New rules Ottawa announced last month that will tighten Canada’s mortgage industry go into effect today, but a major Canadian bank says many people are unaware of what exactly is changing.
In June, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty unveiled major changes to the limits of what the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is allowed to insure, effectively tapping the brakes on a housing industry that many experts worry has become too hot.
Starting Monday, lenders can only issue home equity loans up to a maximum of 80 per cent of a property’s value — down from 85 per cent. And anyone wanting to buy a home worth more than $1 million, for instance, must now have a downpayment of at least $200,000.
But the biggest change of all is the shortening of the maximum amortization period to 25 years from 30 years — forcing borrowers to pay back their debts sooner. That will reduce the amount of interest they’ll pay over the life of the loan, but make mortgage payments larger as more debt gets paid back with each payment.