Big banks exercising restraint on mortgage rates

After taking heat for aggressively dropping their mortgage rates last year, Canada's Big Five banks are now exercising some restraint, according to a report from The Globe and Mail.

Back in March 2013, Bank of Montreal cut its five-year mortgage rate to 2.99 per cent, thus starting a chain reaction of sorts. Manulife Bank promptly followed suit as the spring housing season kicked off.

This did not sit well with federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, as he had been working hard to slow the market. He heavily criticized the lenders who decreased the rates and heaped praise upon those who did not. Flaherty's intervention marks the second straight year that a mortgage rate war erupted as spring approached.

It's an entirely different picture this year. Canadian mortgage rates generally follow five-year bond rates, but while bond yields are trending downward, the banks do not appear to have any interest in participating in a race to the bottom for mortgage customers.

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