Archive for the ‘CMHC’ Category

CMHC decides to share more info

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is the crown corporation that backs the majority of Canadian mortgage products.  They have recently decide to magnanimously share more info about the Canadian mortgage market:

The changes in the CMHC’s disclosure come after some economists had demanded CMHC share more of its information about the market. Among them was CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal who published a report suggesting that the lack of market information makes its harder to get an accurate picture of the stability of the market.

Read the full article in the Financial Post.

New CMHC rules: How much impact?

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

At first glance the new CMHC rules sounds like a minor tweak rather than a major change, and it might be just that.

When the CMHC announced the change they specified that the products being eliminated made up less than 3% of their insured mortgage products by number of mortgages.  What we haven’t seen anywhere are numbers in mortgage value, and BOM pointed this out yesterday:

Read this:

“The Crown corporation has been offering insurance on second homes since 2005. It has been offering insurance to self-employed people without strong income validation since 2007.”

And then read this:

“CMHC says its second home program and its self-employed-without-third-party-income-validation programs combined account for less than 3 per cent of its insurance business volumes in term of the numbers of mortgages insured.”

CHMC has a pool of mortgages insured accumulated over the last 25 years. They have only offered the products they are cancelling for 7 to 9 years but they make up 3% of that pool. Simple math indicates over the last 7 years about 10% of mortgages would have been part of the program they are cancelling otherwise it could never reach 3% of the total pool which was already significant prior to the program starting.

So how much demand was there for insured mortgages on second homes and mortgages for the self employed without income verification?  The numbers may be higher than we first thought.

CMHC: One home is enough?

Monday, April 28th, 2014

The CMHC has just ‘tightened’ their mortgage regulations again.

You might not have know that the CMHC would provide mortgage insurance on second homes, but they won’t anymore:

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. is cutting the types of mortgage insurance it offers, meaning the era of tighter rules for home buyers hasn’t come to an end.

The Crown corporation said late Friday it will stop insuring mortgages on second homes, effective May 30. Anyone who has an insured mortgage will no longer be able to act as a co-borrower on another mortgage that CMHC insures. In addition, it will stop offering mortgage insurance to self-employed people who don’t have standard documents to prove their income.

Gotta love that first sentence: The era of tighter rules hasn’t come to an end?  I guess by tighter rules they mean doing away with the most absurdist bubble policies in the form of zero down 40 year mortgages.

What’s next? Banks not being able to offload risk for mortgage lending?

Here’s the amazing bit for those just tuning in:

The Crown corporation has been offering insurance on second homes since 2005. It has been offering insurance to self-employed people without strong income validation since 2007.

Remember NINJA loans in the states?  Good thing we never had those here!

What will the CMHC announce?

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Who wants to play ‘guess the future’?

Apparently the CMHC is holding a conference call at 10 am EST on Feb 27th.

Some rumours are saying privatization, though it looks like most everyone agrees that would extreeeeemely unlikely at this point for a few reasons:

-Privatization would require the finance department
-No one in their right mind would take on the debt

But that doesn’t mean you can’t guess at what is going to be revealed tomorrow!

So what do you think the CMHC will announce? Privatization? Tougher underwriting standards? Branching out into commemorative figurines? A new special expert task force comprised of Brad Lamb, Bob Rennie and Angelo Mozilo?

What’s your best guess at what the CMHC will announce tomorrow?

IMF says Canada should end CMHC insurance

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

In a surprising recommendation, the International Monetary Fund has suggested that Ottawa should do away with mortgage insurance offered by the CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation).

The IMF concedes that the current system has its advantages for stability. But it says it also exposes the government, or taxpayers, to financial system risks and might distort the market as a whole in favour of mortgages over more productive uses of capital.

Huh, would any of you taxpayers miss insuring high risk mortgages?  By which we mean would you miss insuring MORE higher-risk mortgages, since there’s no way you can drop responsibility for the ones we already insure.

Read the full article here.

Canadian economy at risk from mounting mortgage debt

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Is anyone else getting tired of all the warnings?

Be careful how much debt you take on, be careful how much house you buy, make sure to save for retirement.

Well here’s another one: Stephen Harper has been told the entire countries economy is at risk due to record debt levels and the high cost of housing.

Municipalities are asking for the government to address high housing costs, but not everyone agrees.

… Finn Poschmann, vice-president of research at the think-tank C.D. Howe Institute, said Ottawa has “little jurisdiction and almost no practical capacity to deliver housing.”

“Past attempts to do so, through CMHC for example, have produced financial disasters for the people who participated and put CMHC in grave financial situation.” he said.

“We wouldn’t want to see that again, nor the federal mortgage agency deeply underwater and as similar U.S. agencies have been, through the course of much more recent financial disasters.”

Of course our current situation is that the CMHC has been pouring money into Mortgage Backed Securities to encourage buying, they recently had to cap this program because they couldn’t keep up with the growth.

It is likely that the government could reduce the cost of housing by simply pouring even less money into MBS.

CMHC tightens mortgage rules (again)

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Ottawa must really want to see more of a downturn in the Canadian housing market.

This week saw a new limit to CMHC largesse. The latest change limits guarantees on Mortgage Backed Securities which will slightly increase lending costs.

In the financial post Mortgage Brokers and Bankers differ on their opinion of the latest move, some think it’s too much too soon, others think it’s a minor tweak that will have no real effect.

Doug Porter, chief economist with Bank of Montreal, wonders if housing statistics over the last couple of months showing sales and prices rebounding might have spooked the CMHC.

“I think this step is being taken because we have seen some signs in recent weeks that the market is not cooling as much as had been expected,” said Mr. Porter. “All the debate has been whether we will have a soft or hard landing and I would question whether the market had any landing whatsoever.”

Read the full article in the Financial Post.

The popping of the Canadian bubble

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Another day another Canadian housing bubble story,  this one in the star.

Some of the themes may be familiar to you.

High debt loads,  out of whack ratios for debt to income and rent to buy variables.  Government guarantees.

Etc.

Housing in Canada is unaffordable. International experts are unequivocal in their concern, and Canadian lawmakers are taking measures to deflate slowly rather than crash. Ironically, only Canadian homebuyers seem to think the market is sustainable. Sale prices are still rising. So when does it all start to unwind? Right about now.

Since the Great Recession, the Canadian economic model has basked in international reverence for its conservative banks and rich commodity sector. So when Wall Street rumblings about a Canadian housing bubble started becoming louder about a year ago, as a card-carrying Canadian, I took notice.

Read the full article here.

New mortgage rules affect first time buyers

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Remember when we saw all the fun the US was having with crazy long amortization terms and teaser cash-back zero down mortgages?

Oh yeah, we couldn’t be left out of that action!

That’s why in 2006 we cranked CMHC max amortization terms from 25 to 35 to 40 years. We got rid of any upper limit to insured mortgages and allowed zero down deals with interest only payments for the first 10 years.

It was the only way to compete with the Americans!

And now we hear that we’re supposed to be ‘responsible’ with our debts and ready for interest rate increases.

The government has been ramping back the gravy train over the last couple of years though, trying to engineer a ‘soft landing’ for the housing market.

And they’re succeeding, it keeps getting softer and softer.

So now we’re back to the 25 year cap. Everything old is new again.

And apparently reducing amortizations is starting to have an effect on first time buyers causing some to wait:

First-time homebuyers were expected to be the most affected by the new rules, which included reducing the maximum amortization period for a government-insured mortgage from 30 to 25 years, and also dropping the upper limit that Canadians could borrow against their home equity from 85 per cent to 80 per cent.

A year later, about 66 per cent of buyers said the changes had not affected their timeline on buying a first home, according to a survey by BMO Bank of Montreal.

But first-time buyers in B.C., where Vancouver prices were considered particularly overheated, were most likely (33 per cent) to say they would wait longer to buy their first home. That compares to 11 per cent of Ontario buyers, 25 per cent in the Prairies and 28 per cent in Atlantic Canada.

read the full article over at the CBC.

Canadian Bubble? Blame the CMHC

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation insures nearly $600 billion worth of mortgage insurance.  That’s almost one third of the national GDP.

Much of the discussion about what’s wrong with the housing market focuses on the CMHC, which now counts as one of the country’s largest financial companies, owing to its substantial portfolio of mortgage guarantees covering nearly $600-billion of outstanding home loans, roughly 30% of Canada’s GDP.

Critics say the CMHC is under-charging for its policies, which has opened the door for housing speculators and enabled banks to push the risk of default on hundreds of billions of dollars of mortgages onto the shoulders of government — bottom line, the CMHC is the primary cause of the bubbly market.

In each Annual Report from 1976 onwards, reference has been made to the diminishing viability of the corporation

Read the full article over at the Province for an interesting overview of the history and potential problems faced by the CMHC.

 

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