FCM to Harper: housing market is putting economy at risk

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In a letter sent to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities applauds the government’s efforts to cool down the housing market, but warns that housing costs may put the national economy at risk if further steps aren’t taken.

“Your government has rightly taken many steps to manage risks in the housing market. However, one in four Canadians is paying more than they can afford for housing, and mortgage debt held by Canadians now stands at just over $1.1 trillion,” the letter states. “Housing costs and, as the Bank of Canada notes, household debt are undermining Canadians personal financial security, while putting our national economy at risk.”

The letter was sent on behalf of municipalities across Canada that worry the high cost of housing is getting out of control.

“I would like to share with you the perspective of FCM’s 2,000 member municipalities, home to 90 per cent of Canadians,” the letter says. “We believe it is time for us to focus on the high-cost of housing in Canada, the most urgent financial issue facing Canadians.”

With housing prices sky-rocketing, the municipalities being represented believe renters will eventually be priced out of the market as well.

“Canadians need a stable and secure housing market that creates and maintains jobs and allows for a range of living options. Cities and communities need better housing options to attract new workers, meet the needs of young families and to support seniors and our most vulnerable citizens,” continues the letter. “As it stands, for those who cannot afford to purchase a home, the short supply of rental units is driving up rental costs and making it hard to house workers in regions experiencing strong economic activity. And an inadequate supply of subsidized housing for those in need is pushing some of the most vulnerable Canadians on to the street.”

  • Kent Farnsworth on 2013-10-08 2:40:29 PM

    It's bizarre that I have never even heard of this "federation", but if they have 2000 members than I suppose they deserve some merit. I do wish the government would get a little more creative in ways to help decrease property values that do not include making it even more difficult for first time home buyers to get approved for financing. From where I sit, the answer is directly in front of me. Concentrate on improving the economy. Interest rates will increase and property values will drop accordingly. In my opinion the government has been looking at this "property value crisis" ass backwards (normal for this government with everything). Slowing down the economy by making it near impossible to purchase a home isn't going to lower home prices nearly as quickly as a healthy economy with normal lending rates. New housing starts dropped 70% in my city last year because the economy is so bad, and builders have had a difficult time dealing with all the finance changes made in the past 5 years straight. Anyway, maybe I'm way off, but that's how I see it.

  • Alan on 2013-10-08 4:58:24 PM

    How is it that these mortgages at interest rates of 2-5% out there are of such grave concern...but the credit card debt at 19% doesn't warrant any attention...JUST ASKING

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