Those new OSFI guidelines for CMHC mortgages are still ‘coming soon’, but the Vancouver Sun has an article up outlining the current state of the guidelines and predicting they will be announced in the next few weeks.
They’ve softened some since the first concepts floated out there by OSFI, but as a batch of changes that occur all at once they still stand to have a marked impact on the market.
Here’s the list of predicted new guidelines:
. Home Equity Line of Credit mortgages reduced from 80-per-cent financing to 65-per-cent financing.
. Lines of credit to be either amortized, or amortized after a specified period of time (no more never-never plans).
. More stringent income requirements for self-employed borrowers.
. All mortgages to be reviewed upon renewal (currently as long as payments are made, it is unlikely for a bank not to offer a renewal to a client).
. Funds from cashback mort-gages are not allowed as a source of down payment (currently only a handful of lenders allow this, but it does mean that “zero down” mortgages are technically avail-able, but with some restrictions.)
. Use of the five-year posted “benchmark” to qualify uninsured terms of one to four years and all variable terms (currently most lenders use a three-year posted or a lower rate to qualify uninsured mortgage.)
. More limits on underwriting exceptions (many recent applications don’t fit the ever shrinking “boxes” with the banks, which means fewer common-sense deals will get approved.)
. Home insurance to be included in debt-servicing ratios (it is currently not included.)
. More public disclosure of statistics pertaining to institutions’ mortgage practices.
. More accountability from management to ensure lenders are adhering to their underwriting guidelines.
If these changes are implemented I guess we’re going to find out how much of our real estate market is supported by those who are stretching beyond their means.