For the past few days you may have heard discussions and reports about mortgages in the media! This week the Federal Minister of Finance announced some sweeping changes to Mortgage Regulations in Canada. These changes are significant and will no doubt have an impact on many borrowers as well as the Canadian Real Estate Market AND the mortgage lending industry as a whole.
The immediate response from many within my industry has been a shocking doom and gloom attitude. It has by far been one of the most interesting weeks for media coverage since I launched my Mortgage Broker business in 2007. I have been in this world of lending since the early 90’s (YIKES) and I have seen many ups and downs. With all this flurry of news over the past few days, I can’t help but think to myself “this too, shall pass”.
Since Monday morning, I have been busy reading and trying to understand the true impact of all of these new rules and regulations. There are many opinions floating around and one must be careful when reading the various media outlet versions of the changes. It can seem scary and perhaps like the “sky is falling”!! I am keeping a positive attitude. Change is inevitable and this is not the first time we have seen sweeping new regulations. We will get accustomed to a new reality in mortgage lending and life will go on! That is one thing I can be certain about.
The key change that will affect you as a homeowner or potential homeowner, is that if you’re applying for a new high ratio mortgage or even applying for conventional mortgage financing*, you will likely need to qualify for the financing at a rate about two percent higher (4.64%) than what you’ll actually pay. The government calls this “stress testing”. The intention is that if borrowers can still afford the mortgage at this much higher rate, if or when rates jump to that higher rate, over the next few years, the mortgage is “safe” from default.
What does this really mean? For a purchase price of say $750,000 and 10% down (or $75,000) under the current rules, a household would need $130,000 per year in combined income to qualify. Under the new rules, that same family will need $160,000 in annual household income to qualify for this same mortgage. The new underwriting rules will lower borrowing ability by between 18% and 24% on average. For some borrowers, this limitation may not be a bad thing as it will equip them for future higher rates.
There are other changes as well which limit the ability of Non-Bank lenders to continue to operate in the same very successful manner that they have been for the last several years. This point is more worrisome as it will lead to some of these great Broker focused lenders limiting their product offerings. The net result of this will be less choice for consumers (now limited for some products to just the BIG banks and Credit Unions) and higher costs.
Here is an excellent clip from BNN that helps explain this aspect of the changes.
This is a simplified explanation (to say the least) and these are just two of several changes announced. The full announcement can be found HERE!
Please call me or EMAIL if you want to discuss the changes. All of this will affect everyone differently….a personal review is needed!!!
When I really think about all of this (and trust me I have been) – Nothing much at all has changed! My job has been and will continue to be to help my clients with mortgages. I offer choice, unbiased advice and guidance. I work with many of the Big Banks, several Credit Unions and the Broker Lenders (also called Monolines) as well as Private Lenders.
My access to lenders has not changed at all with the October 3rd announcement. I am passionate about what I do and honestly, I am a self proclaimed “Mortgage Geek”. Please reach out and let’s discuss your situation and your plan moving forward. Don’t panic – call me today for a review! I love doing Mortgage math!!
Happy Thanksgiving…Enjoy the Long Weekend.
* High ratio = 5 – 20% DOWN PAYMENT
* Conventional = 20% or greater DOWN PAYMENT