The head of Canada’s housing-market watchdog says this country places too much value in the dream of homeownership.

“In places like Paris and Sydney and Hong Kong and Buenos Aires [and New York], people rent. Whereas here [in Canada] we glorify homeownership. We think it’s the only vehicle for savings,” Evan Siddall, president and CEO of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang on Wednesday.

“This party ultimately comes to an end, and the people who are going to get hurt are young people.”

He said the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is meant to address this very issue by helping young people buy homes without pushing prices too much higher.


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    The incentive, for which Ottawa has set aside $1.25 billion over three years, was introduced in the 2019 federal budget and is funded in part by CMHC. It’s meant to reduce the monthly mortgage load for buyers and is available only to first-time buyers with household incomes of less than $120,000 a year.

    “It is deliberately designed to be a surgical response to people being excluded from the market,” he said.

    He estimates that the incentive will have a 0.02 per cent to 0.04 per cent “maximum impact” on house prices across the country.

    “It’s not inflationary,” he said.

    --With files from Cathy Miyagi