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Mortgage Stress Test Explained In Detail

A mortgage is one of the biggest monetary commitments that several residents of Canada make in their lifetime. And as a mortgage is a huge responsibility, it also gives freedom, security, independence, and peaceful life.

It is a fact that a mortgage is a loan, and to prevent it from becoming a big financial burden, there are some set terms & conditions. The government implemented rules and measures to ensure that current and potential clients don’t take more debt than they can handle.

Have a friend of yours recommended you sign up for and take the Mortgage Stress Test? If you’re planning to make a large purchase or are approaching near a mortgage renewal time, the possibilities are you may have heard of it. If yes, you may have several questions about what it is and whether or not you should apply for it. 

In this guide, you’ll get to know everything about mortgage loan in detail. You will read about what the mortgage stress test is all about, how it works, who can apply for it, and the steps you should take to increase the chances of getting approval. 

Important Updates On Mortgage Stress Test

According to the latest news posted on Global News, new mortgage stress test rules will impact in the following ways:

  1. The new qualifying rate on uninsured mortgages — where the down payment is 20% or more – is now either 2% points higher than the contract rate, or 5.25 %, whichever is higher.
  2. Any buyer whose down payment was 20% or more of the purchase amount must demonstrate that they can pay the mortgage loan payment if the interest rate is 2% points higher than the bank’s offer, or 4.79%, whichever is greater.

The aim is to make this test process more representative of the rates at the present time offered by lenders and must be more responsive to market conditions.

What is the mortgage stress test?

The mortgage stress test is an annual test that assesses whether the borrower is able to handle the mortgage in case of unemployment or a loss in income. The test asks borrowers about their current employment status, earnings, and other financial information. These factors are then compared with their potential payments to see if they will be able to maintain or make the payments on time every month.

The stress test is run by the federal government for all bank loans with variable rates higher than 4%. It is intended to ensure that the person applying for the mortgage will be able to make the payments if he loses his job, or if there is a significant drop in income.

How does the stress test work?

The stress test is based on many factors including salary, monthly debt payments, the housing market in a neighborhood, and the number of people that are on your tax return. The net worth calculated by this formula is compared to the current value of the house. The formula uses the most recent data available for these factors to come up with a calculation that will allow you to maintain your financial obligations.

The stress test affects all homeowners with variable-rate mortgages issued by banks. It does not affect fixed-rate mortgages in any way. The stress test is important since it helps to make sure that people are able to pay their mortgages every month, even when there is a decrease in income or an increase in expenses.

For example, if there is a qualifying debt ratio greater than or equal to 40%, then the borrower has passed the stress test. However, if he has a qualifying debt ratio of less than 40%, then he will fail the mortgage test.

What numbers are important for passing the stress test?

This stress test is a number game and some crucial calculations are done by the lenders. This test is based on two factors that are total debt service ratio (TDS) and gross debt service ratio (GDS). TDS is the ratio of monthly debt payments to gross annual income. GDS is the ratio of gross debt service to total assets. Theoretically, if both ratios are equal to or greater than 40% then the borrower has passed the test. However, if this number is less than 40%, then he will fail the mortgage stress test.

There are many ways that a person’s income can change from year to year without affecting his ability to pay his mortgage loan and other obligations like child support payments or student loans. However, because of the way this stress test is calculated, if an individual’s income goes up by 2% and their debt payments also increase by 2%, there may still be a problem. The increase in income will allow him to maintain a qualifying ratio of at least 40%. However, this small increase in expenses will cause him to fail the test.

In order to pass the mortgage stress test, you must look at the total amount of monthly debt payments together with the current income level.

Do I have to take the stress test?

Yes. The stress test is mandatory. If you want to refinance or purchase a house, the stress test will have to be completed by your lender. It is not something that you can opt-out of. Your lender will provide you with the necessary information and instructions to complete the test. Only federally regulated lending institutions can administer the test and these are:

  1. Banks
  2. Monoline lenders
  3. Trust companies
  4. Loan companies

What can I do to make sure I pass?

If you take the time to understand the stress test, then you should be able to figure out the best way to opt-out of it for your specific situation. Here are some tips to help you pass the test:

  • -Make a larger down payment
  • -Pay a huge amount on your current mortgage(especially homeowners who switch lenders usually)
  • -Lower the home buying budget and search for an affordable one
  • -You can find a co-signer
  • -Increase your income source and double your income
  • -Pay off your existing debts such as student, credit card, car, and personal loan
  • -Cancel all the loan applications that are in progress mode

If you will not be able to pass the test, you can still take a mortgage loan from an alternative lending institution such as Canadian Cash Solutions. They also offer many other financial products such as personal loans, title loans, etc. to help people out there. 

How does the stress test work for higher interest rate mortgages?

If you have a fixed-rate mortgage, then there is no need to worry about this test. However, a person who has a variable rate mortgage may be in for some problems. When a variable rate mortgage is used to purchase a house, the lender will require you to complete the stress test. If you pass the test, then you will be given a mortgage with an interest rate of Prime + 2.5%. This is basically double prime and it gives lenders a high level of protection against risk.


What’s a conventional (uninsured) mortgage?

Conventional mortgages are loans that have no down payment. You put a small amount of money at the beginning and then borrow that money to pay for the house. If you do not make timely payments on your mortgage, you will not pass the stress test or qualify for any type of mortgage. And, if you fail this test, it will be very difficult to get a conventional loan in the future.

What’s a high-ratio (insured) mortgage?

High-ratio mortgages loans that have a very low down payment. They allow you to qualify for a mortgage with a much lower interest rate than when you would have been able to with a lower ratio. In many cases, these mortgages start at 3% and can go down to 1%, which is much less than the 10–12% interest rate on a standard fixed-rate mortgage.

Bottom Line

Don’t take a lot of stress about the test. Keep yourself relaxed. Well, complete preparation and everything in the right place will help you pass it. Thus, you can fulfill your needs by passing a mortgage test and taking a mortgage loan

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