A new report from Fitch gives Canada a stable/negative rating as low arrears clash with rising house prices which are at risk of declining. It’s forecast for 2018 is for prices to rise 5% (around half of 2017’s increase) and for
mortgage arrears to remain at the 0.3% level of 2017.
However, it warns that Vancouver and Toronto’s price rises make them increasingly vulnerable to a correction.
The report highlights the relative affordability of household debt in recent years due to low interest rates, but notes that this led to tighter mortgage lending rules from OSFI and CMHC.
Fitch is calling for a rise in interest rates of 50 basis points for each of 2018 and 2019 and for mortgage credit growth to be 3% per year.
Despite the rising home prices and highly-leveraged households, Fitch says that the financial infrastructure in Canada is well protected due to mortgage insurance from CMHC.
It sees further lending restrictions to cool demand in overheating markets and also expects foreign ownership rules to have an impact in 2018.
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Canada remains one of the bright stars in the global real estate market despite a slowdown in 2018.