RBC does away with mortgage limits for foreigners

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The Royal Bank of Canada will no longer limit mortgage size for immigrant buyers in Vancouver.

"We're seeing a lot of affluent newcomers looking to buy high-purchase price homes," Christine Shisler, RBC’s director of multicultural markets, told Reuters. "Now we can actually service any mortgage amount."

Shisler said the bank removed its internal $1.25 million mortgage limit for buyers who have no Canadian credit history in May.

According to Reuters, a case study was released Monday that found two-third of buyers in neighbourhoods around the University of British Columbia had names typical of those from mainland China. 88% of those also had a mortgage.

And the big banks are the ones serving that market.

The mortgages in that study ranged from $1.25 million to over $9 million. They were predominantly backed by HSBC, CIBC, and BMO. For its part, RBC originated 8% of those loans.

The fact that the majority of those properties have mortgages goes against the conventional wisdom that wealthy foreigners are purchasing homes outright.

"It counters a lot of our mythologies, in terms of this idea of people showing up with very large bags of money and paying cash," Andy Yan, an urban planner and professor at UBC, told Reuters.

And it’s an interesting bit of information on a market segment that has long been debated by industry professionals.

It is unclear just how much foreign money has influenced the housing market in Canada – especially in Vancouver and Toronto.

And while the industry lacks sufficient information, CMHC recently said it is examining ways to better track foreign influence.

“Currently there is no perfect source of information on the level of foreign investment in the housing market,” chief economist Bob Dugan The Canadian Press in late September. “CMHC has undertaken steps to address this data gap.

“As a result, we know a lot more about it today than we did a year ago and are continuing our program of work to determine the level of foreign investment in Canadian residential real estate.”   
  • Kevin R on 2015-11-02 11:21:42 AM

    Friggin typical! Not that I am upset they are doing this but when I look at the hammer Canadians are taking & all the efforts to tighten Canadians ability to get a mortgage, lets turn around & make it easier for foreigners. Yup. typical.

  • Steve on 2015-11-02 11:44:33 AM

    The bank will still cap the loan at 65% ltv. They are just realizing that the risk of default is slim and the collaterol is good at 65%. I dont see 80% ltv mortgages to foreigners coming anytime soon

  • Ad Lakhanpal,Mortgage Broker on 2015-11-02 12:52:02 PM

    Ref. Comment by Kevin R.
    Instead of an emotional outburst, it would be helpful if Kevin can quote any case where a Canadian was declined a mortgage and a foreigner was accepted, when both of them had comparable amounts of down payment and other qualification criteria. I hope we are equal opportunity brokers instead of being politicians or crusaders.

  • John Martin on 2015-11-02 1:35:52 PM

    The best remark made above was. It's unclear how much foreign money has influenced the housing market in Canada. Who comes up with all this rubbish time in and time out. Further more it's not really foreign money. Large majority of it comes from here in the first place. The Americans also are printing eighty billion a month plus which ends up primarily through one way or another over there also. Got to love it. It's only a matter of time before they own every thing of any value here. If we only knew the slightest bit of everything that's going on behind the scenes. One would be truly amazed not to mention sickened. Go with the flow as the great saying says. If you can't beat them, join them. Guess RBC finally figured that one out. Lol!

  • Carsten on 2015-11-02 3:26:54 PM

    Try to get financing in the USA as a foreinger

  • Derek austin on 2015-11-02 7:57:27 PM

    Crazy , why do they allow to get a mortgage , this will allow the market to skyrocket even more . China reduced the amount foreigners we're able to mortgage when the markets we're getting over valuated for the Chinese citizen . Our greed just over rides common cents .

  • $oney on 2015-11-03 3:54:13 PM

    "Immigrants" or foreign nationals who are speculating on a hot housing market?

  • Darr Robbins on 2015-11-09 8:37:45 AM

    That's outrageous. If the market turns sour, Canadians will be left holding the empty bag while foreigners will bugger-off.

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