Interest in variable-rate mortgages increased 147% from October 2020 to 2021

Interest in variable-rate mortgages jumped 147 percent from October 2020 to October 2021, according to new data from, showing a “seismic shift” in how Canadians view mortgage products.

Only 12.96 percent of Canadians who began a quote on in the fall chose a variable-rate mortgage, while 87.5 percent chose a fixed-rate mortgage. In the meantime, 31.97 percent of people chose variable-rate mortgages this month, while 68.03 percent chose fixed-rate mortgages.

A variable rate mortgage, on the other hand, is based on the lender’s prime lending rate and can fluctuate — both up and down — throughout the length of the loan.

“A fixed mortgage rate is one that has a locked-in rate (and associated payment) over the life of the mortgage term, which is usually five years in Canada,” Jerome Trail, owner and broker of record at The Mortgage Trail, stated.

“It’s clear the main driver behind the recent trend is that variable-rate mortgages have by far become the better deal,” says John Shmuel, Managing Editor at

According to a recent Equifax study, Canadians took out 410,000 mortgages in the second quarter of 2021, which not only represented the largest quarterly increase on record (a 60 percent year-over-year increase), but also increased consumer debt to $2.15 trillion. This, according to, amplifies the growing interest in variable mortgage rates.

Furthermore, fixed mortgage rates have been rising in recent weeks. Shmuel agrees with Trail and points out that fixed-rate mortgages were near record lows just a year ago. But that is no longer the case.

“We have had commercial bond yields increase lately, and we have had a corresponding uptick in rates of approximately .25%,” said Trail. “[At the end of September], most 5-year fixed rates were around 2.09%… today, those same lenders are priced at 2.34%.”

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