Housing Market: Mortgages & Interest Rates

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As a nation, we are Deep in Debt. As homeowners ... are we also Deep in Denial? OSFI is proposing major changes to the way mortgages are refinanced. Today we look at the implications on proposals for higher interest rates and new mortgage rules.


Part One of The Current

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It's Monday, May 28th.

The Pope's butler was arrested this past week following an investigation into leaks of confidential documents.

Currently, a senior Vatican source said despite the sadness of the event, they were all having a really good time saying "The Butler did it".

This is The Current.

Housing Market: Mortgages & Interest Rates

We started this segment with a clip from Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney when he spoke with The Current in December. Since then, he has continued to warn Canadians about the dangers of household debt and the fact that the days of historically low interest rates can't last forever. In response, most Canadians have blissfully ignored him and kept on using cheap loans to drive housing prices sky-high.

But there are signs that Canadian home-owners -- and would-be home-owners -- may be in for a rude awakening. Last week, the Paris-based (OECD) Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development urged the Bank of Canada to increase interest rates. An American ratings agency suggested Canada's biggest banks should think twice about issuing more mortgages since they're already holding nearly a Trillion dollars in mortgage debt and home equity loans.

And on top of that, Canada's banking regulator is getting ready to release new guidelines restricting the way mortgages are issued, and reissued. The goal in all cases is to prevent a debt-fueled housing bubble. But critics say the solutions may do more harm than good -- leaving many Canadians under-water, in homes they can no longer afford and others unable to break into the market in the first place.

For their thoughts on where Canada's housing market is heading, we were joined by three people. Sherry Cooper is the Executive Vice President and Chief Economist at BMO Financial Group. She was in Toronto. Jim Murphy is the President and CEO of the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals. He was in Toronto as well. And Patrick Morris is a realtor, and the owner of Morris Home Team at Royal Lepage in Ottawa.

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar, Pedro Sanchez and Susan McKenzie.


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