When we are talking about mortgages, most of us assume it is about families and having a stable income that can pay off the mortgage after a certain time. What is rarely talked about is mortgages and entrepreneurs and their plans; as we know being self-employed means your salary can vary monthly, versus being an employee at a company with stable pay.
Back in July of this year, the CMHC announced the implementation of new mortgage lending rules designed to help the self-employed secure mortgages and maintain their position in Canada’s housing market. This will all take effect on the 1st of October this calendar year!
Self-employed Canadians have faced many obstacles when trying to obtain loans, primarily due to their variability of incomes. Since those that are self-employed are not on a payroll, lenders required a more rigorous proof of income, including but not limited to requiring at least two years of proof of income, audited financial statements, a good credit history, regular and stable patterns of income, and a large deposit for the home they are seeking to purchase. Sounds complicated, right?
One of the most difficult barriers to overcome in securing a mortgage is the very reasonable inclination of a small business owner (and their accountant) to do everything legally possible to reduce taxable income to reduce the amount of tax paid by the self-employed. In the case of obtaining a mortgage, the self-employed ideally needs to demonstrate the largest possible income to help to secure a loan. The two purposes are conflicting, with no clear solution.
To address the inequities and difficulties faced by the self-employed, the CMHC has proposed the introduction of several new, more flexible factors that can be used by lenders to assess the mortgage application of a self-employed person. Lending institutions will now be able to include factors such as enough cash reserves, the acquisition of an established business, and their training, education, and previous employment experience, including for businesses that have been operating for less than two years.
With these new changes, these will greatly assist not only self-employed Canadians, who according to the CMHC represent 15 percent of the workforce, also young entrepreneurs seeking to enter the housing market for the first time.