On July 9, 2012 the Federal Finance Minister announced further changes to Canada’s mortgage insurance rules. Four measures were announced:
- Amortizations reduced to 25 years (was 30 years)
- Refinancing limited to 80% (previously 85%)
- Properties purchased at over $1 million no longer eligible for mortgage insurance
- GDS and TDS set at 39% and 44%
CAAMP believes that Canadians understand the importance of paying down their mortgages. Analysts believe that these changes may precipitate the housing market downturn the government so desperately wants to avoid. The changes take effect July 9, 2012.
Additional information from the Department of Finance
Q. I already have an insured mortgage. How will these changes affect me?
A. Mortgage insurance is good for the life of the mortgage. Borrowers renewing their insured mortgages will not be affected by these changes. For example, if a borrower had a 30-year amortization and there are 27 years remaining on the mortgage, the mortgage can be renewed with a 27-year amortization, as long as no new funds are being added to the mortgage.
Q. What is required to qualify for an exception to the new parameters?
A. The new measures will apply as of July 9, 2012. Exceptions will be made to satisfy a binding purchase and sale, financing or refinancing agreement 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.
Q. Will a purchase and sale agreement dated prior to July 9, 2012 be considered binding if there are outstanding conditions that have not been fulfilled prior to July 9, 2012?
A. Yes, if the date on the purchase and sale agreement is earlier than July 9, 2012, and a mortgage insurance application has been made prior to that date, the new parameters will not apply, even if the conditions of the agreement have not been waived.
Q. Will the new refinancing rules allow a borrower with a mortgage above 80 per cent loan-to-value (LTV) to refinance by extending the amortization period?
A. No. Effective July 9, 2012, borrowers will not be permitted to refinance a mortgage above an 80 per cent LTV, unless the borrower has a binding refinance agreement dated prior to July 9, 2012, and a mortgage insurance agreement has been made prior to that date.
Q. I have a written mortgage pre-approval from a lender, dated before July 9, 2012 with a 30-year amortization. Will I still be eligible for a 30-year amortization if I don’t sign an agreement of purchase and sale until July 9, 2012 or later?
A. No, a mortgage pre-approval without an agreement of purchase and sale is not sufficient to qualify for a 30-year amortization. You may have a 30-year amortization only if your agreement of purchase and sale is dated before July 9, 2012 and you have made a mortgage insurance application before July 9, 2012. You may wish to discuss with your lender to revise your mortgage pre-approval using the new parameters announced today.
Q. Will the new parameters apply to assignment (“switch” or transfer) of a previously insured loan from one approved lender to another?
A. No. As long as the loan amount and amortization period are not increased, the new parameters will not apply to a switch/transfer/assignment of the mortgage to a different lender.
Q. If I sell my current home and buy another, will the new parameters apply if I transfer the outstanding balance of my insured mortgage to the new home?
A. As long as the outstanding balance of the insured loan, the LTV ratio and the remainder of the amortization period are not increased, the new parameters will not apply when the mortgage insurance is transferred from one home to another.
Q. What if I need to increase the amount of my insured loan when I sell my current home and buy another?
A. In this situation, the new parameters will apply for any insured loan
Q. If I bought a condo that is not expected to be built for another two years, will the new parameters apply?
A. If you bought a condo and have made a mortgage insurance application on or before June 21, then the new parameters would not apply.
If you buy a condo and make a mortgage insurance application after June 21, the new parameters will apply if the mortgage loan is not funded by December 31, 2012.