TREB renews call to review mortgage stress tests

By Geraldine Grones

A flattened housing market in the Greater Toronto Area has caused the region’s real estate board renew its call for revisions to tougher mortgage stress tests.

"The stress test provisions and mortgage lending guidelines generally, including allowable amortization periods for insured mortgages, should be reviewed," Garry Bhaura, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), said on Wednesday.

TREB said that the stress tests continue to limit the ability of some buyers to qualify for a mortgage.

The call for changes to the policy came as March showed flat home sales of 7,187, down by one home from the same month last year. The average selling price for last month was up by 0.5%, or $3,821, from the previous year to $788,335.

Meanwhile, new listings last month were down by 5.1% year-over-year to 13,996, according to a report by The Canadian Press.

"Despite sales being markedly lower than the record levels of 2016 and early 2017, the supply of listings has also receded," said Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis and service channels. "This means that in many neighbourhoods throughout the GTA, we continue to see competition between buyers for available listings, which provides a level of support for home prices."

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