Federal government to work closely with B.C. and Ontario re: housing market

Speaking to the Economic Club in Toronto on June 23, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that federal authorities have established plans to work closely with the governments of British Columbia and Ontario, as well as Vancouver and Toronto city officials, to monitor the country’s currently red-hot real estate sector.
As reported by CBC News, Morneau said that the cooperative venture will aim to address the burning questions of what exactly is driving the seemingly out-of-control price growth affecting Canada’s most in-demand markets.
“Housing prices have surged by 15 per cent in Toronto, and 17 per cent in Vancouver in the last year alone. People want to know what's going on,” Morneau said in his speech.
“The working group will review the broad range of policy levers that affect both supply and demand for housing, the issue of affordability, and the stability of the housing market,” he added.
Morneau emphasized the central role that this collaboration with provincial and city authorities would play, as no level of government currently has full power to steer the “extremely complex” issue to a satisfactory conclusion.
“It's important to understand that while the federal government has some levers it can pull, we don't have all of them,” the minister said. “We want to make sure housing stays affordable for Canadian families but we also want to make sure the market stays stable, that it's not vulnerable to economic shocks.”
Regarding the allegedly large impact of foreign investors in the country’s housing markets, Morneau said that more in-depth research is required before reaching to conclusions.
“We are looking very carefully at data on the housing market across the country and what's driving demand and limiting supply,” he stated. “Since the financial crisis, we've seen pockets of risk emerge.”
Figures from the real estate boards of the two cities pegged the average prices of single detached homes as of last month at $1.5 million (Vancouver) and $1.28 million (Toronto).

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