How the federal budget could tweak the mortgage stress test

When the federal government rolled out a mortgage “stress test” last January, it was meant to keep Canadians from taking on more real estate debt than they could afford.

A year in, some critics have said it’s pushed home ownership out of reach for younger Canadians and other first-time home buyers, and would like the test tweaked in Tuesday’s federal budget.

Even Finance Minister Bill Morneau has made vague suggestions in recent months that the Liberals will look at options to make housing more affordable.

Defenders, however, say the stress test, introduced as part of Regulation B20, is working exactly as it should.

“They had to protect borrowers,” said John Andrew, a real estate professor at Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business. “Everybody was borrowing every possible dollar they could.”

Those borrowers “were going to be in trouble if rates started rising,” added Andrew.

By Josh RubinBusiness ReporterSun.,

March 17, 2019 – THE STAR