Canada's Oliver ready to act but sees no housing bubble

Thu Oct 9, 2014 4:50pm EDT
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* Sees two-tiered housing market

* Does not see need for any dramatic housing action

* Says would be unusual for new measures in fall update

* Hopes for deal soon on lowering credit-card fees

By Randall Palmer

WASHINGTON, Oct 9 (Reuters) - The Canadian government stands ready to act to cool the housing market if necessary but does not see a housing bubble or the need for any dramatic moves, Finance Minister Joe Oliver said on Thursday.

"We're watching it, obviously. We don't believe we're in a bubble," Oliver said, adding that neither did the Bank of Canada nor Canada's housing agency nor the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting of the Group of 20 leading industrialized countries, Oliver said Canada's market was two-tiered, with numbers continuing to rise in Calgary and Toronto, a little less so in Vancouver, but flat or declining a little in much of the rest of the country.

"We're watching consumer debt and we're watching price increases. We're aware that in some urban centers affordability is an issue, but the equity-to-debt ratio on homes is quite healthy actually overall," Oliver.   Continued...