B.C. real estate board urges feds to revisit mortgage stress test

Stress test reducing people’s purchasing power by as much as 20 per cent, BCREA says

B.C.’s real estate board is joining the chorus of voices across the country urging the federal government to revisit the year-old stress test rule that has been criticized for eroding housing affordability for many.

The B-20 stress test was implemented in January 2018 to help cool down the red-hot housing market in Canada’s major cities. Would-be homebuyers now have to qualify at an interest rate two percentage points above the rate they negotiate with the bank.

The BC Real Estate Association says the test is reducing people’s purchasing power by as much as 20 per cent.

“We would like to see a review and reconsideration of the current mortgage underwriting ‘stress test,’ as well as a return to 30-year amortizations for federally insured mortgages,” chief executive officer Darlene Hyde said in a news release Tuesday.

“These rules must be changed now before B.C. families are left further behind.”

READ MORE: Mortgage test, high supply to keep cooling B.C. housing prices in 2019, report says

READ MORE: Real estate board calls on Ottawa to revisit mortgage stress test

The association has pointed to the stress test as the leading reason behind dipping home sales since last summer. Sales have dropped 45 per cent in Vancouver since 2018, compared to 18 per cent nationally.

The average price of homes in the Lower Mainland nearly doubled, while it remained mostly steady across the province, up just 0.5 per cent to $716,100, in the first quarter of 2019.

Housing analysts predicted in late December that prices in the Lower Mainland will rise by just 0.6 per cent this year, compared to five per cent in 2018. If true, a home will cost an average of $1.3 million by the end of the year.

Hyde said the test is having a negative impact on other facets of the economy, such as retail spending, as home equity declines in line with decreasing benchmark prices.

The Canadian Home Builders’ Association has also said the mortgage rules may force builders to pull back, leading to slower growth of the housing stock and yet another supply crunch and higher prices down the road.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A 60-unit apartment complex approved near downtown Chilliwack

City councillor noted that density adds to the livability of the downtown

UPDATE: Chilliwack poultry producer’s $130,000 fight with the CFIA earns him a red-tape award

Canadian Federation of Independent Business Paperweight Awards ‘honour’ government over-regulation

DNA confirms SUV struck and killed Abbotsford cyclist in 2015, court hears

Kerry Froese operated company that owned vehicle that struck and killed Ronald James Scott in 2015

Two men charged with first-degree murder in 2019 Surrey case

Two men charged with first-degree murder in killing of Andrew Baldwin, 30, in Surrey

Chilliwack average rents up, vacancy rate down

Local situation in the rental market mirrors the national picture according to CMHC

VIDEO: Canada’s first presumptive case of coronavirus officially confirmed

Both patient and wife arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Police search for man who went missing from Vernon hotel

Jay Rosenberger, 38, was last seen Friday

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sex assaults linked, RCMP ask women not to walk alone in Coquitlam park

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Whistleblower says Iranian-Americans questioned at Peace Arch crossing were targeted

Immigration lawyer says response from Customs Border Protection is a ‘total cover up’

Most Read