By: Adrian Gennuso

Oliver responds to calls for more housing regulation

Tags: Interest rates, mortgages, housing, rates, cooling mortgage rates, cmhc

by Justin da Rosa | 13 Jun 2014

Joe Oliver responded to the critics calling for more active participation from the minister in reining in housing industry and cooling mortgage rates.

“I don’t think it’s the role of government to set interest rates or rates for mortgages,” Oliver said on Business News Network Wednesday. “The rates are quite low and they’ve been coming down but a very small amount.”

Oliver expounded on his position by noting that CMHC has forecasted a soft landing and that the government will continue to monitor the market while also reducing the level of influence it will have going forward.

“We don’t believe that there’s a major problem at this point,” Oliver said.

When asked by BNN reporter, Chitra Nawbatt, whether the Canadian government has engaged in back-room talks with private lenders about not dropping rates further Oliver said “we are not intervening in the market directly or indirectly.”

 Oliver’s response was indirectly aimed at one industry player who recently called for the finance minister to take a more active approach to reigning in the mortgage rate wars that have been taking place this spring.

“The old finance minister never would’ve allowed mortgage rates to go down,” Sadiq Adatia, chief investment officer at Sun Life Global Investments said in an interview at Bloomberg’s office in Toronto Tuesday, according to Business New Network. “He would’ve stepped up to do his part. The new one is more hands-off, and that’s actually a mistake.”

Oliver said that through CMHC the government is gradually tightening rules and reducing the government involvement, which he view as “prudent both for the market and to protect Canadian tax payers."

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