent rate for a 36-month closed, variable-rate mortgage, but Scotiabank is the first of the big banks to push its fixed rate down below three per cent in recent months.
Scotiabank is also offering a five-year variable rate of 2.47 per cent.