CMHC’s Evan Siddall spoke about regulatory changes and B-20 at the MPC Expo in Montreal this past weekend. The discussion revolved around federal mortgage rule changes, including the new stress test introduced as part of the revised B-20 guidelines, refinance restrictions and much more.
Here’s a quick overview of key highlights:
- Regulatory changes: “We’re not in a big rush to make more changes.”
- The financial system overall: “I think we’ve got a really stable system.”
- Stress tests: These “may need to change in future”, but he qualified this by saying that changes in government are slow.
- $1M mortgage insurance cap: “I don’t think it’s a crazy discussion to have whether that million-dollar cap makes sense over time with economic growth and all that. But again, changes in Ottawa are hard to come by.”
- Refi restrictions: “Maybe there are edges on the margin we should look at. But I would say to you writ large, I don’t think that we would want to move that threshold.”
- Credit unions: Credit unions are playing in a field that “is tilted” as 42% are not B-20 compliant. “We just don’t know if that matters or not, and if it does, what we’re going to do about it. But I’ll say that tilted playing fields are not good. The cost of levelling that playing field may not be worth the effort, but we’ll share that information (publicly).”
- #1 market risk: Highly-indebted first-time buyers pose the largest risk. He also noted that based on a recent CMHC poll, 40% of respondents don’t feel they have the liquidity to withstand a housing price downturn. “That’s really what the stress test is all about, it’s about that particular group.”