Mortgage Blog

Exploring Mortgage Amortization Extensions

December 7, 2023 | Posted by: Brie Robertson

Recent inflation numbers indicate that inflation is slowing, and many economists are saying that the most recent drop in the inflation rate will give the Bank of Canada the slack that it needs to hit pause on any rate hikes for the time being. While this is a positive sign, it is not necessarily translating to relief in the cost of living. Many people are still seeking solutions to mitigate the effects of sky-high grocery prices and other goods on their finances. Today, we are focusing on one strategy that could prove to be the difference maker in providing the financial breathing room you need – mortgage amortization extensions.

To start, let us clarify what an amortization period is. It represents the duration it takes to fully pay off your mortgage through regular payments. An amortization extension, on the other hand, refers to any period beyond your initially qualified amortization. 

Which Lenders and Banks Offer Amortization Extensions?

Prime lenders, who are federally regulated, typically do not offer amortization extensions beyond 30 years. However, if your current mortgage has a shorter amortization period (i.e.: 20 years), you can extend it when refinancing with them. Alternative mortgage lenders, often referred to as 'non-bank' lenders, may offer extensions of 35 to 40 years, provided you have at least a 20% down payment or more than 20% equity built up.

Who Can Extend Their Mortgage and Why?

First-time home buyers are typically limited to a maximum amortization period of 25 to 30 years. Most put less than 20% down needing default mortgage insurance that restricts amortization to a maximum of 25 years. However, if they have 20% or more to put down, they can extend the amortization beyond 25 years. 

In contrast, renewers may have the option to extend their amortization at the time of renewal. For example, they can go from 20 years back to 25 years or from 25 years back to 30 years to lower their monthly payments. Keep in mind that these options vary based on individual situations.

It is important to understand that extending your mortgage amortization outside of renewal would require refinancing, which may incur penalties and necessitate requalification at current rates. Nevertheless, refinancing can be a viable solution in certain circumstances. To explore your options fully, we recommend discussing your specific needs.

For Example ...

Imagine a young couple bought their first home 5 years ago with a $750,000 mortgage at 3.5% interest. They initially chose a 25-year amortization, making a monthly payment of $3,745. Now, at renewal, their balance is $635,000 with rates at 5.39%. They're considering extending their amortization to keep their monthly payment the same. Let's compare the numbers:

 

Amortization 

Monthly Payment 

Impact on monthly budget 

20 

$4,409 

– $664 

25 

$3,926 

– $181 

30 

$3,622 

+ $123 

35 

$3,419 

+ $326 

40 

$3,278 

+ $467 

Please note that rates over 30 years are only available with subprime lending, are for illustration purposes only. 

 

Extending your mortgage amortization can be an effective financial strategy, but as with any important financial decision, it is essential to weigh the risks and benefits carefully. If you have any questions or would like to explore your options further, please reach out to us.

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