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

Special air quality advisory issued in Cariboo due to Alberta wildfire smoke

Environment Canada will provide an air quality update on Monday, May 27.

South Cariboo power outages

Power has been restored in both areas

It’s a little wet in 100 Mile House

Thunderstorms expected all night

Reunited with the Thelma

Soon I will be reunited with the Thelma to my Louise, the… Continue reading

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen found in torched SUV

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

Most Read