CMHC is committed to working with mortgage industry professionals to help homebuyers meet their housing needs. We provide a full range of mortgage loan insurance products for homeowner and small rental loans.

Benefits of CMHC’s mortgage loan insurance:

  • Access to homeownership with a minimum down payment of 5%
  • Access to competitive interest rates
  • Flexible terms and conditions to meet a variety of financing needs
  • Products, training, solutions and service available everywhere in Canada

Download our Quick Reference Guide to Mortgage Loan Insurance (PDF).


CMHC Purchase can help open the doors to homeownership by enabling homebuyers to buy a home with a minimum down payment of 5% from flexible sources, such as savings, the sale of a property or a gift from a relative.


CMHC Improvement allows the purchase of an existing residential property with improvements and new construction financing. Features include flexible financing options with the option for CMHC to manage up to 4 advances at no cost to the borrower.


CMHC Newcomers is available to borrowers with permanent and non-permanent residence status, helping them realize their dream of homeownership in Canada.



CMHC Green Home offers a partial premium refund of up to 25% directly to borrowers who either buy, build or renovate for energy efficiency using CMHC-insured financing.


CMHC’s Portability feature saves money for repeat users of mortgage loan insurance by reducing or eliminating the premium payable on the new insured loan for the purchase of a subsequent home.


CMHC Income Property provides investors with more housing finance choice when purchasing a rental property.


Loan-to-value (LTV) ratios

For homeowner loans (owner-occupied properties), the loan-to-value ratio for 1–2 units is up to 95% LTV. For 3–4 units, the ratio is up to 90% LTV.

For small rental loans (non-owner occupied), the ratio is up to 80% LTV.

Minimum equity requirements

For homeowner loans, the minimum equity requirement for 1–2 units is 5% of the first $500,000 of lending value and 10% of the remainder of the lending value. For 3–4 units, the minimum equity requirement is 10%.

For small rental loans, the minimum equity requirement is 20%.

Purchase price / lending value, amortization and location

For both homeowner and small rental loans, the maximum purchase price / lending value or as-improved property value must be below $1,000,000.

The maximum amortization period is 25 years.

The property must be located in Canada and must be suitable and available for full-time, year-round occupancy. The property must also have year-round access (via a vehicular bridge or ferry if it is on an island).

Traditional and non-traditional down payments

A traditional down payment comes from sources such as savings, the sale of a property, or a non-repayable financial gift from a relative.

A non-traditional down payment must be arm’s length and not tied to the purchase and sale of the property, either directly or indirectly, such as unsecured personal loans or unsecured lines of credit. Non-traditional down payments are available for 1–2 units, with 90.01% to 95% LTV, with a recommended minimum credit score of 650.


At least one borrower (or guarantor) must have a minimum credit score of 600. In certain circumstances, a higher recommended minimum credit score may be required. CMHC may consider alternative methods of establishing creditworthiness for borrowers without a credit history.

Debt service guidelines

The standard threshold is a gross debt service (GDS) ratio of 35% and a total debt service (TDS) ratio of 42%. The maximum threshold is a GDS ratio of 39% and a TDS ratio of 44% (recommended minimum credit score of 680). CMHC considers the strength of the overall mortgage loan insurance application, including the recommended minimum credit scores.

Interest rates

The GDS and TDS ratios must be calculated using an interest rate that is either the contract interest rate or the Bank of Canada’s 5-year conventional mortgage interest rate, whichever is greater.

Advancing options

Single advances include improvement costs less than or equal to 10% of the as-improved value.

Progress advances include new construction financing or improvement costs greater than 10% of the as-improved value. With Full Service, CMHC validates up to 4 consecutive advances at no cost. For Basic Service, the Lender validates advances without pre-approval from CMHC.

Non-permanent residents (homeowner loans only)

Non-permanent residents must be legally authorized to work in Canada (with a work permit). Mortgage loan insurance is only available for non-permanent residents for homeowner loans for 1 unit, up to 90% LTV, with a down payment from traditional sources.

Non-permanent residents are not eligible for alternative methods of establishing creditworthiness. In cases where a credit report is not available, a letter of reference from the borrower’s financial institution in their country of origin may be considered.



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Date Published: September 11, 2018