Ottawa advised to tighten mortgage rules

February 12, 2010

The Canadian Press reported by Julian Beltrame, February 10, 2010.

OTTAWA — The federal government should avoid major surgery and make only minor adjustments to deal with fears of overheating in Canada’s housing market, a number of leading economists said Wednesday.

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and the Bank of Canada have expressed concern that Canadians may be assuming too much debt in home purchases, debt that could rebound on them when interest rates rise.

But some solutions being floated in advance of Flaherty’s March 4 budget — doubling the minimum down payment to 10 per cent, or reducing the maximum amortization period from 35 to 30 years — could do more harm than good, the economists said.

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