Today Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced changes to down payment requirements. Effective February 15, 2016, the minimum down payment for new insured mortgages will increase from five per cent to 10 per cent for the portion of the house price above $500,000. The five per cent minimum down payment for properties up to $500,000 remains unchanged.
Homes priced at more than $1 million by law require a minimum down payment of 20 per cent. Today’s announcement therefore focuses on homes priced between $500,000 and $1 million.
In the Mortgage Professionals Canada (MPC) Fall Report, Chief Economist, Will Dunning discusses why raising the down payment could cause problems for the housing market, including this cautionary observation: “Rising prices have made it increasingly difficult for first-time home buyers to accumulate down payments. Increasing down payment requirements would, most likely, severely dampen housing demands from people who are financially well-qualified to make their monthly mortgage payments.”
MPC notes that the 10% requirement does represent a graduated approach while the Ministry of Finance commented that they believe this will only impact 1% of home purchasers.