CMHC laments lack of housing data

by Justin da Rosa on 02 Jun 2017
CMHC head Evan Siddall argues there is a lack of housing data currently informing policy measures, promises improved stats in the coming year.

“I am not happy with the level of housing data disclosure. We disclose everything we have and it used to be we didn’t do that,” Evan Siddall, president and CEO of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, said during a speech at the Canadian Club in Toronto Thursday. “We disclose a lot of information about our insurance figures, our securitization business; we will soon publish a quarterly disclosure on the assisted housing business. We’re working with our colleagues in the provinces to get even more data.”

Siddall said Statistics Canada will be receiving an additional $40 million for housing data and that the Crown Corporation plans on working with it in a joint plan to provide the industry with additional stats.

“There will be a substantial announcement focused on Toronto and Vancouver … in October this year from StatsCan,” he said.  “We need more information just on the insured house price activity; we don’t know if the market is 1.3, 1.4 trillion, 1.5 trillion (dollars) or more. Foreign versus domestic speculation, all those things.”

More robust data will better equip the government to handle future macroprudential housing policies; something the International Monetary Fund recently said is needed to mitigate housing investment in Canada.

Cheng Hoon Lim, the IMF's mission chief for Canada, suggested potential measures for addressing affordability by targeting housing investment.

“Among these measures, a cap on household debt to income or more stringent qualification criteria for household debt above a certain threshold will go directly to addressing household indebtedness,'' she said, per Canadian Press, while suggesting Vancouver and Toronto replace their respective foreign buyer taxes.

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