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CMHC mortgage regulations

CMHC tightens mortgage regulations slightly

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CMHC tightens mortgage regulations slightly

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) has tightened mortgage regulations slightly in response to deteriorating economic conditions brought on by COVID-19.

CMHC mortgage regulations

Effective July 1, new applications for homeowner transactional and portfolio mortgage insurance would have to meet a minimum credit score of 680 for at least one borrower. In addition, funds borrowed for a down payment that increase indebtedness will no longer be treated as equity for insurance purposes, and Gross/Total Debt Servicing ratios are to be limited to the standard requirements of 35/42.

Vulnerabilities

“COVID-19 has exposed long-standing vulnerabilities in our financial markets, and we must act now to protect the economic futures of Canadians,” says Evan Siddall, CMHC president and CEO. “These actions will protect homebuyers, reduce government and taxpayer risk and support the stability of housing markets while curtailing excessive demand and unsustainable house price growth.”

Job losses, business closures and a drop in immigration are adversely impacting Canada’s housing markets, CMHC says, with potentially a nine- to 18-per-cent decrease in house prices over the next 12 months.

“CMHC’s policy changes come at an interesting time when the housing market finally seems to be getting back on track after a substantial drop in sales during April and May,” Jesse Abrams, co-founder and CEO of Homewise told Condo Life magazine. “These changes will not only make qualifications tougher, pushing up the floor for credit scores to 680, but also decrease the affordability of many buyers who need an insured mortgage by lowering debt to income ratios. Unfortunately, the hardest-hit market may be first-time homebuyers.”

Lesser impact

Another national mortgage insurer, Genworth Canada, says it has no plans to change its underwriting policy related to debt service ratio limits, minimum credit score and down payment requirements.

“Genworth’s decision to not follow CMHC’s policy changes creates a competitive advantage for them in the marketplace, while reigniting the flame of many prospective homebuyers who were demotivated by CMHC’s decision,” Abrams says. “Most lenders use both CMHC and Genworth, so it is quite possible that the CMHC policy change does not actually affect any homebuyers.”

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Millennials the engine of the real estate market

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Millennials the engine of the real estate market

According to a national study commissioned by Genworth Canada, six in 10 (59 per cent) millennials have already achieved their homeownership dreams. Among those who own their homes, three in 10 (30 per cent) millennials bought their first home or a home that was not their first in the past two years, compared to just 9 per cent of older Canadians. And over the next two years, among non-owners another 30 per cent of millennials plan on making their first home purchase, making them the engine of the real estate market.

The annual poll, completed in conjunction with the Canadian Association of Credit Counselling Services (CACCS) from February 8 to March 27, asked 2,000 Canadians questions about their financial well-being, homeownership intentions and preparedness for the future.

The national Financial Fitness and Homeownership Study shows that Canadians remain committed to homeownership and those who own a home have better financial outcomes than those who do not. Homeowners are far more likely to say they are in great/good financial fitness versus non-homeowners. Heres the breakdown of those who say they are in great/good financial shape:

  • 68 per cent of first-time buyers;
  • 58 per cent of first-time intenders;
  • 59 per cent of repeat buyers;
  • 62 per cent of repeat intenders.

“It is encouraging to see the high level of financial confidence coming from first-time homebuyers and homeowners. As a company that is committed to providing financial literacy education to aid those looking to achieve homeownership, these results demonstrate that this segment of Canadians are doing the necessary homework to support their financial future,” said Stuart Levings, president and CEO of Genworth Canada.

Homeownership is a mainstay for many Canadians’ financial wellbeing and homeowners demonstrate greater financial discipline and report greater long-term confidence in their financial outlook.

Here is a look at how homeowners and first-time buyers/intenders feel about their financial shape:

“Being intentionally aware of the state of your personal finances is especially important when considering the purchase of a home,” said Henrietta Ross, CEO of the CACCS. “Understanding how financially fit you are by exploring your Financial Fitness score at www.caccs.ca is quick, easy and free – but rich in value because it can help guide wise financial choices.”

This score is based on attitudinal, behavioural and outcome measures that were developed from Financial Fitness index benchmark data.

To read the full 2018 Financial Fitness and Homeownership Study report, visit http://genworth.ca/en/index.aspx

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