Changes to the mortgage stress test have been announced by Federal Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, on February 18, 2020. In short, the stress test is used to determine the minimum qualifying rate for insured mortgages. The changes announced have come in effect as of April 6, 2020. The new benchmark rate will be the weekly median five-year fixed insured mortgage rate from mortgage insured applications, plus 2%.
As a result of a review by federal financial agencies, it has been determined that the minimum qualifying rate should be more dynamic to better reflect the evolution of market conditions. The change to the stress test will allow it to be more representative of the mortgage rates offered by lenders, and more responsive to market conditions.
“For many middle class Canadians, their home is the most important investment they will make in their lifetime. Our government has a responsibility to ensure that investment is protected and to support a stable housing market. The government will continue to monitor the housing market and make changes as appropriate. Reviewing the stress test ensures it is responsive to market conditions.”
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Source: British Columbia Real Estate Association and Government of Canada