Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Let Housing Measures Play out before Introducing New Policies, Bankers' Head Says

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Let Housing Measures Play out before Introducing New Policies, Bankers' Head Says

Article excerpt

Let housing measures play out, bankers' head says

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TORONTO - Policy-makers should take time to ensure there are no unintended consequences stemming from efforts to rein in Toronto's runaway housing prices before introducing further measures, the new CEO of the Canadian Bankers Association said Wednesday.

Neil Parmenter said he's encouraged that the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government are working together on housing policy. But he urged regulators and politicians to assess what effects recent rule changes are having before bringing in new policies.

"Sometimes it's healthy to have a bit of a pause and see what the impacts are and then adjust as necessary," Parmenter said in his first interview with a Canadian news organization since taking the helm of the association earlier this month.

The Ontario government announced a suite of regulations in April aimed at cooling the country's hottest housing market, including a 15 per cent tax on foreign speculators.

After reporting their latest quarterly results in recent days, several of the CEOs of Canada's biggest banks said they are seeing early signs of a slowdown in the Toronto real estate market.

"We want some time for these things to play out," Parmenter said. "Any time there's any change implemented there can be unintended consequences."

His comments came the same day the International Monetary Fund called on governments in Canada to do more to protect against the risks of a possible housing market correction. The IMF said tax-based measures should be considered to discourage speculative and investment activity.

The health of the country's real estate market has become a topic of much discussion lately due to rapidly soaring prices in Toronto and Vancouver and record levels of household debt.

The liquidity crisis at mortgage lender Home Capital Group, which saw customers withdrawing their savings en masse in recent weeks, exacerbated those concerns. …

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