"Recently I had an informal talk with a friend who works at one of the big Canadian banks. I asked him if he noticed any changes in the mortgage business. He said it’s still going strong. Interestingly though he also mentioned that he noticed an interesting phenomenon... if the mortgage was $600k or higher (most of the time this resulted from clients rolling in other kind of debt into their mortgage payments) the principal appears to have remained at the same level for the last 2-3 years. He noted that these $600k+ clients appear to be paying the principal over the years but after a while they ask that some line of credit with $30k-60k on it be rolled in the mortgage which bumps the principal back to previous years’ values. I asked what would happen if the clients can’t pay… does the bank take the property into foreclosure? The way he answered caught me a little off guard. It felt like he never quiet thought the process through. He said that the bank will work quite hard to 'help' the client continue paying. He seemed to think that the foreclosure procedure was the solution of last resort."
I further suspect they will be stunned at the indifference of government to the financial hardships caused by a collapsing real estate market when CMHC offers no such support for massive underwater mortgage renewals.
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