* Mortgage rules to be tightened for fourth time since 2008
* Flaherty news conference at 8:15 a.m. (1215 GMT
OTTAWA, June 20 Canada is set to tighten
mortgage rules on Thursday as it seeks to cool a heated housing
market, cutting the term of mortgages and reducing the amount a
home buyer can borrow, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
The announcement, expected at a news conference by Finance
Minister Jim Flaherty, will be the fourth time the government
intervened to tighten rules in the mortgage market since 2008.
The Finance Department says Flaherty is scheduled to hold a
news conference on Thursday at 8:15 a.m. (1215 GMT). Officials
did not immediately reply to requests for confirmation.
In its main Wednesday evening news show, CBC said the
government will reduce the maximum amortization period of a
mortgage to 25 years from 30 years, and lower the amount of
equity against which one can borrow to 80 percent from 85
Changes to the government housing agency responsible for
insuring higher-risk mortgages are also possible, CBC added.
Rising housing prices and extremely low interest rates for
mortgages have fueled a Canadian real estate boom that has led
some analysts to predict a bubble that could raise the risk of a
crash and a broader economic downturn.
Prices have softened in some markets recently, but a strong
condominium market in Toronto, the country's largest city, has
be en of particular concern to policymakers.
The Bank of Canada said this month that high household debt
was the biggest domestic risk to the economy. The debt-to-income
ratio is at a record high of 152 percent.