(Adds details on meeting with economists)
By Andrea Hopkins and Alastair Sharp
OTTAWA/TORONTO Oct 13 The Canadian government
will closely watch the country's housing market but has no
imminent plans for further cooling measures, its finance
minister said on Thursday, as data showed prices were still on
Canadian resale home prices rose in September, while new
home prices were up in August, separate reports showed,
suggesting that slowing sales in some regions have not cooled
Low borrowing costs have kept Canada's housing market robust
since the financial crisis, but surging prices in Toronto and
Vancouver have fueled concerns about a potential housing bubble.
Canada's Liberal government tightened mortgage rules and
closed a tax loophole on home sales earlier this month in its
latest bid to cool the market.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters in Toronto,
after meeting economists for pre-budget consultations, that the
government did not have more measures to announce imminently.
"We will remain vigilant in watching the market to ensure
that it is stable for the long-term," he said.
The government will release an economic and fiscal update
Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, said he
and some others at the meeting counseled the government to be
patient as its stimulus announced earlier this year takes hold,
rather than embarking on fresh measures.
"They should keep some resources at bay in case we run into
some serious heavy weather in the years ahead," Porter said.
Some thought more stimulus was appropriate, while others
advocated for a return to balanced budgets in the medium-term,
In a research note, economists at TD cautioned against
taking stimulus actions that would significantly deepen the
deficit. TD said the deficit for the current fiscal year was on
track to hit C$34 billion ($25.58 billion), bigger than the
government forecast of C$29.4 billion.
Morneau said it was impossible to say precisely what the
economic impact of the new housing measures would be and
expected they would ensure Canadians take on appropriate
mortgages. Stress tests for insured home buyers will come into
effect on Monday.
Prices for repeat sales of single-family Canadian homes rose
0.8 percent in September from August as the Toronto market
continued to soar, according to the Teranet-National Bank
Composite House Price Index.
A separate report from Statistics Canada showed prices for
new homes rose 0.2 percent in August.
($1 = 1.3290 Canadian dollars)
(Additional reporting by David Ljunggren and Leah Schnurr in
Ottawa; Editing by Chris Reese and Richard Chang)