Andrew Scheer promises to review mortgage ‘stress test’, allow for longer mortgages

Andrew Scheer promises to review mortgage ‘stress test’, allow for longer mortgages

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is promising that, if he’s elected, he’ll review the so-called “stress test” to help first-time homebuyers get approved for mortgages and allow people to take out longer mortgages for lower monthly payments.

The stress test, introduced by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) in January 2018, is a financial bar that any Canadian looking to take out a mortgage must pass.

The idea is to protect borrowers from taking on more debt than they can handle and ensure they have some financial leeway if rates rise.

“It has many unintended consequences,” Scheer said while unveiling a housing plan during a campaign stop in Vaughn, Ont. Monday. 

Scheer said a Conservative government also would allow people to take out 30-year mortgages, up from the current 25-year limit.

The Conservative Party is also promising to launch an inquiry into money laundering in the real estate sector and make surplus federal real estate available for development.

The Liberals revealed their housing plan on the first full day of the campaign, pledging to expand the First Time Home Buyer Incentive program introduced with this year’s budget.

The program is available to first-time homebuyers who earn less than $120,000 a year, but under the expanded program those with incomes up to $150,000 would qualify.

In February, the Liberals announced plans to turn surplus federal properties into new affordable housing.