New Finance Minister.

April 10, 2014 update: Condolences to the family and colleagues of Jim Flaherty; may he rest in peace.

In March, Joe Oliver took over the Finance Minister position after the resignation of Jim Flaherty – whose zealous mortgage rule changes greatly impacted the industry, much to the chagrin of us brokers.

As expected, Minister Oliver quickly weighed in on the mortgage industry, stating he will be keeping a ‘watchful eye’ on the market.

Nothing's gonna slip by this guy!

Nothing’s gonna slip by this guy!

“Our government has taken action in the past to reduce consumer indebtedness and the government’s exposure to the house market,” Oliver told CTV news.

We have seen many changes in the last 2 years, much to the detriment of real estate markets across Canada, in my opinion; the favourite buzz phrase from above being ‘short term pain for long term gain’. After a recent period of no changes we are starting to see the market, Victoria in particular, begin to regain strength. I think most people will agree that a healthy real-estate market is a positive thing for our economy as a whole. Will we see Joe Oliver step in and make yet more changes as we see the markets across Canada gain steam again? Only time will tell!

Why pick on the mortgage industry, anyway? Many people believe that, for example, high-interest credit cards with bloated credit limits are much more harmful to the Canadian pocketbook than low-interest mortgage rates on real estate. I find it interesting to observe that credit cards and unsecured lines of credit are very rarely a topic of discussion in the media or government agenda.

I suppose only time will tell if Joe Oliver decides to play more Big Brother on the real estate industry – but for now we can be happy with the old adage “no news is good news”.

I welcome your thoughts and comments on the government’s role in real estate and mortgage regulations in attempts to cool “overheated” markets. What do you think?