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Residential real estate: Opposition wants stress test shelved

Alberta's Conservative Opposition Leader Jason Kenney wants Alberta residents to be able to opt out of the federal government's mortgage stress test. Kenney took Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley to task for not being more outspoken against the test, which makes it difficult for many Alberta residents to buy residential real estate. The stress test means that potential homebuyers must qualify for mortgages at interest rates offered by the Bank of Canada even if they are able to secure a lower interest loan.

Since the economy in Alberta has been lagging for quite some time, and critics of the stress test say that it makes matters worse in that such a test has the potential for hindering home sales and further depressing the market. Notley said the stress test is something the government could explore, but there are positives about the test as well. She said the test might prohibit Albertans from creating more debt for themselves -- debt they can't afford. 

Alberta is primed for a provincial election in the spring and Kenney said if the Tories are elected he would work toward reducing regulations that fuel the provincial economy, including those centred around housing. He said he would create a ministry to work on those promises. Meanwhile, Notley said that although Albertans generally carry more debt than the rest of Canadians, they also earn more, for the most part. 

An Alberta lawyer is able to explain the changes in laws that may affect residential real estate transactions. It is best when both buyers and sellers understand the law to some degree before venturing into the real estate realm. It may mean the difference between inking a positive deal or one that may cause problems in the long run.

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