Who We Are:
Mortgage Professionals Canada is an industry association whose members include mortgage brokers, mortgage lenders, mortgage insurers and industry service providers. We have over 11,500 individual members and over 1,000 businesses across Canada.
The mortgage broker channel originates approximately 33% of all mortgages in Canada and approximately 50% of mortgages for first-time home buyers. This represents approximately $80 billion dollars in economic activity.
What the Changes Are:
Canadians elected the government on a mandate to grow the economy for the middle class. Support for middle-class home ownership is an important way for to achieve middle-class growth. In fact, the 2015 Liberal platform recognized this in committing to “considering all policy tools that could keep home ownership within reach for more Canadians” (Liberal Platform, 2015, page 7,8). We would like you to call on the government to honour that commitment instead of making home ownership more difficult and further out of reach for more middle-class Canadians.
We are concerned with the negative economic impact that these changes are having on housing activity in Canada. We are also very concerned with the additional costs that these changes will place on the Canadian middle class by way of higher interest rates and reduced purchasing power. We have already seen banks increase their mortgage prime rates in part because of these changes, which will cost Canadians thousands more over the course of their mortgage term.
The reduction of portfolio mortgage insurance eligibility, in addition to the increase in premiums for this insurance due to OSFI’s recent increased requirements for capital adequacy is disproportionately affecting the competitive positioning of small and mid-sized lenders. These changes are reducing mortgage competition and affordability for Canadian homeowners and would-be homeowners.
Our membership has been vocal with their displeasure regarding the impacts that these changes are having, especially outside of the Toronto and Vancouver markets. There is a real and growing resentment that the activity in Toronto and Vancouver is negatively and unfairly impacting those in the rest of the country. We believe moving ahead with a risk sharing provision would be an additional burden on the market and will further the divide between rural and urban Canada.
The Canadian economy has seen only modest growth in 2016, especially for the middle class, and the housing sector is one of the few strong performers that has been driving this growth. We are concerned that, as the Bank of Canada noted, the introduction of the new rules will reduce growth in the Canadian economy, which will hurt the middle class.
What We Are Asking the Government to Consider:
In early October, Finance Minister Morneau outlined mortgage insurance and qualification changes effective October 17 and November 30 respectively. Paul Taylor, President and CEO of Mortgage Professionals Canada released the following statement:
“Our members are concerned about the negative impact the changes to mortgage lending will have on Canadians ability to afford a mortgage and the negative consequences for the Canadian economy. These changes were announced with no warning to our industry and almost no consultation.
The qualification changes requiring all ‘insured’ (bulk or high ratio) loans to meet 25-year amortizations and be qualified at the Bank of Canada benchmark rate (currently 4.64%) will prevent many Canadians from becoming homeowners. It will also likely raise interest rates which will increase the cost of home ownership in Canada.
Additionally, the changes to mortgage insurance eligibility significantly impact our monoline lenders. It has the potential to severely restrict their access to capital and their ability to compete with the traditional banks. Additionally, the million-dollar purchase price limit effectively excludes many Canadian lenders from the highest property value marketplaces where consumers arguably have the greatest need for funding competition, accessibility, and availability.
As we continue to study the potential impacts, we have been in communication with the Department of Finance and are discussing the impact and unintended consequences to the marketplace these changes will bring.”
Letter to Financial Sector Policy Branch – June 24, 2016
With housing affordability and availability in Vancouver receiving increased attention in the media, Mortgage Professionals Canada has been concerned that government is considering making changes to mortgage eligibility. While we understand that cooling the escalating prices in Vancouver and Toronto is a need and desire of local residents, applying national strategies as a result of two regional markets could lead to unintended consequences.The Canadian economy is not uniform, and many regions in Canada are struggling to find economic growth and seeing prices stagnating or falling. We made a request to the Financial Sector Policy Branch to discuss potential strategies and their impact. The meeting is scheduled for August 8.
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