What the new Canadian mortgage rules really mean for homebuyers
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) is now setting new rules for mortgage lending, which come into effect January 1, 2018.
What this means is that there will be a new minimum qualifying rate, known as a 'stress test'. This is utilized for uninsured mortgages, meaning it affects buyers who have down payments on their houses at, or in excess of 20%.
From Money Sense:
"SCENARIO 1: Bank of Canada five-year benchmark qualifying rate In this case, the family’s mortgage rate, plus 200 basis points, is less than the Bank of Canada five-year benchmark of 4.89%.
According to Ratehub.ca’s mortgage affordability calculator, a family with an annual income of $100,000 with a 20% down payment at a five-year fixed mortgage rate of 2.83% amortized over 25 years can currently afford a home worth $726,939.
Under new rules, they need to qualify at 4.89% They can now afford $570,970 A difference of $155,969 (less 21.45%)
SCENARIO 2: 200 basis points above contractual rate In this case, the family’s mortgage rate, plus 200 basis points, is greater than the Bank of Canada five-year benchmark of 4.89%.
According to Ratehub.ca’s mortgage affordability calculator, a family with an annual income of $100,000 with a 20% down payment at a five-year fixed mortgage rate of 3.09% amortized over 25 years can currently afford a home worth $706,692.
Under new rules, they need to qualify at 5.09% They can now afford $559,896 A difference of $146,796 (less 20.77%)
If a first-time homebuyer doesn’t pass the new stress test, they have three options, says Laird. “They can either put down more money on their down payment to pass the stress test, they can decide not to purchase the home, or they can add a co-signer onto the loan that has income as well,” says Laird. The stress test will be done at the time of refinancing as well, with one exception. “If on renewal you stay with your existing lender, then you don’t have to pass the stress test again,” says Laird. “However, if you change lenders at mortgage renewal time, you may have to pass the stress test but it’s not crystal clear now if this will be the case for those switching mortgage lenders.”
So if you’re a first-time homebuyer, it may mean renting a little longer and waiting for your income to go up before you’re able to buy your first home. Alternatively, some first-time buyers will buy less—maybe a condo instead of a pricier detached home. Or, the new buyers may opt to get a co-signer to qualify under the new rules.
But whatever you do, if you’re a first-time buyer, make sure you understand what you qualify for using the new regulatory rules, and get a pre-approved mortgage before you start house-hunting. “This shouldn’t be something that shocks you partway through the home-buying process,” says Laird.
And finally, do your own research and run the numbers on your own family’s income numbers. You can use Ratehub.ca’s free online mortgage affordability calculator to calculate the impact of the mortgage stress test on your home affordability."