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Canada’s New Mortgage Rules | Benjamin Tal

Benjamin Tal CIBC Chief EconomistBenjamin Tal
Deputy Chief Economist
CIBC World Markets

He is responsible for analyzing economic developments and their implications for North American fixed income, equity, foreign exchange, and commodities markets. He also acts in an advisory capacity to bank officers on issues related to wealth management, household/corporate credit and risk.

Finance Moves Again on Mortgages

2012 Special Edition of the Economic Buzz - Ben Tal - The Mortgage Centre - New Mortgage Rules July 9In a surprise move Finance announced recently that it is again making changes to mortgage borrowing practices in Canada. The surprise is in the timing of the announcement given that the housing market is already starting to soften. The move probably reflects the realization that interest rates will remain unchanged for longer than previously expected, and is designed to prevent a resurgence in activity, like the one we saw in mid-2011.

A significant change is the modification to the length of mortgage amortizations for high-ratio mortgages (less than 20% down-payment). The previous change from 35 years to 30 years is not equivalent in terms of its impact on the market, to the current change from 30 years to 25 years. We expect the current change to have a much more significant impact on the market in general and first-time home buyers in particular. Also significant is the fact that the changes were implemented almost immediately (as of July 9) to prevent a last minute run by borrowers.

Finance did not touch down-payment requirements—probably due to the realization that such a move might be too aggressive given the current trajectory of the housing market. Overall we see the announcement as a much better substitute to interest rate hikes since the moves are precisely aimed at the margins of the mortgage market. The combined impact will not be large enough to derail the housing market, but are clearly significant enough to soften activity, and at the margin will act as a negative for house prices-mainly at the mid-range segment of the market.

Home Mortgage Ontario’s Say – Real Estate News

It is now July 11th and the new government legislated mortgage rules are in full effect. Many lenders gave little warning and had their final mortgage deal submission dates set a week before the rules were set to take effect and yet many 30-year high ratio deals are still back logged. While restricting high ratio (greater than 80% LTV) CMHC backed mortgages to 25 years, this will ultimately save the borrower a large amount in interest. Unfortunately, this will also restrict many first time homebuyers from breaking into expensive markets such as Toronto and Vancouver.

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