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Royal Bank CEO ‘increasingly concerned’ about Toronto, Vancouver housing markets

Royal Bank CEO 'concerned' about house prices

TORONTO — Royal Bank’s top executive told shareholders on Thursday that he’s “increasingly concerned” about the Toronto and Vancouver housing markets and would welcome government interventions.

The rapid increase in housing prices in the two cities is the product of an “unhealthy combination” of factors, RBC chief executive Dave McKay said at the bank’s annual meeting in Toronto. 

“All of these factors are mixing to push prices up to unsustainable levels, stressing household balance sheets and locking many people out of the housing market,” McKay said.

His comments follow local real estate reports this week that showed that the Greater Toronto Area’s average housing price in March was $916,567 — up 33.2 per cent from last year and just short of the Vancouver area average of $919,000.

McKay said that a single solution to the problems facing buyers in those cities is unlikely to be successful.

“But longer term, I believe all parties need to come together â€” governments, developers, realtors, banks, community groups and others — to accelerate our progress in finding policies and solutions for this issue,” McKay said.

Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press