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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Breaking your mortgage: ‘It’s either worth it or it’s not’

Fixed-rate mortgages are at historic lows but if you are locked in to a contract with your bank, those benefits may be yet elusive. First you have to do the math to see if breaking your contract is worth the penalties you may face.

“There is no grey area,” says Cindy David, a certified financial planner at Dupuis Langen Financial Management Ltd. in Vancouver. “It’s either worth it or it’s not.”

The big five banks are offering four and five year mortgages at just 2.99%.

“We’re even seeing 10-year fixed rate mortgages at 3.99%,” says Ms. David. “Think about that:  Interest and principal at 3.99% for 10 years. From a financial planning perspective if any client approached me and said ‘Should I look into breaking my mortgage?’ My answer would be yes.”

Step one comes down to meeting with your financial institution and doing the math to determine whether or not the cost of breaking your mortgage is worth the anticipated savings from the lower rates. The fact is the penalty for breaking a mortgage can be thousands of dollars and in many cases, the cost and the future savings cancel each other out, in which case you may be wise to wait until your mortgage is up for renewal.