Finance Minister Joe Oliver makes first mortgage-related comments

Finance Minister Joe Oliver makes first mortgage-related comments

Finance Minister Joe Oliver makes first mortgage-related comments It didn’t take long for Finance Minister Joe Oliver to weigh in on the mortgage industry, stating he will be keeping a watchful eye on the market.

"Our government has taken action in the past to reduce consumer indebtedness and the government's exposure to the housing market," Oliver told CTV News on Thursday. "I will continue to monitor the market closely."

In early March, Oliver took over for Jim Flaherty, whose zealous mortgage rule changes greatly impacted the industry, much to the chagrin of many mortgage brokers.

Oliver stated a major priority during his reign will be to “protect” Canadian tax payers.

"We've been over the long-term reducing the Canadian involvement in the mortgage market to protect the indebtedness of Canadian consumers and Canadian taxpayers and we will continue in that regard," told the media Thursday.

His comments follow the Bank of Montreal slashing its five year fixed-rate to 2.99 per cent; a move similar to the one in 2012 that was widely considered a catalyst for Flaherty’s tightened mortgage rules.

“This rate change is driven solely by the fact that bond yields have fallen and we are in what has traditionally been the busiest season for buying a home,” Paul Deegan, BMO vice-president government and public relations said in an emailed statement to the Toronto Star.

Oliver has not intimated what – if any – actions he would be willing to take if he believed the mortgage industry was once again deemed too hot.
  • Erica 2014-03-31 12:01:00 PM
    If the government wants to "protect the indebtedness of Canadian consumers and Canadian taxpayers", why aren't they limiting the accessibility to credit cards from all these banks. Canadians would qualify for mortgages that increase net worth, build equity and secure retirement much better than 4 credit cards and LOC would and yet that seems to be much more accessible to Canadians than mortgages.
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  • suresh Pawaroo 2014-03-31 1:29:26 PM
    I totally agree with Erica. Credit card debt and unsecured LOCs are a bigger problem. Mortgages and the housing market are obviously interest rate driven. So the finance minister attempting to tell lenders how much interest they should be charging is a merely a band aid solution. As long as banks are underwriting deals in a prudent and careful manner, then we should be in for a soft landing when rates spike up.
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  • Sanjay 2014-03-31 1:29:30 PM
    Government focus should be on those high interest credit cards debts never ending payments. Tightening mortgage rules will deprive people further from getting their own home.
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