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Big mortgage drop forecast

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce anticipates it will issue half as many new mortgages in the latter part of the year as it did in the same period of 2017 amid cooling in the real estate market.

The bank has noticed a slowdown in the housing market in the last few months, likely due to changes to mortgage underwriting guidelines, Christina Kramer, CIBC's group head of personal and small business banking for Canada, said Wednesday. Those changes include a new stress test for buyers who don't need mortgage insurance, which has made it harder for some would-be homebuyers to qualify.

"When we take a look at the second half, we continue to see that there will be origination decline, probably in around 50 per cent range relative to the same period last year," Kramer told analysts on a call discussing CIBC's results for its second quarter, ended April 30.

CIBC, the first of Canada's Big Six banks to report second-quarter results, announced a double-digit profit bump Wednesday, handily beating market expectations despite slowing growth in mortgage lending.

Concern has been mounting over the impact of a cooling real estate market on mortgage loans at Canada's biggest banks, as national housing sales activity reach lows not seen in several years.

In April, home sales dropped to a seven-year low for the month that typically kicks off the busy spring real estate season. The Canadian Real Estate Association largely blamed a new stress test for uninsured mortgages that came info effect on Jan. 1. The new stress test requires would-be homebuyers with more than a 20 per cent down payment to prove they can service their mortgage if interest rates rise.

CIBC's said its quarterly profit attributable to common shareholders was $1.29 billion, up from $1.04 billion a year ago on strong results both at home and south of the border after some U.S. acquisitions last year.

On an adjusted basis, it earned $1.32 billion, or $2.95 per diluted share for the quarter, up from $1.06 billion, or $2.64 a year earlier. Analysts had expected a profit of $2.81 per share, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

CIBC's spot mortgage balance for the second quarter was $203 billion, up 6.8 per cent from a year ago, but flat compared with the first quarter. By comparison, in the second quarter of 2017, CIBC's spot mortgage balance was up 12.4 per cent from the previous year and up 2.2 per cent from the previous quarter.

In the latest quarter, the bank booked $7 billion in uninsured residential mortgage originations, down from $11 billion a year ago.



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