CMHC’s request Realtors refrain from labelling properties as "in foreclosure" on MLS was, in fact, designed to protect the market from the kind of collapse the U.S. is still recovering from, suggest brokers supportive of the policy.
“If the CMHC disclosed all of their foreclosures to a client, they would get low-balled on all the offers,” says Bruce Flanagan, with Verico Premiere Mortgage Centre. “Why should they (the investors) take a loss on the property – and by extension, the taxpayers as well?”
CMHC, as the leading provider of mortgage loan insurance and mortgage-backed securities, effectively controls 75 per cent of the default insurance business. This year, its nationwide policy, or request, was challenged by some Quebec Realtors who feared they would be guilty of an ethical breach in keeping consumers in the dark as to whether properties were under power of sale.
Those concerns were brought to the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards, which in turn challenged the CMHC.
Ultimately, CMHC and the Quebec Federation resolved the conflict by no longer making the foreclosure disclosure mandatory, based on the seller’s instructions.
Still, many industry players, including brokers, argued the original CMHC policy provided the housing market more protection, especially if the economy hits a rough patch and defaults rise. Any appreciable rise in "foreclosure" listings on MLS might further cool sales and challenge buyer confidence, say proponents of the policy.