The federal government is changing the rules on residential real estate down payments but giving consumers a two months heads up — and that should mean a stampede to beat the deadline.

“I think you will see some extreme activity in some markets,” said Doug Porter, chief economist with Bank of Montreal, referring to the red hot Toronto and Vancouver markets. The new rules take effect Feb. 15, 2016.

Ottawa is upping the minimum down payment for government-backed loans from five per cent to 10 per cent on the portion of a home selling for more than $500,000, a sale price that is fairly common in Toronto and Vancouver where the average transaction easily exceeds that amount.

The mad dash scenario almost always plays itself out when mortgage rates rise as consumers who have locked in their rates rush to take advantage of the lower rate they have guaranteed. Porter said the effect of down payment changes may be even more pronounced, when you factor in current rates and the unseasonably warm weather.


SOURCE: Financial Post