It’s official… CMHC just announced further changes to their mortgage rules along with more details of the rule changes announced February 16.
-Qualifying mortgage rates…..up til now, borrowers were qualified on the contract rate of the mortgage or the 3 year rate ….on April 19, that will change to qualifying at the posted rate of the chartered banks …..Effectively, the govt has increased the rate without increasing the rate….quite a magic act…
Let’s think about this for one minute… we have been hearing about the devastating affect to consumers and the housing market should interest rates increase by 1.00% or more… well, the new qualifying rate is 5.39% as of today vs. 3.79% or 3.89% for a 5 year fixed contract rate…. but there’s more.. read on..
-Business for Self individuals will now have to qualify with traditional income validation if you are in business for more than 3 years… the logic is that the majority of self employed individuals can provide traditional income documents and that the business for self programs were for a small segment of the population…
This new change really leaves me scratching my head…. With 20 years experience in the Financial Services industry, I can tell you that the trend is for more Canadians to become self employed.. more contractual workers, less ‘Employees of a company’… And one of the benefits of being self employed is that there are certain tax advantages that are not available to employees…resulting in a lower net income…
A lower net income will mean you better be able to come up with a 20% down payment because you won’t qualify under these new Mortgage rules that will be administered by CMHC…. I can only hope that the govt will be able to act just as quickly if they see the housing market slow down…
Fixed rates could increase as the 5 year Bond yield jumped to 2.70%….this is up 21bps from a week ago… The spread now is 1.19% between 5 yr fixed rate and the 5 yr Bond… normally, lenders want to see a 1.35% spread …. if the Bond market continues to stay at this level or increases further, we will see fixed rates rise.
The U.S. employment stats also came out today…..unemployment held steady at 9.7% which is better than analysts expected… This will also put pressure on the Bond Market… Canadian employment figures come out next week…
Remember, fixed rates has historically increased sooner than the Bank prime rate which affects Variable rate….. This could be the beginning of the slow but steady rise in rates…. It’s certainly not time to panic but we should pay attention…
Mark Carney, the Bank of Canada Governor, kept the overnight rate at 0.25%…(yawn…)… The rate that affects all Bank Prime rates and Variable Mortgage Rates has remained at this level since April 2009….
In the announcement, the Bank of Canada stated they were concerned about inflation increasing a little faster than they had forecast. The Economy also grew at an annualized rate of 5% in the fourth quarter of 2009….. (personally, I think it would be surprising to see it continue to grow at this pace…. )
Governor Carney has repeatedly stated he will not increase the rate before June… well June is approaching and some of the Economists are starting to forecast for possible rate hikes as early as June… but nothing too drastic..
One rule of thumb or interesting historical trend is that fixed rates usually increase first or before the variable rates rise….we’ll be watching the bond market (bonds affect fixed rates)….
BANK PRIME RATE FORECAST
The CIBC’s Senior Economist, Ben Tal, says Bank Prime rate will start to increase this summer… but only by 0.50% to 0.75% by end of the year… and then will pause in 2011 to see where the U.S. rates are headed…. click here Feb 26 2010 CIBC Forecast.
Mr. Tal thinks this is “risk move” pointing to similar Bank of Canada action in 1992 and 2002 when the Bank hiked rates only to reverse the decision a few months later…
Mr. Tal also points out that real inflation is around 1.5% and will continue to remain low into 2011.
Does this mean we should lock in our variable rate mortgages? For most of us, probably not… but if you aren’t sure, then speak with your Mortgage Broker.
NEW MORTGAGE RULES EFFECT
Mr. Tal sees the new mortgage rules having little effect on most of us. Here are his calculations…
- Increase down payment requirement for refinancing: 7%-8%
- Increase down payment requirement for non-primary residence: 2%-3%
- Increase qualifying rate on variable mortgages: 5%-6%
This is the first outlook I have seen…and it’s really not bad at all… Enjoy the weekend… and GO CANADA GO!
As we reported last week, the speculation about possible Mortgage Rules changing has become a reality…. the Federal government is going ahead with changes in Mortgage lending policies…..and these will come into effect April 19, 2010. Here are the 3 changes as reported on CBC.ca:
- all borrowers will now have to qualify using a 5 year fixed rate even if they choose a shorter term or a variable rate mortgage. (3 years fixed was the standard qualifying rates)
- refinancing your mortgage is now capped at 90% of the value of the home instead of 95%.
- investment properties will now require a 20% down payment instead of the current 5% down.
This last change will probably have the greatest impact in my opinion… It’s designed to discourage buying condos and houses for speculation purposes. However, ask anyone how their RRSPs are doing lately… the answer will probably not be good… A great many Canadians starting turning to real estate as means of buying a safe, long term investment… this could be done with as little as 5% down… but no more.
Early reaction is that these rule changes will create a small surge in house sales and then we should see a cooling off in the market…. only time will tell if these measures will have the desired effect or if they will simple force Canadians to get back into the Mutual Fund and Stock Market…. stay tuned as we follow this story..