The Ontario Real Estate Association on Thursday called on the federal government to relax mortgage-lending laws, arguing against what they see as government-imposed barriers to home ownership.
The group, which represents the interests of 78,000 Ontario realtors, made the arguments in a letter addressed to the chair of the standing committee on finance, Wayne Easter.
OREA’s letter was a response to criticism from Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s chief executive officer Evan Siddall, who has vocally opposed OREA’s proposals.
Their three major requests are to restore the 30-year amortization period for those who are insured, to make the stress test more “flexible and reasonable” and to eliminate the required stress test for borrowers looking to switch lenders.
The letter, signed by OREA chief executive officer Tim Hudak, also encourages the government to take action to increase housing supply, including by offering unused federal lands and increasing infrastructure incentives.
“The problem is, there are artificial barriers imposed by governments at all levels holding (buyers) back unfairly,” said Hudak. “We can address housing supply at the local, provincial level and nationally, but really only the federal government can address these harsh one-size-fits-all mortgage restrictions that are having a real impact on the struggling middle class.”
Hudak also said that no major parties have offered a plan to address the obstacles to home ownership, hence the letter.
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