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OTTAWA — Canada’s realtors welcomed news that the Conservatives want to ease a contentious mortgage stress test, despite a previous warning from the head of the CMHC.

Canadian Real Estate Association president Jason Stephen says realtors have long asked for solutions to help Canadians purchase homes and today’s campaign promises include some of their suggested policy changes.

Andrew Scheer has pledged to loosen rules around the stress test, which was designed to ensure buyers requiring mortgages could afford payments if interest rates rose, and remove it altogether for mortgage renewals.

He also plans to allow first-time property buyers to take out 30-year mortgages — the Conservative government led by Stephen Harper reduced terms from 40 years to 25 years between 2008 and 2012.

Evan Siddall, the head of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., has defended the stress test and current mortgage-term maximums amid industry lobbying to change the rules, saying in May that his job is to “protect our economy from potentially tragic consequences.”

The CMHC declined to comment Monday, saying they were not in a position to comment on political parties’ promises or announcements during the election period.

 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2019.

The Canadian Press

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