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Government Adds New Qualifying Requirements for Uninsured Mortgages


Blog by Stu Bell | October 17th, 2017


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October 17, 2017
Correction notice: Please note that the federal government’s new mortgage requirements apply to any home buyer applying to receive an uninsured mortgage from a federally regulated financial institution. A previous version of the below message incorrectly stated that the new rules apply to first-time home buyers seeking an uninsured mortgage. We’ve corrected the message below and apologize for the confusion.
Government adds new qualifying requirements for uninsured mortgages

Effective January 1, 2018, home buyers who don’t require mortgage insurance — those with a down payment of 20 per cent or more — must qualify for their mortgage at a higher rate

This new stress test won’t apply to people renewing their uninsured mortgage.

Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced these rule changes today. Draft changes were released in the summer for public feedback. (The Canadian Real Estate Association submitted this response to the draft rules in August on behalf of REALTORS® across the country.)

Under the new rules, the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages will be the greater of the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate or the contractual mortgage rate plus two per cent.

OSFI will also require lenders to enhance their loan-to-value (LTV) limits and restrict certain lending arrangements designed to circumvent LTV limits.

These changes apply to all federally regulated financial institutions.

This is the seventh time since 2008 that the federal government has made mortgage policy changes.

Read the government’s full announcement here.

Economic analysis from the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA):

“The impact of the new stress test requirement will be to lower the purchasing power of households by up to 20 per cent. Like past tightening of mortgage regulations, we anticipate that the market impact will be sharp but temporary. In the past, we’ve seen home sales decline in the three to nine months following the implementation of tighter mortgage lending standards, with the severity of the impact fading within one year. However, these new regulations impact a larger pool of mortgages and so the impact could be more significant than in the past,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA chief economist