CMHC lowers risk rating for Calgary housing market

While strong evidence of problematic conditions continues to exist in the national housing market, Calgary’s risk rating has been downgraded by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

The federal agency, in a report Thursday, lowered its risk rating to moderate from strong, saying evidence of overvaluation has lessened.

CMHC said the most prevalent issues it has observed in the 15 markets monitored by the assessment are overbuilding and overvaluation, which occurs when house prices outpace economic fundamentals such as income and population growth.

Overbuilding is identified when the rental market vacancy rate or the number of newly built homes sitting on the market unsold become elevated.

CMHC first raised its overall risk rating for the national housing market to strong from moderate last October, citing growing evidence of overvaluation.

In total, CMHC says it has found strong evidence of problematic conditions in six of the 15 markets included in the report — Vancouver, Victoria, Saskatoon, Regina, Toronto and Hamilton.

Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal and Quebec City show moderate evidence of such conditions, the agency said.

CMHC’s housing market assessment is intended to be an early warning system to alert Canadians about problematic conditions developing in the country’s real estate markets.

The report covers the third quarter of 2016, which spans July 1 to Sept. 30.

Since then, the federal government introduced new rules that require all insured mortgages to undergo a stress test to determine whether borrowers will still be able to make mortgage payments if interest rates rise or their income declines.

Previously, such stress tests weren’t required for fixed-rate mortgages longer than five years.

-Calgary Herald