A letter appears in today’s Globe and Mail in response to recent direction given by Minister Flaherty to private mortgage lenders over mortgage rates.Â The letter was written by Steve Pomeroy, one of Canada’s leading housing policy experts.
Here is the full text of the letter:
Twice in recent weeks, the Minister of Finance has chastised Canadaâ€™s lenders for offering discounted mortgages, which he feels will overstimulate the precarious housing market (Flaherty Pushes Up Lending Rates â€“ March 20).
The difference between Manulifeâ€™s discounted 2.89-per-cent rate and its previous rate of 3.09 per cent for a five-year mortgage amounts to $10 a month, on a $100,000 loan â€“ a saving of $600 over five years. Meanwhile, the minister is spending $185-million this year to hand out tax credits worth $750 to to first-time buyers to â€œhelp people buy homes.â€ Iâ€™m not sure $750 really makes a difference!
So the minister should ask himself: Who is really overstimulating the housing market, and at what cost to taxpayers? Hint: People dwelling in glass houses should not throw stones.
Steve Pomeroy, Carleton University Centre for Urban Research and Education
Nick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant. He has a PhD in public policy.