U.S. Mortgage Exchange Risk

If you’re a Canadian buying a 2nd home in the U.S. there’s a chance you’ll need a U.S. mortgage.  If so, you’ll be paying that mortgage in American dollars. 

That’s fine…unless the Canadian dollar takes a nose dive, like its been doing lately.

Canadian-Dollar

Last week the Canadian dollar plunged 4% versus the U.S. dollar.  It was the biggest weekly drop since 1971 according to foreign exchange provider, HiFX.  That means a $250,000 house in the U.S. just got $10,000 more expensive for Canadians.

If you have a U.S. mortgage, exchange rates also come into play when you make your monthly payments.  One way to avoid this risk is to refinance your Canadian home and use that money for your purchase.  That way you can buy in the States and have your debt in Canadian dollars.

Another way is to lock in your exchange rate in advance.  HiFX, for example, lets you lock in mortgage payment exchange rates for up to two years. 

If it’s a big one-time amount you’re transferring to U.S. dollars (like a down payment), then a foreign exchange specialist might save you some money.  HiFX and Custom House are two such providers. 

Banks generally charge much higher spreads.  Sometimes the difference is more than 1/2 to 3/4%, which is $500 to $750 on $100,000.

(Chart from Barchart.com)

Copy link