New rules will force borrower’s to take a 5 year fixed rate…

On April 19th, you might be forced to take a 5 year fixed rate mortgage….

There has been a lot of media talk about the new Mortgage Rules…. On April 19th, the rules for Borrower’s with less than 20% down payment will come into effect…. But let’s clarify…

There was an article in the Vancouver Sun last week that talked about an internal document that was distributed by CMHC to Mortgage Brokers…    Here is a quote from that internal document:

“Clarification on Qualifying Interest Rate

Effective April 19, 2010, the qualifying interest rate used to assess borrower eligibility will change only for loans with a loan to value ratio (LTV) greater than 80% as follows:

Fixed Rate Mortgages and Variable Rate Mortgages: For loans with a fixed rate term of less than 5 years and for all variable rate mortgages, regardless of the term, the qualifying interest rate is the greater of the benchmark rate1, and the contract interest rate.  For loans with a fixed rate term of 5 years or more, the qualifying interest rate is the contract interest rate.

Mortgages with Multiple Interest Rates (e.g. Multi-Component Mortgages): Each component must be qualified using the applicable criteria defined above.

1CMHC defines the benchmark rate as the Chartered Bank – Conventional Mortgage 5-year rate that is the most recent interest rate published by the Bank of Canada in the series V121764 as of 12:01 AM (Eastern Time) each Monday, and which can be found at:

Did anyone pick up on that….? Today’s best 5 year fixed rate is around 4.29%… If you take a 5 year fixed rate, then your mortgage is qualified using that rate… no problem… BUT, if you take a shorter term or a variable rate product, then you must qualify using the BANK POSTED rate which is 5.85% today.

Put another way, a $300,000 mortgage with a 25 year amortization requires an annual income of $74,000 if you selected a 5 year fixed rate or longer term….BUT what if you wanted shorter term or the popular Variable Rate product which is currently 1.75%?  …then you would need to qualify with the BANK POSTED rate of 5.85% and that would require a household income of $84,000…..

I don’t know about you, but Variable Rate mortgages are still very attractive…it’s too bad many of us won’t be able to make that choice when we buy our next home…

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