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2 Jul

What Rate Will I Get with Today’s Mortgage Categories?

Buying & Refinancing a Home

Posted by: Garth Chapman

Once upon a time it was fairly easy to answer the question “what rate will I qualify for?”  Back then higher down-payments resulted in lower interest rates on your mortgage.  Now neither of those are the case.

Once upon a time you either had a high ratio or a conventional mortgage.

Now you will have an insured, or insurable or uninsurable mortgage.  The reference to insurance is what most people understand as a high ratio mortgage insured by CMHC, Genworth or Canada Guaranty.

Once Upon a Time:

  • High ratio mortgage – down payment less than 20%, with insurance (aka CMHC fees) paid by the borrower.
  • Conventional mortgage – down payment of 20% or more, and the lender had a choice whether to insure the mortgage or not at their own expense.

Now it is more complicated:

  • Insured – Most often a down-payment or refinance equity below 20%. A mortgage transaction where the insurance premium is or has been paid by the borrower, which often means a high ratio mortgage.
    • Interest rates are the lowest in the range.
  • Insurable – Fits all the same guidelines as an insured mortgage but the borrower has more than 20% for a down payment.  A mortgage transaction that is often portfolio-insured at the lender’s expense.  Property must be valued at less than $1MM that fits insurer rules and is qualified at the Bank of Canada benchmark rate over 25 years with a down payment of at least 20%.  Property cannot be a Rental.  The loan-to-value and your FICO (credit) score will determine what rate you qualify for.
    • Interest rates are slightly lightly higher than insured rates.
  • Uninsurable – All mortgages that can’t be insured.  Examples include refinances, single unit rentals (rentals between 2-4 units are insurable), purchases and transfers for properties with valued at over $1MM, equity take-out’s greater than $200,000, amortizations greater than 25 years.
    • Interest rates are at the higher end of the range, and are determined based on loan-to-value (LTV) %.

What does this mean when it comes to shopping for best rates and terms when your mortgage matures and you have the opportunity to move it to another lender?

  • If your mortgage was originally insured (borrower paid insurance), we can get insured rates.
  • If your mortgage was originally back-end insured (basically the same as being conventional) we can get insurable rates.
  • If your mortgage was placed before October 2016, we can grandfather the insurable rates even if it was a $1 million+ value house or 30 year amortization. It then depends if it was insured (client paid insurance) or conventional as to whether we get insured or uninsurable rates now.
  • If your mortgage was placed after October 2016 and the property value was over a $1 million or the mortgage had a 30 year amortization, we are restricted to uninsured rates.
25 Jun

Ultra Low Rate websites – What’s The Story?

About Mortgage Brokers

Posted by: Garth Chapman

Ultra low mortgage rates, offered through various internet sites, are often restricted mortgages.  You may have higher prepayment penalties than generally available in the marketplace, as high as 3% of your mortgage balance.  Low rate mortgages often do not allow an in-term transfer, which is generally referred to as porting the mortgage with you to a new home.  Many do not allow blend and increases (refinances), you must pay the penalty to do a refinance (get equity out of your home).

Low rate sites are looking for no hassle, no muss, no fuss mortgage applications.  So if you happen to be an hourly worker, does your 2 year average and your YTD income substantiate the required income to qualify?  Does your source of down payment meet new government requirements?  When will you be told if they do or do not?  Self-employed, contract worker, income from a couple of sources, you can spend a week thinking you have sent in the correct paperwork only to find out you have not been approved.  Unfortunately, it may mean your file is just a little too time consuming for the low rate site.

Low rate sites use salaried staff who need to meet production quotas.  They do not have time for problems or complex scenarios.  They are looking for the 20% to 30% of the market who have the perfectly simple scenario.

Low rate sites are not able to work through other issues, a unique property size or type, square footage issues, condo by-laws or financial statement problems, post tension cable or special assessment requirement.  Will the low rate site take the time to find the most suitable lender or insurer?  Lenders will have sliding scales, can you get an exception, can you find a new lender before condition day?

Low rate sites often entice you with the initial promise of an attractive rate and then after you have completed the application and have sent them all your documents will tell you that you don’t qualify for that rate, but that you do qualify for some other higher rate.

Low rate sites do not have the staff to help ensure the rest of the home buyer process gets completed on time.  For example, meet the financing condition date, ensure the lender instructs money to lawyer on time, and insure you get possession on time to avoid late interest charges.

Low rates sites will ask you to sign a non-compete agreement that if they present you with a commitment, you will not obtain your mortgage from another bank, lender, or broker, and if you choose to do so, you will be charged a fee.

Your Mortgage Broker has access to many of these low-rate restricted mortgage products.  So call and ask your Broker what you qualify for, and if a low-rate mortgage is a good fit for you.

12 Mar

First Time Home Buyers Plan and Tax Credits (HBP & HBTC)

Income Tax

Posted by: Garth Chapman

First, some little-known good news: you don’t actually have to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify.  A first-time home buyer you must not have lived in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner in the year of acquisition or any of the four preceding years.

So now let’s unpack the First-Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit (HBTC).

The First-time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit was introduced to assist Canadians in purchasing their first home. It is designed to help recover closing costs, such as legal expenses, inspections, and land transfer taxes, so you can save more for money for a down payment.

The Home Buyers’ Tax Credit, at current taxation rates, works out to a rebate of $750 for all first-time buyers. After you buy your first home, the credit must be claimed within the year of purchase and it is non-refundable. In addition, the home you purchase must be a ‘qualified’ home, described in more detail below. If you are purchasing a home with a spouse, partner or friend, the combined claim cannot exceed $750.

You will qualify for the HBTC if:

  • you or your spouse or common-law partner acquired a qualifying home; and
  • you did not live in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner in the year of acquisition or in any of the four preceding years.

Here is the link to the CRA webpage on the HBTC.

12 Mar

Are you Stressed by the Mortgage Stress Test? Here are a Few Solutions

Buying & Refinancing a Home

Posted by: Garth Chapman

Alberta’s real estate markets are stressed. Prices are flat or down.  So this is a Buyer’s Market, and yet so many Buyers are finding it difficult to qualify for the mortgage they need, largely due to the new mortgage Stress Test.  Here are a few smart ways that you can use to achieve the mortgage you need to buy the property that suits your family’s needs.

Use the flex down or borrowed down payment programs offered though one of our mortgage lenders.

You must qualify, the payment for the loan must fit in your total debt service ratio.

You must have good credit, meeting minimum beacon score requirements.

The CMHC default insurance premium is higher, but by using this option you can borrow the down-payment.

First time home buyers can obtain a new RRSP loan and 90 days later use the First Time Home Buyers Plan and withdraw up to $25,000 for a home down-payment.  Pro Tip– you are considered a First Time Home Buyer if you have not owned a home in the previous 4 years.

Call your favourite Jencor Mortgage Broker, and we will arrange an RRSP loan and a mortgage pre-approval as per your financial qualifications. Couples can both do this.

90 days later, you withdraw up to $25,000 (per person) from your RRSP plan(s) for down payment.

Then you can get to work with your favourite Realtor to buy a home.

IMPORTANT – The key element of this is that our best mortgage lender for this program does not require the loan to be repaid when funds are withdrawn for the down-payment, whereas most lenders do.

Is a Large Vehicle Loan Payment Reducing the Mortgage You Qualify for?

Whether you are refinancing, buying a new home, or just wanting to improve your cash flow, is a large vehicle loan payment reducing your options!

We have a vehicle finance company that will aggressively extend out an amortization, reducing the vehicle payment. The result, all other things being equal, a bigger mortgage. We had one couple rewrite their vehicle loans, and they got a $70,000 bigger mortgage. Their realtor was able to write an offer in the neighborhood they have always wanted to live in. Got a great deal on the house as well.

Call me today if a lower vehicle loan payment could help you.

Special Programs for Self Employed Buyers

  • The federal government continues to impose restrictive guidelines on all mortgage applicants. One group particularly hard hit are business for self borrowers (aka BFS). Many BFS clients hire good Tax Accountants. Good Tax Accountants are great for a lower tax bill, but low taxable earnings are not so good for obtaining a mortgage.  Most lenders require two years of personal tax returns, notice of assessment, and corporate financial statements.  If your clients are being declined after providing all of that information perhaps one of the special programs that still exist could help.
  • We have lenders who will consider:
    • Using an insured stated proof of income mortgage to 90 % loan to value. We do need to provide information to confirm the reasonableness of the application.
    • Using an insured stated proof of income mortgage to 65% loan to value. Again we need to confirm reasonableness but no insurance premium applicable.
    • Using a series of bank statements to confirm business cash flow to support a mortgage. Maximum 80% loan to value.
    • Using a cash flow analysis of the corporate financial statements to support the income requirements 80% loan to value.
    • We have some other esoteric programs too hard to describe in one line.
    • Your Jencor Agent can often help a BFS client who has been frustrated by their own Bank or by an inexperienced Mortgage Broker.

Some combination of these ideas may just help you, your friends or relatives get the mortgage you need for the home you want.

21 Feb

Bruised Credit And Need A Mortgage?

Credit

Posted by: Garth Chapman

Many people think that their credit score will hold them back from obtaining a mortgage. For some, they may have work to do on their debt beforehand, but sometimes people believe their credit is poor, only to find that it isn’t as bad as they thought. It pays to seek help from a Jencor Mortgage Advisor to find out where you stand.
What is bruised credit and how does it impact your ability to obtain a mortgage?
Mortgage lenders use your credit reports to evaluate risk by looking at your repayment history to see how responsible you are with credit. Although a 790-beacon score and zero late payments in the last three years is ideal for all lenders, bruised credit means something slightly different to some lenders. So, what is bruised credit? It can be a result of many circumstances including, late payments on loans, collections & judgements, bankruptcy, consumer proposal or credit counselling, late payments on your mortgage, foreclosure & even identity theft. Traditional mortgage lenders and insurers will not commonly approve applications with credit histories that show challenges with borrowing in the recent past. The good news is that there are still options with alternative mortgage lenders with a minimum down payment of 20% to 30%. With these mortgages, you will be paying higher interest rates, usually for two years, while you rebuild your credit. We can then transition you into a regular mortgage.
Rebuilding credit takes time.
There are some things you can do which will bring your score up substantially in one swoop, but normally it takes time to rebuild. Here are some of the basics to improve your credit:

1. Have at least two credit accounts reporting to your credit report besides cell phone bills, school loans or mortgages. Use your credit cards every month, even just one purchase monthly and pay it in full before the due date. The credit limits should be at least approximately $2000 each.

2. Always pay all your debts on time – making even the minimum payment on time, is better than making a larger payment late. If need be, reach out to the account holder and make payment arrangements. Never ignore a payment and hope for the best.
No Late mortgage payments – these are extremely detrimental to you obtaining a mortgage.

3. Do not max out your credit. Use less than 50% of your limits and never go over the limit. Going over limit impacts your score immediately and severely, and even when you bring it back in line, it still has a lingering effect on your score.

4. Do not apply for too much credit and do not cancel existing credit – both these actions will negatively impact your score – yes, you would think that cancelling existing credit would help, but by doing so, you are reducing the overall credit available to you and therefore immediately increasing credit usage. Also, by cancelling credit, you might be cancelling a credit card that you have held the longest and longevity of credit has an impact on your rating.

5. New loans, such as car loans will have an immediate negative impact on your score – so do not obtain a new car loan if you are thinking about obtaining a mortgage. Because of the size of the loan, your credit usage increases substantially.

6. Do not let anything go to collections – even though some utilities, rental payments, gym memberships and the like, do not report to your credit bureau, when they go to collections, they will be reported.

7. Ensure that everything on your report is correct. If not, you must take steps with the creditor or the reporting agency (Equifax or TransUnion) to correct them.

8. In some cases, if you already own your home, there may be an opportunity to consolidate debt into your mortgage and improve your credit.

Don’t be defeated; get advice, get back on track!

Ultimately, how each item impacts your score, depends on how it interacts with everything else on your report. One late payment, for some with long-held credit and very little past delinquencies, will have less of an impact than for someone with bruised credit or someone with new credit.

If you have bruised credit, don’t write off your dream of home ownership. Contact your Jencor Mortgage Advisor who can advise you on the necessary steps to obtain the mortgage you need.

Written and originally posted here
by Ayashah Kothawala – Mortgage Advisor Jencor Mortgage

4 Feb

4 Easy Steps to Create a Down Payment Using a New RRSP Loan

Mortgage Tips

Posted by: Garth Chapman

First time home buyers can obtain a new RRSP loan and 90 days later use the First Time Home Buyers Plan and withdraw up to $25,000 for a home down payment.

Pro Tip- you are considered a First Time Home Buyer if you have not owned a home in the previous 4 years.

Four Easy Steps

1. Call your favourite Jencor Mortgage Broker.

2. We will arrange an RRSP loan and a mortgage pre-approval as per your financial qualifications. Couples can both do this.

3. 90 days later, you withdraw up to $25,000 (per person) from your RRSP plan(s) for down payment.

4. Work with your favourite Realtor to buy a home.

The key element of this is that our mortgage lender does not require the loan to be repaid when funds are withdrawn for the down-payment. Most lenders do.

12 Jan

What is a Monoline lender? 

About Mortgage Brokers

Posted by: Garth Chapman

What is a Monoline lender?

A Monoline lender, by definition, is a mortgage lender that focuses on just mortgages.  They do not have any other products that can be cross-sold and most Monolines securitize their mortgages, instead of keeping them on their balance sheet.  Monolines are secure, follow the same rules as all Canadian Banks and they deal exclusively with Mortgage Advisors on their clients’ behalf.

Advantages of a Monoline lender

  • They focus on one thing: mortgages.  For you that also means they do not try to cross-sell you into credit cards, investments or insurance.
  • Monolines have a much lower IRD (Interest Rate Differential) pre-payment penalty calculation, which is important if you are required to get out of your mortgage before the end of your term. In my own personal experience the Monoline penalties are up to 2/3 less than those of the big-six banks.
  • They often have products that specialize in a range of solutions aimed at borrowers with lower credit scores and those with self-employed income sources.
  • No storefronts mean lower overhead which in turn they pass along to you in the form of lower interest rates.
  • Monolines are heavily regulated and follow the same lending guidelines as all the major banks in Canada
  • Pre-payment options are often greater than the big-six banks offer.
  • Online access to your mortgage and customer service departments is excellent – it has to be – they don’t have branches.

This article by financial writer Rob Carrick was published in the Globe and Mail comparing Scotiabank to ING regarding their vast differences in penalty calculations.  As much as we try to explain what a Monoline differs from a bank, an article from a third party drives it home.

Even when the rates are the same between banks and the Monoline borrowers should always factor the potential IRD into their decision making as one never knows what will happen in the future

To summarize, Monoline lenders tend to provide better rates over the big banks, have favourable penalty calculations, and foster relationships with brokers to ensure the business comes back to them (including having a renewal model to reduce churn).

19 Oct

Four Legal Pot Plants, What Are Lenders Doing?

General

Posted by: Garth Chapman

As we all know, recreational marijuana is now legal in Canada. The law is set, but implementation and how policies and guidelines will impact our industry are yet to be determined. Generally, 30 grams for personal possession, basically an ounce baggie for those who might relate and up to 4 plants at home.

For realtors, mortgage brokers and their clients we are facing many months of the lenders sorting out their guidelines. If a borrower or seller voluntarily discloses they have been growing four legal marijuana plants, which should produce more than 30 grams, as a point of interest, how will the lenders, mortgage insurers and home insurers react?

Lenders:

As of today, many lenders do not have a policy. Some say yes four plants will be OK, some say case by case, and some say four plants will be a hard no. For the common existing house stigmatized as a “grow-op”, there are still very few lender options. We do have a couple of lenders for fully remediated grow-ops, and CMHC does consider those applications.  

Mortgage Insurers:

CMHC says they will carry on the same as they have been. Genworth and Canada Guaranty are saying either, case by case or the policy will be determined shortly.

Home Insurers:

As or right now we have not been able to get any consistent information on this subject. However, home buyers and homeowners are encouraged to check with their provider for their policy information.

For those folks growing up to four plants and looking for financing, expect your clients to get mixed results from banks and many lenders. Some lenders are considering air quality tests, home inspections, statutory declarations and other means to determine if the home has been impacted or damaged by four plants. For now, we have identified willing lenders. CMHC will consider the applications.

Please contact your Jencor Mortgage Agent or me if your clients have any questions on how the new legalization laws affect their options or to avoid complications with four plant files.  

Croft Axsen – Jencor Mortgage Corporation 

24 Feb

Looking for your best mortgage rate? Here are 20 questions to ask

Interest Rates

Posted by: Garth Chapman

An excellent article in the Globe and Mail describes the new complexities in Canada’s mortgage market. It used to be that most borrowers with decent credit and income would receive roughly the same interest rate offer. But those days are gone. Read on…

Looking for your best mortgage rate? Here’s 20 questions to ask

“What’s your best mortgage rate?” was once a fairly straightforward question. These days, it’s impossible to respond intelligently to it without asking a litany of other questions.

That’s true today more than ever thanks to recent federal rule changes. Ottawa’s changes to regulations have jacked up lenders’ costs – and the lowest mortgage rates – on refinancings, amortizations over 25 years, million-dollar properties, single-unit rental properties and mortgages where the loan-to-value ratio is between 65.1 and 80 per cent.

So be prepared to play a game of 20 questions to find your best rate in today’s market. Note that thanks to new mortgage rules, which make it more expensive to lend to people who the government deems higher risk, the last six questions on this list have taken on a whole new importance.

Here are those questions:
1) What’s the term?
• Mortgage contract length (“term”) and rate type (fixed or variable) are usually the biggest factors impacting your rate.
• As of this writing, the cheapest five-year fixed rate, for example, costs 50 basis points (bps) more than the cheapest five-year variable rate. (Note: 100 basis points equals one percentage point, so 47 bps equals 0.47 percentage points.)

2) Is the mortgage for your primary residence, a second home or a rental that you won’t live in?
• If you rent out the property and don’t live there, you’ll pay up to 25 bps more than if it were your primary residence.
• The cheapest rates are seldom available on second homes or unusual properties.

3) Can you adequately prove your income?
• If you can’t, forget about the lowest rates. In most cases you’ll pay at least 150 bps more.

4) Where is the property located?
• The province matters. The lowest one-year fixed rate in New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon is over 30 bps more than in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario.
• The city matters, too. You’ll cough up at least 10 bps more than the lowest market rate (on the term you want) if your property is rural. The reason: if the borrower doesn’t pay, it’s harder for the lender to sell a rural property.

5) When is the closing date?
• The longer you want your rate guaranteed, the more you’ll pay. A 90– or 120-day rate hold typically costs at least 10 bps more than a 30-day rate hold

6) Can you live with prepayment restrictions?
• Some lenders now charge 10 bps above their lowest rates if you want to prepay an extra 5 to 10 per cent on your mortgage.
• One of the country’s lowest rates currently allows no prepayments at all.

7) Can you live with portability headaches?
• If you move to a new home, certain deep discount lenders will force you to close your old property and new property on the same day (good luck with that). Otherwise you’ll pay a penalty.
• Remember that if you’re using the equity in a property you’re selling for the down payment on your new property, and that new property closes before your old one, you’ll usually need extra cash or a bridge loan. Not all lenders offer bridge loans.
• You’ll often pay 5 to 15 bps more, compared to the lowest market rate, to have a full 90 days of porting flexibility and access to bridge loans.

8) Can you live with refinance restrictions?
• If you want the freedom to refinance early with any lender, some lenders will charge you 10 bps more than their lowest rates for that privilege.
• If you want to cash out more than $200,000 in equity, you’ll often pay at least 15 bps more than the cheapest market rates.

9) Can you live with a large penalty?
• More than three-quarters of the fixed mortgages sold in this country do not have, what I’d term, “fair” penalties. In other words, if you break the mortgage contract early, you’ll often pay through the nose (more on that).
• Some lenders offer both high– and low-penalty options, with the low-penalty mortgages costing 10 bps more. But even with that rate premium, you’d likely still pay less than if you broke a fixed mortgage with a high-penalty lender, like a major bank.

10) What type of property is it?
• A few lenders charge 5 to 10 bps more for high-rise condos, depending on your equity and other factors.

11) Do you want good rates when you renew and/or if you refinance early?
• Some lenders try to stick their renewing or refinancing customers with horrid “special offer” rates (they’re not so special, trust me).
• If you want a lender that’s highly competitive after you close, you’ll often pay at least 10 bps more than the cheapest market rate.

12) Do you have any credit flaws like bankruptcy, consumer proposal or unpaid debts?
• If so, some lenders won’t even touch you. The ones who will, will charge 50 to over 200 bps more than the lowest rate in the market.

13) Do you have a property address already or is it a pre-approval?
• You’ll almost never get the best rate on a pre-approval (more on that). Expect to pay at least 10 to 20 bps more than rock bottom rates if you haven’t purchased your property yet.

14) How big is the mortgage, as a percentage of your home value?
• If you’re a well-qualified borrower, “loan-to-value” (LTV) is the second-most-important factor in determining the rate you’ll pay.
• If your LTV, for example, is 80 per cent instead of 65 per cent, you’ll often pay at least 15 bps more than the best market rates.
• Oddly enough, someone with an 80 per cent LTV will pay up to 20 bps more than if they had a 95 per cent LTV. Why? Because mortgages with less than 20 per cent equity cost lenders less, since borrowers must pay for their own default insurance.

15) Can you pass the government’s “stress test”?
• If you’re getting an insured mortgage (which is usually required if you have less than 20 per cent equity), you must prove you can afford a payment at the Bank of Canada’s five-year “benchmark” rate. That rate is roughly two percentage points higher than your actual “contract rate.”
• If you can’t do that, but you have at least 20 per cent equity, some lenders will let you qualify on your “contract rate” instead, which is much easier, but you’ll pay at least 15 bps more.

16) What is your credit score?
• If your credit score is less than 680, it could cost you a minimum of 10 bps more. A few lenders won’t deal with you at all, and others will limit their rate specials to borrowers with scores of 700 or 720.
• By regulation, a sub-680 credit score will also limit the amount of debt you can carry if you want a competitive rate.

17) Are you purchasing, refinancing or merely switching lenders?
• A refinance today costs 15 to 50 bps more than the lowest market rate on a purchase.

18) What is/was the property’s purchase price?
• Many lenders now charge 15 bps more if your property value is more than $1-million.

19) Is your mortgage already insured?
• If it is, and you’re simply switching lenders with no changes to the mortgage, you’ll save at least 10 bps compared to average discounted rates.

20) How long of an amortization do you require?
• Many lenders, including big banks, are now charging 10 bps extra for amortizations over 25 years.

The above list of questions is by no means exhaustive. And there are always exceptions. One is if you’re asking for a renewal rate from the lender who presently holds your mortgage. If you send them a copy of various competitor’s rates, you won’t need to answer all these questions to get their lowest rate.

Ottawa’s new mortgage rules have made factors such as healthy credit scores, purchase price and amortization lengths more important. The changed regulations have led some lenders to advertise as many as 10 different rates for a five-year fixed mortgage alone.
Today’s landscape requires lenders and mortgage brokers to factor in more criteria than ever before when setting rates. So if you see a red– hot bargain advertised on a lender or broker’s website, it’s bound to have caveats. Get ready to ask–and answer–plenty of questions.

13 Feb

Changes to Canada’s mortgage rules since the 2008 financial crisis

Real Estate Market

Posted by: Garth Chapman

Actions taken since the 2008 financial crisis to address the federal government’s concerns about Canada’s housing market.

July, 2008:
• After briefly allowing the CMHC to insure high-ratio mortgages with a 40-year amortization period, then Conservative finance minister Jim Flaherty moved to tighten those rules by reducing the maximum length of an insured high-ratio mortgage to 35 years.

February, 2010
• Responding to concern that some Canadians were borrowing too much against the rising value of their homes, the government lowered the maximum amount Canadians could borrow in refinancing their mortgages to 90% of a home’s value, down from 95%.
• The move also set a new 20% down payment requirement for government-backed mortgage insurance on properties purchased for speculation by an owner who does not live in the property.

January, 2011:
• The Conservative government tightened the rules further, dropping the maximum amortization period for a high-ratio insured mortgage from 35 years to 30 years.
• The maximum amount Canadians could borrow via refinancing was further lowered to 85% of a home’s value.

June, 2012
• A third round of tightening brought the maximum amortization period down to 25 years for high-ratio insured mortgages.
• A new stress test was also introduced to ensure that debt costs are no more than 44 per cent of income for lenders seeking a high-ratio mortgage.
• Refinancing rules were also tightened for a third time, setting a new maximum loan of 80 per cent of a property’s value.
• Another new measure limited the availability of government-backed insured high-ratio mortgages to homes valued at less than $1-million.
• Limit the maximum gross debt service (GDS) ratio to 39% and the maximum total debt service (TDS) ratio to 44%.

December, 2015
• The recently elected Liberal government moved to tighten lending rules for homes worth more than $500,000, saying it was focused on “pockets of risk” in the housing sector.
• The package of measures included doubling the minimum down payment for insured high-ratio mortgages to 10% from 5% for the portion of a home’s value from $500,000 to $1-million.

October, 2016
• Borrowers who take out insured mortgages that are fixed-rate loans of five years or longer will be subjected to a “stress test,” by qualifying at the Bank of Canada’s Benchmark rate (then about 2% higher than a typical 5-year fixed rate). This same stress test is already in place for all mortgage terms of less than 5 years and for those taking a Variable Rate.
• Ottawa unveiled new measures aimed at portfolio insurance, a type of bulk insurance that banks use for mortgages with down payments of 20 per cent or more. Starting Nov. 30, the federal government will now require portfolio-insured mortgages to qualify under the same criteria used for the insurance taken out on homeowners with small down payments. Portfolio-insured mortgages will now be limited to a maximum amortization period of 25 years and a maximum purchase price of less than $1-million. It requires all portfolio-insured mortgages to be owner-occupied, prohibiting insurance on rental homes and investment properties. This change handed the banks a huge advantage over the Monoline mortgage lenders, and increased their market share and ultimately allowed the banks to increase mortgage interest rates.

January, 2018
• Home buyers with a down payment of 20% or more will be subject to stricter qualifying criteria (also known as a “stress test”) that would determine whether a homebuyer would be able to afford their principal and interest payments should interest rates increase. REFINANCING an existing property (20%+ Equity) will also be subject to the stress test. For qualification, the stress test will use either the 5-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the customer’s actual mortgage interest rate plus 2.0%, whichever is the higher. Estimated reduction in borrowing for the average borrower, 15-20%
• OSFI directs lenders (excluding credit unions and private lenders) to have internal risk management protocols in higher priced markets (sometimes called “hot real estate markets” like Toronto and Vancouver). This is a continuation of a policy already in place. Many mortgage lenders have been following the principles of the policy for the last 10 to 12 months.
• Mortgage lenders (excluding credit unions and private lenders) are prohibited from arranging with another lender: a mortgage, or a combination of a mortgage and other lending products, in any form that circumvents the institution’s maximum LTV ratio or other limits in its residential mortgage underwriting policy, or any requirements established by law. This is often referred to as “bundling” or “bundle partnership”.