New down payment requirements could impact prospective Fort St. John buyers

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — It’s billed as a move to cool off the booming real estate markets in the Countries biggest cities, but it is also expected to have an impact in Fort St. John.

The new Trudeau government is increasing the amount home buyers must put up front as a down payment on houses over $500,000.

Roland Cataford of Century 21 is a Director with the BC Northern Real Estate Board, and he talked to us about the local market impact of the government initiative.

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According to the government, this will impact one percent or less of the market, but locally, according to 2015 statistics, the percentage of homes over $500,000 sold in Fort St. John is much higher than that.

In the last twelve months, the number of residential detached houses sold in this city under $500,000 dollars was 253, while the number over $500,000 was 72 — or 22 per cent of the sales total of 325.

The stiffer down payment requirement is one of three new measures targeting housing market stability.

Financial institutions will face new capital requirements to keep pace with the growing risk of the real estate markets they bankroll, and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will change the fees it charges issuers of mortgage-backed securities.

The government sees its role in housing as setting and maintaining a framework that is equitable, stable and vulnerable, and addressing Bank of Canada concerns that too many Canadians risk becoming over-extended, especially if and when, interest rates begin to rise.

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