First National Financial LP

Residential Mortgage Commentary - BoC looks to interest rate cuts

  • First National Financial LP

Anyone who is eager for the Bank of Canada to start lowering interest rates will probably be happy with what Governor Tiff Macklem has been saying.  But it comes with a caveat.

Appearing in front of the Commons Finance Committee, last week, Macklem told MPs the central bank is getting closer to cutting rates as inflation is showing signs of going down and staying down.

“The message to Canadians is, we are getting closer. We are seeing what we need to see and we just need to be confident that it will be sustained," Macklem said.

The Bank focuses on “core inflation”, which strips out items like food and fuel which can be subject to volatile price swings.  That measure is now inside the Bank’s 1.0% - 3.0% target range.  Headline inflation is also inside the target range at 2.9%. 

The housing market tends to get a lot of attention during interest rate discussions and Macklem concedes that the Bank’s policy has been “restraining” demand for housing.  He expects demand will grow this year, which will likely bring price increases along with more affordability concerns.

Macklem cautions that rates are unlikely to return to the record low (and nearly zero) levels that have been in place since the global recession from 2009 to 2021 and through the COVID pandemic.  He also warned that, when the Bank does start reducing rates, "it's likely to be a pretty gradual path."

"Canadians should not be expecting a rapid decline in interest rates," he said.