Canada’s National Housing Agency Finds Uptick In Mortgages In Arrears At Lenders

Canadian real estate owners are still falling into arrears at a higher rate. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) data shows an uptick in arrears during Q2 2020. The agency notes the trend wasn’t just in one type of lender either. It was right across all segments of lenders.

Mortgage Delinquencies and Arrears Rates

In Canada, a mortgage is delinquent at any point it’s past the due date. A lot of mortgages become delinquent, but most payment issues are resolved soon after. After 30 days, home lenders try to contact the borrower and resolve the payment term. No one loses a home over being just 30 days delinquent. It’s when a mortgage is over 90 days delinquent, that it is considered in arrears. That implies the borrower hasn’t paid in 3 months, and ignored the lender’s attempts to contact them. At this point, the lenders can proceed with the foreclosure process. Today we’re looking at the rate of mortgages over 90 days delinquent, aka in arrears. 

There’s a few segments of mortgage lenders the CMHC looked at – chartered banks, credit unions, MFCs, and MIEs. Chartered banks are the majority of the mortgage market, and includes the big bank you have an account at. Credit Unions are member owned financial institutions that tend to be very-risk focused. Mortgage Finance Companies (MFCs) are a non-traditional player in the mortgage market. They underwrite and service broker-originated mortgages, sometimes using banks to fund operating capital. Mortgage investment entities (MIEs) are financing entities that pool investor capital to lend as a mortgage. This can include non-bank lenders and private lenders. The last two tend to deal with a more high risk clientele. Higher risk clients mean a higher arrears rate when compared to other segments. That’s why watching the growth across all segments is more important than the actual rate.

All Types of Mortgage Lenders Are Seeing The Arrears Rate Rise 

The agency found all types of Canadian mortgage lenders have seen their arrears rate rise in the latest numbers. Chartered banks saw the arrears rate hit 0.26% in Q2 2020, and increase of 8.34% from the previous quarter. Credit unions reached an arrears rate of 0.18%, up 12% from the previous quarter. MFCs reached an arrears rate of 0.23%, up 9.52% over the same period. MIEs had the highest arrears rate at 1.85% in Q2, up 6.93% from the previous quarter. All segments saw growth, even if they dealt with lower risk borrowers.

Canadian Mortgages In Arrears

The total number of Canadian mortgages in arrears.

Source: CMHC, Better Dwelling.

The trend of higher arrears rates in Canada began last year, and still continues. It’s very unexpected for the second quarter though. The pandemic saw lenders become very generous with repayment terms. An unprecedented number of government relief programs were also offered in the quarter.

As previously stated, the actual rate of arrears is hard to draw insights from as a cross comparison. One insight that can be taken away – arrears are rising across all lender types. A lower than usual arrears rate was expected, considering the system was mostly halted.

Like this post? Like us on Facebook for the next one in your feed.



We encourage you to have a civil discussion. Note that reads "civil," which means don't act like jerks to each other. Still unclear? No name-calling, racism, or hate speech. Seriously, you're adults – act like it.

Any comments that violates these simple rules, will be removed promptly – along with your full comment history. Oh yeah, you'll also lose further commenting privileges. So if your comments disappear, it's not because the illuminati is screening you because they hate the truth, it's because you violated our simple rules.

  • LT 4 years ago

    When a dam is about to burst, it doesn’t matter how many pieces of duct tape you slap on it.

    • Gabriele Di Bernardo 4 years ago

      Great analogy. Once you see the water already seeping through it’s too late. All that can be done is to warn the people below and hopefully get them to move in time.

    • Sam 4 years ago

      If you’re referring to the quantitative easing and purchasing of MBS by the BOC and sales of CMB’s….you’re right. Sometimes it’s better to let the levee break on it’s own rather than try to underpin and fortify…..lest you lose all your scaffolding as well. I hate to think of the kind of debt our Government is putting our grandchildren into…

  • Trader Jim 4 years ago

    Rising delinquencies are big in commercial real estate too.

    “he believes the industry could be entering a depression”

    • Neo 4 years ago

      Perhaps the crash we’ve all expected will be in commercial and not residential first.

      The government seems less interested in propping that market up.

      There would still be spill over effects though.

  • V 4 years ago

    People need to stop over paying for houses and be patient. I believe spring 2021 there should be more inventory. And please stop using 5% commission brokerages for real estate transactions. Their ripping everyone off.

  • Kolf 4 years ago

    Two points

    1. Charted banks actually have the most arrears. What will happens to MBS?

    2. This is 2020Q2, this should be high in 2021Q1.

    Government needs to punish speculators.

Comments are closed.