Photo: James Bombales
The Canadian housing market has seen plenty of regulation over the past year — from a GTA foreign buyer tax to a national mortgage stress test for uninsured borrowers — that has sent national home sales plummeting. According to one industry expert, it’s been too much, too fast.
“There’s too much regulation at the moment,” Canadian Real Estate Association’s newest CEO Michael Bourque tells BuzzBuzzNews. He’s concerned that the dream of homeownership is slipping out of reach for many Canadians.
“What we would want would be for regulators at all levels to just hit the pause button,” he says. “We’re seeing regulation at the national level [with the new mortgage rules] and the provincial level [with foreign buyer taxes in Toronto and Vancouver.] It’s a lot.”
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National home sales dropped 14.5 per cent month-over-month in January, and 6.5 per cent month-over-month in February.
And while Toronto and Vancouver have certainly been hit hardest by the new rules, Bourque says he’s disappointed that regulators didn’t take into account how the measures would affect cooler local housing markets.
“Look at Alberta, for example,” he says. “That’s a market that could actually use some help, and this is going to make it even harder for it to come back.”
So where are things headed next? Bourque says that it will take a few more months to determine if the national market will continue to cool, or begin to recover.
“It will take a few more months to determine if regulators have overshot,” he says. “But what I would predict is that eventually the market will start to come back quite a bit.”
The reason? There’s still more demand in the Canadian housing market than supply.
“Every realtor that I speak to tells me they have more buyers than they do supply,” he says. “I don’t think those buyers are going away.”