CMHC again moves to tighten mortgage insurance rules as housing market cools

The government continues to engage in (somewhat) quiet actions to reduce its exposure to a mortgage or more general financial crisis. At this point we’ve seen shifts in EI, routine concern about Canadian debt levels and risk of increased interest rates, and now tightening of the mortgage insurance rules. CMHC’s decision parallel’s former Minister Flaherty’s earlier comments, summarized as:

Former finance minister Jim Flaherty had also expressed concern that CMHC had become too large a player in the market, needlessly exposing Canadian taxpayers to risk should there be a housing crash. The agency currently has about $560 billion in outstanding mortgage insurance on its books.

When/if there is a mortgage crisis in Canada that leads to substantial job loss, I don’t think Canadians are going to be thrilled by how their social infrastructures have been quietly reshaped around them. Or the relative lack of monetary policies that are the result of long-term low interest rates. Let’s hope nothing happens to make Canadians practically realize the implications of the past 3-4 years EI, monetary, and now CMHC changes.