MONTREAL/OTTAWA – Quebec Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau is urging the Harper government to tread carefully before clamping down more on the housing market, warning that any further tightening could seriously hurt Canada’s second-largest province.
“Quebec’s residential real estate market is currently in balance,” Mr. Marceau said in a written statement Monday following a speech to a business conference in Montreal.
OTTAWA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is not worried about a housing collapse, saying he is happy he has helped cool the market with the latest round of stricter mortgage rules.
The finance minister says he is also encouraged Canadians are paying down their mortgages and credit cards, and taking on less debt.
The housing slowdown was a big part of the disappointing economic downturn recorded in the third quarter, with the sector falling 3.5% annualized.
OTTAWA — In March of 2013, then Finance Minister Jim Flaherty did something few politicians would dare: scolding Canada’s banks for racing “to the bottom” on mortgage rates at a time when the housing market was already frothing.
“My expectation is that banks will engage in prudent lending — not the type of ‘race to the bottom’ practices that led to a mortgage crisis in the United States,” he said, and blamed the Bank of Montreal specifically.
The heady crowd gathered in Washington abruptly stopped their high-level meeting as stunned finance ministers from the G20 countries, including Canada’s Joe Oliver, learned that Jim Flaherty had died suddenly Thursday. After a brief moment of silence, discussions of economic policy were soon replaced with tributes for this country’s former finance minister. “They stopped the meeting to pay tribute to him,” a source close to the meeting told the Financial Post. “It was awesome for Canada, but more so for Jim.”
When did it become the job of the minister of finance to boost bank profits and stick it to the consumer?
How else do you describe a policy in which the minister of finance appears to tell the banks to cool it when it comes to battling on the mortgage front for customers.
If I’m buying a home today I say: Bring on the mortgage rate wars!
But Jim Flaherty’s comments seemed aimed at getting the banks to try and curb some of the heated competition that happened a year ago when the banks started battling for market share.
OTTAWA — The Canadian government has no plans for now to clamp down on the housing market even though prices are rising again, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Monday, but he pledged to investigate whether the price uptick looks to be more than temporary.
Flaherty said that it would be his department’s responsibility to act on housing prices since the Bank of Canada has “basically no room to move,” but added: “I have no intention of interfering in the market for the time being.”
Canada’s banking regulator is mulling a further tightening of mortgage rules.
A spokesman for the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions told industry newsletter Canadian Mortgage Trends that it’s considering new rules that would limit banks from issuing any mortgages at all with amortizations of more than 25 years.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Friday he regrets that Canada’s housing agency has grown as large as it has and promised to take additional measures if a reduction in the amount of government insurance on mortgages is needed.
The value of home loans insured by Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp., which is backed by the federal government, has almost doubled since the end of 2006, saddling taxpayers with a growing liability as policy makers warn that gains in house prices may be unsustainable.