Canada’s mortgage stress tests are broken: economist

Canada would need a "calamity" in the housing market to warrant adjusting the mortgage stress test, which is helping affordability, according to the head of Canada’s national housing agency.

The stress tests most mortgage applicants in Canada face are defective – but rather than scrapping them, policymakers should make changes. That’s the overall message economist Will Dunning is sending to Ottawa by way of a new report written for lending-industry group Mortgage Professionals Canada.

Fortunately, Canada’s Bank of Montreal (BMO) recently surveyed 1500 canadian homeowners asking that very question in their homeownership stress-test report. First, let’s look at how low five year fixed mortgage rates in Canada really are today when compared to historical values back two generations to 1951 in this chart from the Bank of Canada.

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This stress test would use either the 5-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the customer’s mortgage interest rate plus 2% – whichever is the higher. New rules don’t apply if you’re renewing your TD Mortgage: The new rules only apply to new mortgage loan agreements.

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Bank of Canada Weighs in on Stress Test Impacts. The Bank of Canada recently released its own research into the effects of the stress test, finding that the new rules were responsible only for a small part of the decline in home sales.