First National Financial LP

Residential Market Commentary - Stepping away

  • First National Financial LP

One of the biggest influencers in the Canadian housing industry will be gone by the end of this year.

Evan Siddall, President and CEO of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, has announced that he will not seek to renew his term.  There is no firm date for his departure but Siddall’s current term is up at the end of 2020.

Siddall has been a polarizing figure since he was appointed to the job by the Conservative government of Stephen Harper in 2013.  An outsider, with experience as an investment banker and advisor to the Bank of Canada, Siddall was brought-in to change CMHC’s relationship with the housing industry and give the agency a broader view of the economy.

The housing-driven, economic meltdown that started in the United States in 2008 was still top of mind for the Harper government, which was determined not to go down the same road.  Mortgage heavy household debt remains a key concern for Canadian policy makers.

Siddall was disruptive.  By turns he rubbed home builders, home sellers, mortgage professionals, and politicians the wrong way.  He was a determined advocate for tougher mortgage rules and reducing housing’s influence on the economy.  During his tenure CMHC went from insuring 43% of outstanding mortgages to just 29%; several types of mortgages were removed from CMHC’s insurance programs; default insurance fees and securitization fees increased.

Siddall is the second big name to announce he is leaving.  Late last year Stephen Poloz, Governor of the Bank of Canada, announced that he will be stepping down at the end of his term, in June.