There have been a lot of discussions around the new mortgage rules and I have had a few clients ask about what that means for them. Since stress testing on mortgages began last year, the biggest change in January will be for people who are putting more than a 20% down payment on their new homes.

What do the new mortgage rules mean for them?
The impact of the new mortgage rules as of January 1, 2018, will require all uninsured mortgage borrowers to qualify for their mortgage using the Bank of Canada five-year benchmark rate, or at their current rate plus an addition 2%. (Uninsured mortgage borrowers are typically those who purchase a new home with more than 20% of its total value.)The government is stress testing our current finances as a way to help prevent any unnecessary financial risks from Canadians. This change was primarily intended to help curb the housing bubbles in Toronto and Vancouver, but will affect homebuyers across the country, including those looking to qualify for a mortgage in Edmonton.

Why are new mortgage rules being introduced?
The revisions have been put in place to help ensure that uninsured borrowers can cope with higher interest rates. In the past, when there was a change in the market (increased interest rates, low employment, reduction in house values, etc.), Canadians were finding it difficult to keep up with their mortgage payments.In the past year, we have seen an increase in interest rates which has caused some concern with the government. The overnight rate – the interest rate set as the Bank’s policy interest rate, which influences mortgage rates, sat at a historically low 0.5% earlier this year – has been raised 50 basis points by the Bank of Canada since July. A third hike is predicted in 2018, according to reports.Although an unexpected surprise for many, the hike in interest rates is essentially providing Canadians with an opportunity to act more financially responsible. This new regulation will help make it more difficult for Canadians who were borrowing against the value of their homes to make new financial investments, thereby reducing the country’s financial risk.

Despite the changes to the new mortgage rules, people will still be looking to buy new homes with mortgages, but will be shifting their outlook on what they need. In Edmonton, where housing price are still very affordable, the shift may not be as difficult as in other markets. In a recent interview with BuzzBuzzNews, real estate broker and TalkCondo operator, Roy Bhandari said, “The new rules won’t slow sales. Instead, buyers will look at more affordable options on the market.”

Resources in Edmonton for new home buyers
For more information on how Edmontonians can help shift their focus towards more affordable home options, read our blog about when Knowing Less is More. You are also welcome to contact your trusted, licensed mortgage broker in Edmonton, Max Omar with Dominion Lending Centres, through