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  • Writer's pictureJames Mckeown

Understanding the Mortgage Stress Test Rules in Nova Scotia: A Guide for Home Buyers

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Author: James Mckeown

Date: Thursday, December 14, 2023

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In the dynamic real estate market of Nova Scotia, keeping up-to-date with mortgage regulations is essential for prospective homeowners. A critical aspect that often concerns buyers is the mortgage stress test. This blog aims to demystify the stress test rules and explore their implications for buyers in Nova Scotia.

What is the Mortgage Stress Test In Nova Scotia?

The mortgage stress test is a financial check that ensures homebuyers can still afford their mortgage if interest rates rise. It calculates whether you can maintain your mortgage payments at a rate higher than the actual mortgage rate offered by lenders.

The Current Rules

The rules, updated as of June 2021, state that the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages is either the mortgage contract rate plus 2% or 5.25%, whichever is higher. This update represents an increase from the previous rate and implies that buyers in Nova Scotia must be prepared to handle potentially higher payments.

Impact on Buyers in Nova Scotia

  1. Lower Price Range: First-time buyers aiming for more affordable homes might find their borrowing capacity reduced under the new rules. This change may necessitate looking at different housing options or saving a larger down payment.

  2. Mid-Price Range: Buyers looking at mid-range properties might experience a decrease in their purchasing power. However, they often have more wiggle room in terms of down payment size and financial adjustments.

  3. High-Price Range: Although buyers in this category typically have higher incomes and bigger down payments, the new stress test rate still limits the amount they can borrow, potentially affecting their budget plans.

Strategies for Adapting to the Stress Test in Nova Scotia

  1. Increase Down Payment: A larger down payment can mitigate the impact of the reduced borrowing limit.

  2. Reassess Budget: Consider exploring homes in a slightly lower price range.

  3. Consult Different Lenders: Some lenders might offer more favorable conditions under the stress test rules.

  4. Improve Financial Health: A better credit score and reduced debts can lead to more favorable mortgage terms.

  5. Seek Expert Advice: A mortgage broker can provide personalized advice and find solutions suited to your financial situation.


Navigating the mortgage stress test in Nova Scotia can be challenging, but with careful planning and the right advice, it is manageable. As a knowledgeable mortgage broker in Nova Scotia, I am here to help you understand these changes and guide you through your home buying journey.

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Need Expert Mortgage Advice?

As an experienced mortgage broker, I am dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of Canadian mortgages. Reach out for personalized advice and find the ideal mortgage solution for your needs.


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Author: James McKeown

Brokerage License Nova Scotia #3000075

Associate Mortgage Broker Licences #3000090

Brokerage License Ontario #10371

Mortgage Agent Level 2 License #M21004914


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