Mortgage lenders tightening in major market

Investors in Alberta may face increased scrutiny when applying for mortgages, as at least one major lender there has announced plans to tighten standards due to the impact the faltering oil industry is expected to have on the housing market.
 
“The warning signs are out,” Gerald Soloway, chief executive officer of Home Capital said, according to the Financial Post. “It’s only prudent for everybody who participates in that market to heighten their alertness.”
 
Home Capital released its yearly financial report last week, and in it stated its exposure in energy-producing regions, including Alberta, is “very limited”.
 
“The Company’s exposure to energy producing regions remains very limited with 3.8 per cent or $440.7 million of outstanding uninsured single-family mortgage loans in those regions (regions included are Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador),” the report stated.

“The average [loan-to-value] for uninsured single family mortgage loans in these regions is 64.8 per cent.”
 
Still, Alberta has seen slugglish sales this year, with January’s numbers slipping 28.2 per cent year-over-year.
 
According to the Globe and Mail, Genworth will also take a closer look at mortgages originated in Alberta in anticipation of losses incurred as a result of the faltering oil industry.

The insurer is also raising the target for its loss ratio, upping it to 20-30 per cent from the previous target of 15-25 per cent, in anticipation of possible losses.
 
“Clearly, the current environment, specifically the low oil prices, will put some pressure on losses and potentially the size of the housing market in Alberta,” Stuart Levings, president and CEO of Genworth Canada told analysts during a conference call last weeks.

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