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Mortgage lending changes unwelcome in cool Ottawa market

New rules designed to cool hot housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver could send a chill through Ottawa's real estate sector, according to an Ottawa real estate expert.

Last week the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. put a cap on the amount of mortgage-backed securities sold by banks that it is willing to guarantee.

The rules come as markets such in Toronto and Vancouver continue to see home sales and prices rise despite predictions of a market correction.

Ottawa's housing market has been stable, and only recently started picking up in July.

Ansel Clarke says stable housing markets are being punished for what is happening in Vancouver and Toronto. (CBC)

Ansel Clarke, the former president of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, said the changes punish that stability.

'Unfair' to punish stable markets

"It's unfair that stable markets like Ottawa and some of the smaller communities are being impacted by events that are going on in Toronto and Vancouver. It's too bad they can't just target those two markets and leave the rest of the markets alone," said Clarke.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation declined a request for an interview. But a spokesperson said the new changes are important to manage the housing market's risks and would not directly impact customers.

Clarke said the new changes could force banks to increase interest rates, which would hurt first time home buyers and could have a domino effect on the real estate market.

"Agents are afraid, some of them, that this is going to impact them in two, three, four months," said Clarke.

That isn't good news for homeowners already facing a tough market.

Matthew Sarabura and Chan Nguyen have been trying to sell their Sandy Hill condo since March, but they say no matter how much they renovate and drop down the price, but haven't had any luck. They've since taken the home off the market and are renting it out.

"It's very disheartening. It's overall disappointing," said Nguyen.

"There are all of these people coming looking to buy apparently, but nobody seems to be putting down any money," said Sarabura. CBC 

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