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New mortgage rules in detail

4934 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  themortgageguy
Nobody is this forum has actually covered these new rules off with much detail as of yet so here's the highlights. What is rarely covered is the fact that two sets of rules were issued not just those that effect insured mortgages. OSFI also issued residential mortgage lending guidelines to the institutions they regulate (banks primarily). These effect all mortgages not just those that are insured.


  • The new rules take effect on July 9, 2012
  • They apply to all mortgages on residential property with 4 units or less. Multiplex properties with 5 units or more are not directly affected by these new standards.
  • Currently the maximum amount of refinancing allowed is 85% of the fair market value of the residential property. Effect July 9[SUP]th[/SUP], 2012 the maximum allowable refinance is being reduced to 80% of the fair market value of a residential property.
  • The maximum amortization period is being reduced from the current level of 30 years to 25 years. On a mortgage of $100,000 using a 5 year fixed rate of 3.09% that equates to an increase of $52.00 in the monthly mortgage payment.
  • Previous to the announcement clients with excellent had an allowable GDS and TDS of 44%. These new rules reduce the allowable GDS to 39%.
  • Government backed insurance is now only available on homes with a purchase price of less than $1,000,000.00. Effectively homes being purchased for $1,000,000.00 or more would require a down payment of 20%.

Exceptions allowed

Exceptions will be made when:

  • a binding purchase and sale, financing or refinancing agreement exists, an
  • where a mortgage insurance application has been made before July 9, 2012

While the changes come into force on July 9, 2012, any mortgage insurance applications received after June 21, 2012 and before July 9, 2012 that do not conform to the measures announced today must be funded by December 31, 2012.

On another note, The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) also released the final version of the Residential Mortgage Underwriting Practices and Procedures document. These guidelines are directed at federally regulated financial institutions (Banks, trust companies etc.) and are intended to highlight OFSI’s expectations around prudent residential mortgage underwriting practices. These effect all mortgages not just those that are insured. Here are the highlights:

This guidelines are expected to be implemented by the banks by October 31[SUP]st[/SUP]:

  • Home equity lines of credit will be limited to 65% LTV. You can probably apply for 80% in the near future but as the October 31[SUP]st[/SUP] deadline approaches that will disappear.
  • It looks like the qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages will now be the same as for insured mortgages. If you are getting a mortgage for anything other than a 5 year fixed mortgage your qualifying rate will be the Bank of Canada benchmark rate. For a 5 year fixed mortgage your qualifying rate will be the greater of the bench mark rate and the contract mortgage rate. Previously lenders usually used a lower rate to qualify uninsured mortgages. The benchmark rate today is 5.24%.
  • Cash back mortgages are also affected. Previously, individuals were still able to buy a home with no money down using a cash back product but that has effectively been closed.
  • Business-for-self borrowers also seem to be affected. A large portion of BFS borrowers previously applied for and were granted mortgages by using stated income applications. The guidelines now specifically ask the lending institutions to obtain income verification. So for the BFS individual that practices heavy tax planning and minimizes his income this could be a problem if he only deals with the banks.

It’s important to note that none of the lenders affected by the guidelines issued by the superintendent has formally responded to them so we will have to wait and see how these actually shake out. The guidelines are pretty clear though but I suppose it’s possible that they could be revised.

If you sum up the two announcements we are looking at lower amortization periods (from 30 years to 25 years), lower allowable debt ratios (from 44% to 39%) and higher qualifying rates. These will definitely restrict buying and the ability to refinance your home for renovations or to pay off high interest credits cards.

While there is no mention of shorter amortization terms for uninsured mortgages, in the past anytime the insured mortgages amortization period was reduced, the banks typically used that shorter term for all mortgages, insured or not.

Thankfully there are excellent regulated lenders available not affected by the superintendent’s new guidelines and they offer great products and rates to boot.
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Is it just the big chartered banks that have to follow those uninsured guidelines? Or all lenders?

Just wondering if First National has to follow these new rules
OSFI regulates FRFI's (federally regulated financial institutions) which can include insurance companies, loan companies and trust companies as well as the banks. To the best of my knowledge First National is NOT regulated by OFSI so wouldn't need to follow OSFI by default.

However there is more than one way to skin a cat and I would not be surprised to see some communication from the body that does regulate First National doing something similar. I'm not saying that it will happen but its not like these regulatory agencies work in a vacuum from one another
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