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.

Just Posted

Ashcroft under Boil Water Notice

High turbidity levels in the Thompson River have prompted the notice

Prescribed burns to take place around Lytton, Spences Bridge

BC Wildfire Service will only conduct burns if conditions permit

Flooding hits Highway 97 north of Cache Creek

Recent warm temperatures are causing an increase in flooding on area roads

Elizabeth May feels people are looking at the Green Party with new eyes

Green Party leader is hoping for a breakthrough for her party in the October federal election

Cache Creek Softball Association gears up for another season

Organizers are looking for people of all ages from throughout the area

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Most Read