A housing market soft-landing — tricky proposition
(THIS IS A PHOTO GALLERY - to go to the next gallery hover over the photo and click on the forward arrow.) One powerful way to cool a bubbly housing market is to raise the central bank's key interest rate, but that has costly side-effects. Another way to do it (maybe) is for the government to impose higher mortgage lending standards. That's what Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has been trying to do for the past four years. Three rounds of rule tightening, in 2008, 2010 and 2011, didn't curb the housing frenzy. The jury is still out on the latest one, which came into effect in mid-2012. Was it too much? Too little? Or did Ottawa finally get it right? Here are six charts to help you make up your mind.