Our top priority

The economy remains the government’s top priority. That is why we have announced prudent adjustments to the rules for government-backed insured mortgages to support the long-term stability of Canada’s housing market and support hard-working Canadian families saving through home ownership. Our government constantly and closely monitors the housing market, ready to take prudent and sensible measures as needed to sustain the economic recovery and ensure its ongoing stability.

We are taking prudent and sensible action to strengthen Canada’s housing market by:

– Reducing the maximum amortization period to 30 years from 35 years for new government-backed insured mortgages with loan-to-value ratios of more than 80 per cent. This will significantly reduce the total interest payments Canadian families make on their mortgages, allow Canadian families to build up equity in their homes more quickly, and help Canadians pay off their mortgages before they retire.

– Lowering the maximum amount Canadians can borrow in refinancing their mortgages to 85 per cent from 90 per cent of the value of their homes. This will promote saving through home ownership and limit the repackaging of consumer debt into mortgages guaranteed by taxpayers.

– Withdrawing government insurance backing on lines of credit secured by homes, such as home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs. This will ensure that risks associated with consumer debt products used to borrow funds unrelated to house purchases are managed by the financial institutions and not borne by taxpayers.

The measures announced will help sustain the economic recovery by ensuring the long-term stability of Canada’s housing market.

The adjustments to the mortgage insurance guarantee framework come into force on March 18, 2011. The withdrawal of government insurance backing on lines of credit secured by homes will come into force on April 18, 2011.

For more information,  visit http://www.fin.gc.ca/n11/11-003-eng.asp

Our government’s ongoing monitoring and sound underlying supervisory regime, along with the traditionally cautious approach taken by Canadian financial institutions to mortgage lending, have allowed Canada to maintain strong and secure housing and mortgage markets.