The Federal Government has recently announced a new board to track and oversee changes in the Canadian housing market. Set up by Finance Minister Bill Moreau, the group will monitor housing markets across the country in an effort to create better policy for home owners and the housing sector.
The group was initially announced to deal with complaints about housing affordability in the Greater Toronto Area and Vancouver area, where inflated housing costs have frozen most of the population out of home ownership. The council, however, will also seek to help housing markets across the country, including Edmonton.
In a statement by Moreau, he noted that the council will help all Canadians. “The Government of Canada will continue to evaluate whether further steps can be taken to protect borrowers and lenders to help maintain a stable and secure housing market for Canadians.”
At the same time, Moreau acknowledged the government can only do so much. “It’s important to understand that while the federal government has some levers it can pull, we don’t have all of them,” said Moreau. “The issues surrounding home ownership are a shared responsibility, with provincial governments and municipalities having the ability to act locally. By collaborating even more closely with our provincial and municipal partners, we will ensure a coordinated approach, and make use of the best available evidence to arrive at the right conclusions.”
While markets in Edmonton have remained stable over the past year, the same cannot be said about other parts of the country. Provinces like Saskatchewan have been facing falling housing prices while Vancouver and Toronto have faced skyrocketing prices that seem to have no end in site. The average price of a home in Toronto, for example, leapt 31% over the past four years alone.
Hopefully, this new board can start to make sound economic policy to help all of Canada’s markets, both in the boom areas and bust areas. In doing so, Canada’s markets could be more accessible to the people who want to enjoy home ownership.