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Ottawa Weighs Stricter Mortgage Rules

Ottawa is considering new rules that would force banks to use tougher criteria to evaluate mortgage borrowers, a move to ensure that consumers aren’t taking on more debt than they can handle when they buy a home.  

The key proposal under discussion would see the creation of new conditions the banks would have to follow when determining whether a customer can afford a mortgage, according to sources. Those rules would require banks to consider whether a person who takes out a variable-rate mortgage on a home can continue to make the payments if interest rates were to go up significantly.  

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is under pressure from a number of experts, including executives of major Canadian banks, to take action in the face of surprising strength in the country’s housing market, which shows no signs of letting up. The fear is that many of the borrowers who are buying homes because of unusually low mortgage rates will struggle with their monthly payments when interest rates rise. That could have a dampening effect on the broader economy by prompting consumers to cut back their spending as they direct all their money toward their mortgages.

Full article, provided by The Globe and Mail.


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