Ontarians struggling to make ends meet during the novel coronavirus pandemic have received some respite for their housing concerns.
Last week, Premier Doug Ford suspended all evictions and the federal government has announced residents may defer their mortgage payments for additional financial assistance.
In turn, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) announced it’s expanding the Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to $150 billion of insured mortgage pools to further support the Canadian economy during this unprecedented time.
The taxpayer-funded agency, which supports the vast majority of Canada’s housing market by insuring the loans that finance them, previously announced it was willing to take up to $50 billion worth of loans off of banks’ books. However, CMHC said Thursday its mortgage-buying program is being expanded to $150 billion. This move will ensure banks have more money for loans amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“This action will expand the stable funding available to banks and mortgage lenders in order to ensure continued lending to Canadian consumers and businesses,” the CMHC said in a statement.
According to the CMHC, this support to the financial sector builds on previous measures announced by the federal government to provide significant and effective action to support Canadian individuals and businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the economic impacts of the global COVID-19 outbreak.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues and more Canadians require mortgage payment relief from borrowers, Canada’s top banks continue to be flooded with requests. According to Bloomberg, 213,000 Canadians have requested mortgage deferrals as of Thursday.
Evan Siddall, president and CEO of CMHC, is now calling on mortgage holders to stop overloading the system to ensure that relief goes to those who need it most.
“Banks and mortgage lenders are struggling to keep up,” said Siddall. “And if you have a paycheque and can afford it, please pay your bills.”