With rising consumer indebtedness among Canadians, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced this morning that the government will be implementing new tighter restrictions on mortgage lending. As of March 18th, mortgages with amortizations greater than 30 years will no longer qualify for government-backed mortgage insurance (CMHC), down from the current 35 years.
In addition to the reducing the maximum amortization, they will also be restricting the amount of money one can obtain through refinancing to 85% of the homes value, down from the current 90%. This will also take effect on March 18th.
Mortgage applications with 35 year amortization and refinancing to 90% will still be accepted up until March 18th. Although, we will see if CMHC doesn't start declining these applications early, as we saw last spring when they reduced the maximum refinance to 90%, down from the previous 95%.
Home buyers will still be able to purchase homes with as little as 5% down payment. There are still ways to purchase with no money down, such as using a 5% cash back and applying it to the down payment. There is no word as to whether CMHC will continue to offer that product after March 18th.
Tomorrow morning, the Bank of Canada makes their next interest rate announcement. The prime rate is expected to remain unchanged at 3.00%.