Who is the CMHC (according to the CMHC spin)?
"Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is Canada’s national housing agency. Established as a government-owned corporation in 1946 to address Canada’s post-war housing shortage, the agency has grown into a major national institution. CMHC is Canada’s premier provider of mortgage loan insurance, mortgage-backed securities, housing policy and programs, and housing research."
What do they do (according to the CMHC spin)?
"CMHC works to enhance Canada's housing finance options, assist Canadians who cannot afford housing in the private market, improve building standards and housing construction, and provide policymakers with the information and analysis they need to sustain a vibrant housing market in Canada."
Why they get the gong (according to me without the spin)?
The CMHC gets the gong from me because I don't think 90% of what they do matters anymore and could be taken care of by the private sector. This would include insuring mortgages and offering those mortgage products to the investing public via mortgage backed securities. Why does a monopolistic government corporation need to do this in a free country like Canada?
We have financial institutions that would gladly make a profit by competitively offering this same service while not risking taxpayers money via government gaurantees on the mortgage backed securities of the CMHC. This would likely result in greater product diversity, lower prices, and more flexibility to the public.
Additionally, as a taxpayer, I am not comfortable risking my hard earned tax dollars to insure these type of lending practices and these silly mortgages loans. These silly mortgages that CMHC insures include interest only, stated income, 100% financed, and second homes. I fail to understand how any of this is in our national interest or why it should be government backed. Why do my tax dollars support the buyers of Canadian Mortgage Backed Securities? Why can't Bay Street and Wall Street take those risks instead of the Canadian public?
Finally, the CMHC's programs have actually made housing more expensive by reducing the barrier to entry (downpayment) to zero. These people, without a downpayment, have bid up prices of real estate in the past few years and made some Canadian real estate markets unnaffordable.
What do you think?