Fixed term mortgages like expensive insurance: report

A study of 50 years of mortgage rates in Canada has unearthed some surprising news: consumers are better off taking a floating mortgage than locking themselves in to long term loans.

The study was paid for by Manulife Financial. Moshe Milevsky, a finance professor at York University, wrote the report.

"On a $100,000 mortgage, you could save 20 to 22-thousand dollars in interest payments over a 15-year life of the mortgage," says Milevsky.

But for many new home buyers, that kind of belief requires a leap of faith.

Chris Walls just found a new home and wants to lock in with a mortgage of six per cent over five years. Walls says she doesn't want to take the chance on rates going up and monthly payments increasing.

"I would be more concerned with the variable rate as to how high it could go and then you kick yourself for not going with the fixed rate when it was lower."

Some analysts agree with Walls. They say a fixed term is a good idea now with rates as low as they are.

To that end, Milevsky sticks to his theory, saying fixed term mortgages are much like expensive insurance.

However, mortgage analysts say those who like the stability of fixed payments or are on a tight budget should stick to fixed term mortgages.