New mortgage rules now in effect

By Andrew Rickard | February 17 2016 01:39PM

Clients must now make a minimum down payment of 10% for mortgage amounts over $500,000.

Late last year the federal government announced that the minimum down payment for more expensive real estate would increase on Feb. 15. While those buying homes priced less than $500,000 are still only required to put down 5% in order to qualify for Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) insurance, amounts over $500,000 are now subject to a 10% minimum down payment. For example, someone who wants to buy a $700,000 home and who needs CMHC coverage must now make a $45,000 or 6.4% down payment.

Existing mortgage holders

Those who already have an insured mortgage are unaffected by the change, as the measure only applies to new loans. "Homeowners with an existing insured mortgage or those renewing existing insured mortgages will not be affected by this policy change as mortgage insurance is good for the life of any existing insured mortgage," reads the answer on a list of frequently asked questions posted on the Department of Finance Canada web site.

For home buyers who have already applied for CMHC insurance but whose mortgage is not yet in place, the government notes that the changes only apply to new applications received on February 15, 2016 or later. For mortgage insurance applications received between December 11, 2015 and before February 15, 2016 that do not conform to the new measures, the mortgage must be in place by July 1, 2016.