The current Bank Of Canada qualifying rate is 5.19%

Recently, the Bank of Canada dropped their qualifying rate to 5.19%. This drop could make qualifying for a mortgage easier for some borrowers. To understand how the current rate will impact borrowers, you first need to identify if you are an insured or uninsured borrower: 

Here’s how: 


If you have less than 20% downpayment you will be securing an insured mortgage (otherwise known as a high-ratio mortgage), and the mortgage will be backed by the Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC), Genworth or Canada Guaranty. 

Barb Pinsent from Mortgage by Barb explains “A mortgage with less than 20% down is required to have insurance. The insurance premium is a one-time amount added to the final mortgage balance.” 

This insurance is also referred to as default insurance which protects the mortgage lender in case there is a loss in principal balance as a result of a mortgage foreclosure. Both the lender and the insurer need to approve your application. The maximum home purchase price allowed on an insured mortgage is $999,999. The maximum amortization for an insured mortgage is 25 years. 

Confused? Pop over to my blog post Words To Know When Buying A Home where you will learn what some of these terms and their meanings are.


All insured mortgages need to qualify using the Bank of Canada’s Conventional 5 Year fixed posted rate (also referred to as the Benchmark Rate). “The current rate is 5.19%. Once Qualified, I then start to shop the market to get the best financing options for my clients,” says Barb. Once the right fit is found, the rate presented is called the Contract Rate, and is what mortgage payments are based upon. 

Since this is considered a high-ratio/insured buyer, in most cases, the default insurance premium is added to the mortgage balance so the buyer is not out of pocket. However in doing so, this means the buyer is charged the mortgage interest rate on the insurance premium amount. 

“Default insurance protects the lender, which reduces its risk and that is why mortgage rates are typically lower for insured transactions,” advises Barb. 


Securing an uninsured mortgage (otherwise know as a low-ratio/conventional mortgage) means applying for a mortgage that meets one of the following criteria: 

  • It is a purchase of $1 million or more
  • A minimum down payment of 20%
  • The purchase of a non-owner occupied single-unit rental: 
  • Refinancing (i.e. replacing the current mortgage loan with an increased mortgage size)


To qualify for an insured mortgage, it is mandatory to use the higher of the two rates; the contract rate + 2% OR the Bank of Canada’s 5.19% qualifying rate. These mortgages can have 30 year amortizations and have a home value of any size. Conventional mortgages are higher risk for lenders as they are without the protection of default insurance, hence the rates tend to be slightly higher for a conventional mortgage. 

Not sure which option is best for you or have additional questions about the qualifying process? Contact Barb from Mortgages by Barb on 780-370-1490 who will assist you in understanding all your mortgage options. 

If you would like to see how your personal situation is effected by the new qualifying rate, you can download My Mortgage Planner App and complete the Stress Test.