Earlier today the government announced more changes to mortgage lending to ensure that buyers are not taking on bigger mortgages that they can afford. Let me break down the change and how it will affect buying a house or condo here in Ottawa. Keep in mind there were four major changes, but I am going to focus on the "Stress Test" change.
The "Stress Test" Change
If you (buyer) are using less than 20% downpayment, you will need to be approved using the posted rate (currently 4.64%) not the actual rate of the mortgage. This posted rate is typically going to be higher than what your rate will be, so it will lower the overall amount that you are approved for. This doesn't change the rate or the payment, just lowering the approved amount for borrowing. Before this change, you would have been pre-approved using the rate you were paying - allowing your budget to be much higher.
Who will this affect?
Unlike previous changes (for those borrowing over 1M), this affects anyone who was pushing the top end of their budget and had less than 20% downpayment. This change essentially lowers the amount you will be approved for by on average 20-25%, or less depending on the price point. It is said that this change should impact between 7% and 10% of buyers.
You have until October 17th to get your purchase and sale agreement in writing and mortgage application in to get qualified under the old rules.
Why is being changed?
Really it lowers the risk that our country is taking on with people that really shouldn't be buying. I can't count the number of times that a buyer here in Ottawa has told me that the amount they were approved for was way more than they could afford. If you were pushing that to the highest amount it is riskier and this looks to help reduce the risk. What if rates rise during your term and when you go to renew the rate is 1% or 3% higher?
Before: Income of $100,000 with a downpayment of $40,000, five-year fixed rate of 2.17% would qualify to purchase an Ottawa home worth $665,435 (including tax of $400 and heating of $150 /month).
Now: You would be qualified at 4.64% (todays rate) not 2.17% interest rate, and it would drop your purchase price to $505,762 - a difference of 24% or $159,673.
If you are thinking of buying or are looking to learn more about how these changes affect you specifically, let's chat!