The uncertainty created with Brexit, in which Britons voted to leave the European Union, will keep interest rates low in the U.S. and Canada well into 2019 according to most economists. The impact on Canada for both its real estate markets and interest rates looks bright. Foreign money, in search of stable, safe havens for housing assets will naturally gravitate to Vancouver and Toronto now that Britain looks riskier. A continued low interest rate environment for many years will allow buyers outside of those areas to purchase with confidence, knowing that rates will remain low and affordable for some time.
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) on July 7th released a letter to all federally regulated financial institutions (FRFIs) to engage in prudent mortgage underwriting. They are clearly concerned these low rates will continue to fuel the housing market, and want FRFIs to place increased focus on verifying borrowers’ income (particularly for sources outside of Canada), have greater scrutiny of loans to borrowers with high debt or low credit scores, and ensure borrowers can make mortgage payments if rates rise. As a result, mortgage applications will become subject to more scrutiny and requests for increased documentation. It has never been more important to deal with an experienced mortgage professional who has access to as many options as possible, including lenders not subject to federal regulations, and will work with you to ensure your situation is clearly represented with your lender.