88West Realty

Hurt by New Mortgage Rules? You’re Not Alone

Website shares sorry tales of Canadians left out in cold by feds’ mortgage qualification “stress test”

Misery loves company, and a problem shared is a problem halved. At least, that’s the thinking behind a new website that has just been launched by a group of mortgage brokerages and other lending companies – newruleshurt.ca.

The website shares numerous real-life examples of ways in which Canadians have been pushed out of the housing market because of onerous new mortgage qualification rules launched by the federal government last year.

Known as the “stress test,” the rules require new mortgage applicants with less than a 20 per cent down payment to qualify at the Bank of Canada posted rate, no matter what their contracted interest rate is. This means affected applicants typically qualify for around 20 per cent less mortgage than previously, meaning that many cannot get a mortgage for the house that they want or need, according to mortgage brokers.

The website says, “Through no fault of their own and without any warning, these prospective homebuyers were cruelly forced to alter, and in many cases, abandon their dreams of homeownership.”

Dominion Lending Centres, Mortgage Architects, The Mortgage Centre and Mortgage Professionals Canada jointly set up the website to highlight the extent of real-life cases in which prospective home buyers have been hurt by the new rules.

Dominion Lending Centres has been particularly vocal in its objections to the new rules, and in February made an impassioned submission to the federal Standing Committee on Finance to plead for a softening of the stress test.

The group’s objective is to persuade the federal government to amend the rules, and it recommends, among other changes, “a more modest benchmark rate that sits halfway between the Bank of Canada posted rate and the current contract mortgage rate.”

Home buyers who have experienced similar struggles are encouraged to anonymously submit their own stories at newruleshurt.ca/submit-your-story/.

By Joannah Connolly

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