Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau says he will remain vigilant on the housing file, as affordability continues to be a top concern in the country, especially in hot markets such as Toronto and Vancouver.
“We recognize how important this is to Canadians,” he told BNN in an interview Friday. “I expect for the entire time that I’m in the role of Minister of Finance – the entire time we’re in government – we’re going to stay closely focused on this.”
“There’s no time at which you say we will stop being vigilant,” he added. “We want to make sure that the market is healthy. We want to make sure people’s big investment – their housing investment – is safe and secure as best we can.”
Morneau said the measures his government has implemented so far, including stress tests and raising the down payment requirements, have started to achieve their aim of cooling some of the country’s hottest housing markets.
“It’s early to cry victory, but the measures are having the intended impact,” he said.
Morneau also said Warren Buffett’s recent investment in Home Capital was another positive factor for the country’s housing market.
“It was probably not a coincidence that the Prime Minister and I were in Seattle meeting with Warren Buffett a few weeks before Buffett came in and decided to make an investment in Home Capital,” he said, noting they didn’t discuss the Home Capital specifically but spoke about the "emerging strength" of the housing market.
Coordinating with different levels of government is something Ottawa can do to stay on top of housing, according to Morneau. He noted bodies like the Bank of Canada shouldn’t be concerned with intervening.
“We do believe that the federal government has an important role in understanding the market and remaining vigilant… the Bank of Canada’s mandate is not about the housing market. It’s very much about inflation.”