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Canada's working group to address overheated Ontario, BC housing markets

Staff writer |
The federal government is creating a working group on housing with the Ontario and British Columbia governments as well as officials from Vancouver and Toronto amid warnings that housing prices in those cities are rising at an unsustainable pace.

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Overall, the housing market is “sound,” but pockets of risk have emerged since the financial crisis, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said in a speech.

The government has already taken steps to protect borrowers and lenders, Morneau said, but more steps can be taken, if warranted, to help maintain a stable housing market.

“These measures are taking some time to take effect, but we do know that they will help,” he said. “I want to say though, if further steps are warranted, further steps can be taken to protect both borrowers and lenders, helping to maintain a strong, stable and secure housing market and the economy over the long term.”

Morneau recently increased the minimum down payment for homes over $500,000, a measure aimed specifically at cooling the Vancouver and Toronto markets.

The working group has not yet been formed — Morneau said he spoke to the respective finance ministers and mayors about it earlier this week — but it will meet through the summer to review factors that affect housing supply and demand, affordability and stability of the market.

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