Categories for Rate Regulation

Could CMHC Close This Stress Test Loophole?

It’s no secret. Many homebuyers that had no trouble qualifying for a mortgage in 2017 are finding big challenges in 2019. As we wrote yesterday, the government’s harsher mortgage “stress test” is a key reason why. The problem is exacerbated by the banks’ refusal to lower their posted 5-year fixed rates, despite a 55-basis-point drop in the 5-year bond yield...

It’s Time to Rethink the Stress Test: CIBC

“You usually need to be in a recession to see household credit rising this slowly.”—Ben Tal, CIBC Here’s something everyone in the mortgage industry already knew, and CIBC just re-confirmed. The government’s mortgage stress tests have caused most of Canada’s lending slowdown since 2017. That’s the conclusion of CIBC Economics. As a result, the bank’s widely-respected econo-wizard Benjamin Tal concludes, “…Regulators should...

RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan Repayment Rates…Suck

Drain your RRSP further to buy a new home. That’s what the government is encouraging with its newly increased RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) limit, which just rose from $25,000 to $35,000. You’ll probably draw your own conclusion as to whether that’s a good idea. We support it in limited cases, with caution. In fact, yours truly used it to...

First-Time Home Buyer Incentive Fail

Summary: The CMHC Shared Equity Mortgage comes up short, based on the info the government has graced us with thus far. Some of these projections may change, however, as the government releases more information on the programs. OK, someone please tell us our numbers¹ are wrong, because from where we sit the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) just announced by...

Ottawa’s Mortgage Stress Test. Who Do We Believe?

The two top policy-makers in Canada’s mortgage market don’t seem to be on the same page—at least not with what they’re feeding the public about the mortgage “stress test.” Observe these two statements about why the stress test—which is part of banking regulator OSFI’s contentious “Guideline B-20″—was implemented: Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance: “…We wanted to make sure that [home]...

New Regulation Could Boost Mortgage Rates

So many factors can cause you to pay a higher mortgage rate. One of the least transparent is government regulation. Since 2008, Ottawa has layered mortgage policy upon mortgage policy, thereby boosting lender funding costs an estimated 25-50+ basis points depending on lender and mortgage type. These changes include the removal of insurability on various loan types (default-insured mortgages are...

OSFI’s Stress Test, Part II – Sensible Fine-tuning

In a speech last week, Canada’s banking regulator brushed off the “unintended consequences” of its controversial mortgage stress test with one sententious comment: “…The answer to this important problem…cannot be more consumer debt, fuelled by lower underwriting standards.” — OSFI Assistant Superintendent Carolyn Rogers She could not have been more right. More slack in “underwriting standards” was the last thing...

OSFI’s Stress Test – How We Got Here – Part I

Never before has Canada’s banking regulator received so much pushback on a mortgage rule. OSFI has felt such heat from its controversial “B-20” stress test, that it’s started a campaign to defend its position—e.g., this speech last Tuesday (video) and this one last Thursday. From that and from what we know of regulators’ non-public comments, one thing appears clear. The government has...

Are 30-year Insured Amortizations Coming Back?

The Department of Finance is considering a return to 30-year amortizations on insured mortgages, says the Canadian Homebuilders’ Association (as reported in the Globe and Mail). The last time we had 30-year amortizations on insured mortgages was 2012. This time, however, only first-time buyers might get access to them. Called “extended amortizations,” 30-year payback periods are still available to anyone getting an...

Could Ottawa Up the Default Insurance Limit?

If we were betting types, we’d wager that in coming months the government makes it possible to mortgage a 7-figure property with just a modest down payment. Here’s why. At the moment, there is a $1 million property value limit if you want to buy a house with less than 20% down and get the best mortgage rates. That price...