mortgage-rules-canada Photo: Chris Lee/Flickr

The government may have its work cut out for it when it comes to Canadian real estate.

Earlier this month, mortgage rules increasing minimum down payments on some homes came into effect, but a new survey suggests most Canadians think regulators need to do more.

Two-thirds of the 1,513 respondents to an Angus Reid Institute survey say the government should step up its involvement in the country’s real estate sector to make sure “the system is fair.”

The polling was carried out on Feb. 15, the same day that the minimum down payment on for portion of home prices between $500,000 and $1 million rose to 10 per cent from 5 per cent.

Observers noted the regulatory change, put forward by the federal Liberal government in late-2015, was especially geared towards cooling the Toronto and Vancouver housing markets, both of which have average sale prices considerably higher than $500,000.

Among the 26 per cent of respondents planning to buy real estate this year, 7 per cent say these new rules make them less likely to do so.

“Extrapolating responses against population, this group may represent more than two million Canadians, more than 500,000 of whom live in either Metro Vancouver or the GTA,” according to an Angus Reid news release accompanying the poll results.

However, 17 per cent of the respondents hoping to buy property say the rules haven’t had any effect on their real estate intentions, and 2 per cent say they are more likely to make a splash in the market.

Some observers predicted potential homebuyers would scramble to buy homes before the rules took effect.

When the new Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation rules were announced, the average price of a Canadian home was $453,000, so the idea was that a vast majority of markets would not be affected.

But results from a separate Angus Reid real estate survey, conducted from February 2nd to the 10th and also published today, suggests nearly a third of all Canadians think home prices are too high — and this isn’t limited to the country’s two hottest markets.

While Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area had the highest share of respondents to say home prices in their communities are “unreasonably high” at 70 per cent and 50 per cent, respectively, other urban markets had no shortage of people sharing this view.

For instance, 28 per cent of Edmontonians and Montrealers questioned say local real estate prices are unreasonably, as do 27 per cent of Haligonians, according to the Angus Reid poll of 5,867 Canadian adults.

“A significant proportion of residents in smaller urban centres don’t exactly see themselves rolling in clover when it comes to their own markets,” said the pollster.

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