Effective January 1, 2018, first-time home buyers who don’t require mortgage insurance — those with a down payment of 20 per cent or more — must qualify for their mortgage at a higher rate. This new stress test won’t apply to people renewing their uninsured mortgage. Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced these rule changes today. Draft changes were released in the summer for public feedback. (The Canadian Real Estate Association submitted this response to the draft rules in August on behalf of REALTORS® across the country.) Under the new rules, the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages will be the greater of the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate or the contractual mortgage rate plus two per cent. OSFI will also require lenders to enhance their loan-to-value (LTV) limits and restrict certain lending arrangements designed to circumvent LTV limits. These changes apply to all federally regulated financial institutions. This is the seventh time since 2008 that the federal government has made mortgage policy changes.