Oliver rejects IMF calls for housing market protection

Finance Minister Joe Oliver remains firm: Ottawa won’t be stepping up to protect Canada’s housing market, despite warnings from International Monetary Fund Wednesday.

Oliver said at a news conference Thursday that the government’s long term goal is to gradually reduce taxpayer exposure at to the housing market. However, he clarified there is no specific plan.

The statement is a striking contradictory to Jim Flaherty’s moves, the country’s former finance minister, when he spearheaded four efforts to cool a hot real estate market. Flaherty imposed tight mortgage lending rules during his term.

Oliver’s comments come after a day when the IMF released a warning that the housing market and household debt represent key risks to the Canadian economy, Financial Post reported.

The IMF report said Canada’s housing market is showing signs of overvaluation by roughly 10% on a national scale. It added that some regions have estimates as high as 20%.

The IMF still predicted a soft landing for the housing market but added that a sharp correction may happen if interest rates rise quickly and job market suffers a downturn. 

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