How will the new mortgage rules impact home buyers and sellers?
On January 17th Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced changes to government insured mortgages. These new laws are designed to support long-term stability in Canada’s housing market and support hard-working Canadian families saving through home ownership.
New Mortgage Laws
- Amortizations are reduced from 35 years to 30 years on insured mortgages above 80% LTV. This could mean larger mortgage payments. The idea is to have Canadians pay off their principal mortgage faster while reducing the total amount of interest paid. This may be advantageous to a great deal of people, but those who are looking to refinance or purchase a home with a limited down-payment will find larger monthly mortgage payments.
- The amount a mortgage consumer can refinance is changed from 90% LTV to 85% LTV. If you were to borrow money on an equity basis and your home is worth $100,000.00, the most you’d be eligible to refinance at is $85,000.00.
- HELOCs (Home Equity Line of Credit) are no longer backed by government insurance. Loans that are secured by the equity in the consumers homes are no longer to be insured by the government. This however will not come into effect until April 18, 2011.
How will reducing the amortization from 35 years to 30 years impact home buyers and home sellers? While not all mortgages are written as a 35 year amortization, it is especially helpful for first time buyers or families starting out who desire the right house and want lower payments.
Lets look for example at a family or individual with a annual household income of $60,000 per year with a vehicle payment of $450 per month, credit card payments of 100 per month and property taxes on the new home purchase at an estimated $1500/year.
Using 3.89% as a 5 year fixed rate this client would qualify for monthly payments of $1350/month. The old rules allowed for a 35 year amortization and the client would be able to purchase a $310,000 home. The new rules allow for only a 30 year amortization, and this client will now be able to purchase a $285,000 home, reducing the purchasing power of the client by 8%
These changes impact both buyers and sellers. Buyers have had their purchasing power in this example reduced by 8% and the seller now has fewer people in the market that would qualify to purchase their home.
The new rule changes come into effect on March 18th 2011 and given experience from the last mortgage rule change, many lenders will start changing their policies prior to this date.