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2180 Steeles Avenue West,
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Phone:     905-761-7001
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21 May 2019

IMF believes Canada shouldn’t change mortgage stress test requirements

According to the International Monetary Fund, household debt in Canada remains too high, and no police changes for increasing housing activity are necessary.

The IMF’s report follows the Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s calls for reviewing the Liberal’s mortgage stress test in order to make real estate more affordable for Canadian buyers.

Nevertheless, the IMF believes it’s unreasonable to support strong activity in the sector, and Canada should aim at a gradual slowdown in hot housing markets, as it will reduce the overall risk for the national economy.

IMF calls for measures focusing on ensuring a strong and stable financial system, improved cooperation between federal and provincial governments and structural reforms aiming at higher productivity.

As you know, stricter mortgage rules, introduced by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, require from potential borrowers to face a stress test and prove they can withstand an interest rate increase or an income cut.

In April’s report, calling for the stress test review, CIBC economist Benjamin Tal noted the measure accounted for more than half of a $25-billion (8%) decline in new mortgages originated last year.

“The government is facing strong pressure to change the measure or implement new initiatives supporting real estate activity,” - said the IMF.

“In our opinion, it’s unreasonable with the current high household debt level, and it’s necessary to focus on a gradual slowdown at the housing market to reduce vulnerabilities.”



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