No need to panic over new mortgage rules
No one has a crystal ball to see what the next few months - or years - will bring, but it’s likely that some Canadians will have trouble with their debt in the wake of COVID. With that possibility in mind, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recently announced that it is tightening the rules for Canadian homebuyers looking for insured mortgages. Homebuyers with less than 20% downpayment require mortgage default insurance: an important protection for Canadian lenders.
Alternative options available
This is a great time to work with a mortgage broker! I work with dozens of lenders… and private mortgage insurers – Genworth Canada and Canada Guaranty - that are an alternative to CMHC. Neither have announced new underwriting guidelines, which means I expect to be guiding many new homebuyers through these alternate insurance channels. This is great news and why there is no need to panic.
Get in touch at any time
Having trouble keeping up with all the changes lately? That’s why I’m here. My only focus is mortgages and I am always up to date on the changing mortgage marketplace. If you or someone you know is looking to buy, it’s important to get in touch early so we can put a solid plan in place. Or, if you have concerns about your current mortgage strategy, let’s talk, especially if you want to find out if you can renegotiate your mortgage to take advantage of today’s low rates, or refinance to consolidate troubling high-interest debt.
Summary of the new CMHC rules (effective July 1):
- Reduced buying power. Previously, CMHC allowed 44% of total income to service all your debt and up to 39% of total monthly income to service housing payments (principal, interest, taxes, heat, condo fees). They have now tightened this back to 42% of total income can now go to service all your debt, and 35% of total monthly income to service housing costs. This reduces a homebuyer’s purchasing power by anywhere from 9 to 11%. As an example, someone qualifying for a $500,000 home now, will see that decrease to approximately $445,000.
- Higher minimum credit score. At least one applicant’s credit score must now be a minimum of 680, up from 600. Find out your own score - free - through Equifax or TransUnion.
- Downpayment funds can no longer include most borrowed downpayment sources. Very few buyers used this option so this will have a minimal impact.