Canadian home sales fall sharply in February
Canadians struggling to become homeowners amid stricter mortgage rules will be keeping an eye on whether Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivers on his vague promises of support in the federal budget.
BNN Bloomberg spoke with a real estate broker, a developer and a mortgage expert on what they’d like to see in the Liberal’s pre-election fiscal plan on Tuesday. Here’s what they told us.
John Pasalis, broker of record and president of Realosophy.com
“Increase the maximum limit for CMHC insurance from $1 million to $1.25 million. This will not have a significant impact, but will help buyers who have great jobs and high incomes, but not a lot of money saved up, to qualify for a more expensive home.”
“Increase the maximum RRSP withdrawal limit for the federal Home Buyers’ Plan. The current $25,000 limit should be increased to either $35,000 or $40,000.”
Sam Mizrahi, president and founder of Mizrahi Developments
“Increasing the amortization rate [for insured mortgages] will help, from the 25-year to get it back up to the 30-year. I think that would be a very strong stimulant to help [the real estate market] come back and also compete internationally. If you look at international mortgage rules in a lot of countries, down in the U.S. they have 30-year amortizations. So I think that would be a great start.”
Rob McLister, founder of RateSpy.com
“The main thing I want to see is the ability of people who have been paying their mortgage as agreed to be able to switch lenders without having to pass the stress test. And this goes for people who are refinancing to improve their finances as well. If you are reducing your debt, or creating a better debt situation for yourself as opposed to taking on more debt and buying more house than you can afford, it is a benefit for everyone – the entire economy – to enable those people to restructure their debt as cheaply as possible.”
Bonus round: What policies should the Liberals avoid?
Pasalis: “They should not increase the maximum amortization on insured mortgages. Policies that fuel more debt do not make houses more affordable. It just leads us to where we are today – a market with highly-indebted households that are struggling to make ends meet when rates increase by just 125 basis points. Furthermore, it will only drive more demand (and likely push up prices) in the segment of the market that is already competitive: Affordable homes that can be purchased by first-time buyers.”