Business Owners Mortgage Options

More and more Canadians are working for themselves which is a growing sector of the Canadian economy. For mortgage financing, business owners mortgage options have been limited as the government has introduced 4 rounds of changes over the last few years. In this post, I will discuss the prime (triple A) lending options and in a future post will discuss the alternative lending options which are more costly.

Business Owners Mortgage Options

Before we get into the bread and butter of mortgage options, I want to elaborate on who is considered a business owner by the lenders and insurers:

  • Sole Proprietor
  • Partnership
  • Corporation

Commissioned salespeople such as mortgage brokers and real estate agents are not considered business owners unless they are incorporated.

The insurers (CMHC, Genworth and Canada Guaranty) look at business owners depending on length of owning a business:

  • Less than 2 years: None will finance a mortgage (note there are the odd exceptions depending on applicant's scenario). This type of applicant is best served by alternative lenders.
  • 2-3 years: All 3 insurers will consider providing a mortgage up to 90% loan to value for a purchase (all refinances regardless of employment status have been reduced to 80% loan to value in Canada)
  • More than 3 years: Genworth and Canada Guaranty will consider providing a mortgage up to 90% loan to value

A business owner can obtain 90% loan to value mortgage using a "reasonable" stated income as per the above pending credit score and history.  The insurance premium for a stated income applicant can be as high as 4.95% of the mortgage amount.

Business Owners Mortgage Downpayment

There are cases where the business owner has access to a large downpayment and wants to avoid the mortgage insurance premium which can be costly.  If the business owner can:

  • Put 35% downpayment
  • Provide proof of operating business for 2 years or more (article of incorporation)
  • Provide proof of not owing taxes to Revenue Canada (notice of assessment)

The borrower can obtain a mortgage up to 65% loan to value using a stated income without paying an insurance premium. The stated income option is not available when the borrower is buying an investment property, the actual income income per Notice of Assessment is used which complicates the mortgage approval process.

Overwhelming? Here is a flowchart summarizing the above options:

Business Owners / Self Employed Mortgage Options - Nawar Naji Toronto Mortgage Broker

Confused? No problem, this is what I do for a living; finding the right mortgage option for my clients. If you are buying a home, an investment property or renewing your mortgage, please contact me.

 4 questions your bank doesn't want you to ask

Bad News If You Are A Real Estate Investor Or Self Employed

OSFI, Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, which regulates the banking system in Canada is proposing to limit the home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) to 65% of home value from the current 80%.  This is a significant change for the following reasons:

  • Real estate investors access their home equity to finance investment properties (downpayment for buying an investment property, renovating an investment property until the property is refinanced and emergency funds if required)
  • Self employed Canadians access their home equity to fund business capital requirements, cash flow requirements, as well as safety net if urgent matters arise

Canadians have taken on significant amounts of debt over the last few years (debt to income ratio is at all time highs around 1.5:1 ratio), however the mortgage delinquency rate in Canada is less than 1%.  The new HELOC change will have a significant impact not only on self employed Canadians and real estate investors but also other Canadians who use their HELOCs to invest into the stock market to create a tax deductible loan and be tax efficient.

In my opinion, OSFI is overreacting by reducing HELOCs to 65%.  75% of home values would be a reasonable change. Afterall, Canada is known for moderate changes.  Time will tell if this move is a good one for the economy and protects the housing market from a real estate bubble.

To discuss how these changes will impact your mortgage financing needs and options to address your capital requirements, please contact me.