Housing crisis "a real drag" on Canadian economy - Trudeau

by Ephraim Vecina13 Jun 2016
The seemingly unstoppable growth of home prices in Canada’s hottest markets is proving to be a millstone around the economy’s neck, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Speaking to BNN in an exclusive interview, the premier said that the overheated real estate sector is limiting not only the country’s economic strength but also the options available to consumers.
“Rising home prices, uncertainty around being able to buy your first home or upgrade as you want to grow a family is a real drag on our economy and a real drag on Canadians’ opportunities,” Trudeau said, adding that the Liberal administration is already taking a closer look at the market forces spurring on home price growth in Vancouver and Toronto.
Among the sectors most frequently blamed for the out-of-control markets are foreign buyers, but Trudeau emphasized that a circumspect approach to the issue is of utmost importance.
“We have to draw in foreign investment,” he stated. “But the way we welcome foreign investment is by having clear predictable frameworks, and by being unabashed about making sure that it’s in the interest of Canadians, of Canadian jobs, of Canadian economic growth and prosperity.”
“When you talk about federal government action we have such heavy levers that impact the entire country; we have to be very careful about how we engage,” Trudeau added.
The remarks came in the wake of the release of May sales numbers, which showed that the benchmark price of an average home in Vancouver has grown by 30 per cent on a year-over-year basis (up to $889,100). Meanwhile, the cost of a similar home in Toronto increased by 15 per cent (up to $635,700) over the same period.

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