More industry bodies representing real estate agents have given their views on the federal government’s latest housing measures.
Reaction to the government’s budget measures remain mixed but the Canadian Real Estate Association, the British Columbia Real Estate Association and the Toronto Real Estate Board have all welcomed the focus on affordability for first-time buyers.
However, all have also reiterated their concern that the mortgage stress test provisions of the OSFI B-20 rules continue to weaken the ability of Canadians to buy homes.
“Millennials are passionate about owning their own home, but many are worried they will never be able to because of higher home prices and tougher mortgage qualifying rules,” said Barb Sukkau, CREA’s President. “Realtors have been advocating for the modernization of the HBP and are pleased to see it addressed in Budget 2019. The measures announced today will help today’s millennials in a tangible way, while also addressing some longer-term concerns related to housing supply and sustainability.”
Referring to the First-Time Buyer Incentive Program, BCREA CEO Darlene Hyde welcomed the introduction of shared equity mortgages and the increased limit for the Home Buyers’ Plan.
“British Columbians who aspire to home ownership need to be able to achieve this goal to assure a sustainable future for our province,” says Darlene Hyde, BCREA CEO. “Realtors have advocated for modernization of the HBP for a long time and we’re pleased to see it addressed in Budget 2019.”
Changes are needed
BCREA advocates a review of the mortgage stress tests in light of interest rate rises and is also calling for the reintroduction of CMHC-backed 30-year mortgages.
These views are shared by TREB CEO John DiMichele who says the restrictions on 30-year insured loans and stress tests are not warranted in current market conditions.
“This is especially true at a time when first-time buyers are facing serious challenges in achieving the dream of home ownership. We applaud the federal government for acknowledging that housing issues are a top priority for Canadians, but current mortgage restrictions still need to be addressed,” he said.
CREA says that it is encouraged that the federal government is carefully monitoring the effects of B-20 mortgage regulations with a view to limiting negative impacts on housing markets that are in balance or struggling, and on economic growth in Canada.