Federal Government Changes to Mortgage Lending - June 21, 2012

For the fourth time in the past four years, the Federal Government has announced further action to restrict mortgage credit. The new measures include:

 

  • The maximum amortization on a prime mortgage will be reduced from 30 to 25 years.
  • Mortgage insurance will not be provided for properties valued over $1 million.
  • Refinancing has been lowered from a maximum of 85% loan-to-value to a maximum of 80% loan-to-value.
  • The maximum gross debt service (GDS) and total debt service (TDS) will be limited to a maximum of 39% and 44% respectively. Currently, GDS does not apply to qualified borrowers with credit scores over 680.

These measures will take effect July 9, 2012.


Implications for the BC home market:

  • The new 25 year amortization will have a small but material impact on affordability for homebuyers. For a $300,000 mortgage, the shorter amortization period will add over $150 per month to mortgage carrying costs for homebuyers that would have instead opted for a 30 year amortization. This is equivalent to an approximately 1 per cent increase in mortgage rates.
  • Longer amortization period may also impact the rental market where investors have utilized longer amortization period to lower carrying costs.
  • Prohibiting mortgage insurance for properties over $1 million will impact Vancouver markets to a much greater extent than other Canadian jurisdictions. While this policy may have limited impact on credit access for high-ratio borrowers, it will tighten credit for the $1 million and over segment of the market through its impact on lenders risk management practices. This is particularly true in light of the CMHC already rationing portfolio insurance for low-ratio mortgages.
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