Some Canada property markets likely overvalued: BoC

Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:09pm EST
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Some parts of the Canadian real estate market are "probably overvalued" and policymakers are monitoring to see if further steps are needed to cool it, the head of the country's central bank said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

It was the second time in recent days that Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney voiced concern about property prices, which surged after the financial crisis as borrowing costs tumbled.

"We see that in a number of real estate markets in Canada, valuations are at a minimum, firm; in others, they're probably overvalued. So there are risks there. We're watching it closely. We're working with our partners, the federal government, the superintendent of financial institutions," he said in an interview on "Question Period" on CTV.

"Measures have been taken. They've been effective. We'll keep up that vigilance. If more needs to be done, I'm sure the appropriate authorities will take those measures."

The federal government has tightened mortgage regulations several times in a bid to prevent a property bubble from forming. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on January 17 that the government is watching the housing market closely and is ready to intervene if needed, but is not about to do so now.

Carney once again warned Canadian exporters that they should look for opportunities beyond the main U.S. market, given the country's economic troubles.

"The nature of the U.S. recovery is, it's going to take a number of years before they get back to the U.S. that we used to know. In fact they're not, in our opinion, ultimately going to get back fully to the U.S. we used to know. So we need new markets," he said, noting the Chinese market is a tremendous opportunity for Canada.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Hodgson; Editing by Jan Paschal)

 
<p>A sold sign is displayed in front of a home in Toronto December 15, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Cassese</p>