CAAMP returns to Ottawa for talks

Jun 12, 2012|Source: Nestor Arellano

CAAMP leadership will be talking to bureaucrats and politicians in Ottawa early next week in yet another effort to raise the red flag on tighter mortgage and lending regimes.

"Our concern today is the number of growing first-time buyers who are now unable to get a mortgage"

"Our Chair, I and our chief economist will have a series of meetings in Ottawa on Wednesday with both public servants and politicians to discuss the findings of our most recent research," Jim Murphy, president and CEO of CAAMP told yesterday. "We will obviously discuss the government's recent changes along with the need to maintain a healthy housing and mortgage industry in Canada."

Last month, CAAMP released its Annual State of the Residential Mortgage Market in Canada report, which indicated that majority of Canadians have been handling their debts and paying down their mortgages "comfortably," but also raised concerns that the mortgage rule revamp implemented by the government in the summer has shut out many first time homebuyers from the market and caused a drop in housing market activity.

This is a sentiment shared by many brokers who argue that the mortgage rule changes were ill-timed since the hot housing market was already moving towards a price correction. Mortgage professionals also warned of a possible snowball effect wherein a reduction in activity at the entry level will create difficulty for those who wish to sell their homes and move up in the market, creating a slowdown in upper segments of the housing market as well.

"Our concern today is the number of growing first-time buyers who are now unable to get a mortgage," Murphy told earlier this year. "We worry that this is having a dampening effect on what was already a cooling market, we hope policymakers will give some thought to addressing the needs of this key sector."

By contrast, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has expressed little to no anxieties about a housing market slowdown, even as StatsCan reports a record downturn in the housing sector for the third quarter.

"Less demand, lower prices, modesty, in the housing market are much better for Canadians than a boom followed by a bust," Flaherty told reporters. "So I'm all for a soft landing." However, Murphy is expressing confidence that the CAAMP report will help to flesh out the picture for lawmakers. "The federal government is always interested in CAAMP's research," he said. "It provides critical and credible information on the overall mortgage market and trends."

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