Categories for Rate Regulation

Could the Stress Test Exacerbate the Credit Card Problem?

Mortgage debt has been in the crosshairs of federal regulators for years. But considerably less attention has been paid recently to unsecured debt—i.e. credit card—balances for which have been growing at an alarming pace. And with the 2016/2018 mortgage stress tests crimping the amount homeowners can borrow at low rates, it’s likely that even more Canadians will be forced to...

The Conservative Housing Affordability Plan – Is it the Answer?

The latest party trying to win your vote with promises of housing affordability is the Conservative Party of Canada. Here’s a quick look at what it announced Monday… Idea #1 Conservative Proposal: “Fix the mortgage stress test to ensure that first-time homebuyers aren’t unnecessarily prevented from accessing mortgages and work with OSFI to remove the stress test from mortgage renewals to...

Rates Hit 2-Month High + Other Rate Nuggets

Bond Bloodbath It was a grisly Friday the 13th in the bond market. Investors ran from bonds like they were being chased by Jason Voorhees with a chainsaw. U.S. 5-year bonds crashed (yields soared 12 bps), which drove Canada’s 5-year to a two-month high. For non-bondy types, bond selling drives up rates since the two move inversely. Catalysts for the carnage...

The FTHBI Becomes More Useful (to First-Time Buyers)

It didn’t take the government long to propose changes to the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI). Just 10 days after the program launched, and following criticism that the Liberals’ new program didn’t address housing needs in high-priced markets, the Libs have tweaked it. Effective this November, if you live in one of three high-cost regions, qualifying for the program may...

Mortgage Stress Test Changes in 2019

“There’s no doubt that mortgage rate declines since the start of this year have contributed to stabilize Canada’s housing market,” said RBC economist Robert Hogue in a report last week. That might be news to some, given the rates used to qualify borrowers for approval have barely moved in 2019. We asked Mr. Hogue to share what he sees and he...

First-Time Home Buyer Incentive. A Bridge to Nowhere?

If you’ve been waiting for details about the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) program, hoping it would help you qualify for a mortgage, you may be disappointed. The government finally showed all its cards with the FTHBI scheme and we can’t find a case where it would actually improve someone’s buying power—i.e., bridge the gap between high home prices and what...

Scheer Promises to End Mortgage Stress Test on Switches

One of the worst mortgage policies in Canadian history could come to an end by next year. That is, if the Conservatives win the October 21 federal election. Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer summarized the problem for the Canadian Home Builders’ Association on Friday, saying: “If you want to switch lenders you have to go through the stress test. But if...

Save for 4,635 Days. Beat the Stress Test

Just failed the mortgage stress test and feeling down? Have no fear, a bigger down payment will get you to the mortgage promised land. By putting down more, you’ll lower your debt ratio and be passing the stress test before you know it…as long as you don’t expect a mortgage before 2031. That’s how long stress test flunkies would have...

Rate Nuggets: The Nosedive in Refinancing

Mortgage regulation and higher rates changed the game in 2018, lowering the amounts borrowers could qualify for by up to 20% and reducing the incentive to renegotiate for a better rate. That had clear implications for refi volumes. Using Teranet‘s 2018 Ontario data as a guide, the number of borrowers: refinancing with their existing lender plunged 36% (vs 2017) switching their...

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...