he Federal Government announced the minimum qualifying rate for insured mortgages will be determined by actual market rates versus bank posted rates, starting April 6. The current qualifying “stress test” rate became excessive when bank posted rates failed to fall in proportion to actual market rates. The new approach will make it easier to obtain a mortgage under current conditions.

The new mortgage qualifying Benchmark Rate will be set by the weekly median of 5-year fixed contract rates in applications received by mortgage insurers, plus 2%. The buffer provides capacity for borrowers to afford their homes even if interest rates rise, incomes change, or families face unforeseen expenses.