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CMHC cutting back on what it covers with mortgage default insurance
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., the Crown corporation that controls the vast majority of mortgage default insurance in the country, says it plans to get out of the market for second homes and is adding restrictions for self-employed Canadians.
Effective May 30, CMHC said it will discontinue insuring second homes and will require self-employed Canadians to have third party income income validation.
The Crown corporation said the changes are being made as part of its review of its mortgage loan business. The organization has already said it is raising rates across the board May 1, a move that comes after the federal government last year appointed a new chair for CMHC and brought in a new chief executive.
CMHC helps Canadians meet their housing needs and contributes to the stability of the housing market and finance system said Steven Mennill, senior vice-president, insurance, in a release. As part of the review of its mortgage loan insurance business, CMHC is evaluating its products and services to ensure they are aligned with these objectives.
The agency said its the first set of changes resulting from the review of its operation. TheFinancial Postreported this month that Evan Siddall, a former investment banker brought in as CEO, has been asked about the possibility of a risk-based method of assessing mortgage default insurance. Sources say the new CEO has told people he doesnt disagree with the principal of risk-based insurance.
The changes announced Friday affect a small portion of the market. CMHC said its second home and self-employed without third party income validation business account for less than 3% of CMHCs insured business volumes in units.
Given the limited use of these products, their discontinuation is not expected to have a material impact on the housing market, the agency said in a release.
CMHC first introduced the program for self employed people in 2007 in response to industry competition which at its peak saw some U.S. players enter the market and encourage changes that created amortization lengths as long as 40 years. The government has since restricted loans to 25-year amortizations.
The second home product was introduced in 2005 and applied when purchasing an owner-occupied second home anywhere in Canada.
CMHC said it will limit the availability of homeowner mortgage loan insurance to only one property (one to four units) per borrower/co-borrower at any given time.
Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist with CIBC, said the announcement was not a big surprise given the mandate of providing more stability. That might not be the end of it. We might see more coming from CMHC.
Finn Poschmann, vice-president of research at the C.D. Howe Institute, said the requirement for validation seems reasonable.
What is interesting is the question of whether the change will tend to shift risk away from CMHC and toward the private insurers. Whether that is the outcome will be determined by the private insurers responses, he said, in an email.
Mortgage Deferral Agreements and Their Impact
CMHCs Fall 2020 Residential Mortgage Industry Dashboard discusses mortgage deferral agreements and their impact.
At the end of the second quarter, credit unions, mortgage finance companies (MFCs) and mortgage investment entities (MIEs) have allowed mortgage deferral agreements for about 6%, 7% and 7% of their respective residential mortgage portfolios.
Chartered banks have allowed 16% of mortgages to go into deferral since the beginning of the pandemic. Of these, close to 2 out of 3 borrowers had resumed payments on their mortgages at the end of the third quarter of 2020. In the coming months, we could see higher delinquency rates if some borrowers are unable to resume their payments; these mortgages will have to be booked as arrears.
These deferral agreements have affected financial institutions cash flows, with reductions of:
4% in scheduled mortgage payments
3% in non-scheduled payments (accelerated monthly payments and lump-sum payments)
While remaining at low levels, mortgages in arrears (90 or more days delinquent) have increased slightly between the first and second quarters of 2020 from:
0.24% to 0.26%, on average, for chartered banks
0.23% to 0.25%, on average, for non-bank mortgage lenders
We also observe an increase in early-stage delinquencies (31 to 59 days and 60 to 89 days), which suggests that arrears could continue on an upward trend.
Bank of Canada will maintain current level of policy rate until inflation objective is achieved, continues its quantitative easing program
The Bank of Canada today maintained its target for the overnight rate at the effective lower bound of percent, with the Bank Rate at percent and the deposit rate at percent. The Bank is maintaining its extraordinary forward guidance, reinforced and supplemented by its quantitative easing (QE) program, which continues at its current pace of at least $4 billion per week.
The rebound in the global and Canadian economies has unfolded largely as the Bank had anticipated in its October Monetary Policy Report (MPR). More recently, news on the development of effective vaccines is providing reassurance that the pandemic will end and more normal activities will resume, although the pace and breadth of the global rollout of vaccinations remain uncertain. Near term, new waves of infections are expected to set back recoveries in many parts of the world. Accommodative policy and financial conditions are continuing to provide support across most regions. Stronger demand is pushing up prices for most commodities, including oil. A broad-based decline in the US exchange rate has contributed to a further appreciation of the Canadian dollar.