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Tighter mortgage standards, blind bidding ban may be needed to slow home market -National Bank of Canada CEO

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TORONTO, April 23 (Reuters) - National Bank of Canada's CEO said on Friday that additional macro- and micro-prudential adjustments may be required over the next few months to avoid a potential burst of a speculative bubble in the country's housing market.

Regulators may need to implement additional tweaks to Canada's mortgage underwriting criteria and consider new measures. That might include banning blind bidding - the practice of bidding on a property without knowing the value of competing offers - to slow the speed of the home price growth, Louis Vachon said at the lender's annual shareholder meeting.

Home prices have been on a tear in Canada during the coronavirus pandemic, with the latest data showing an increase of nearly 11% in March from a year earlier, far exceeding gains during the last peak in 2017.

"New macroprudential adjustments to mortgage underwriting criteria may be required over the next few months," Vachon said. "But there are a lot of moving parts" and further analysis is needed to understand whether these are permanent or transitory, he added.

He suggested federal agencies conduct surveys on baby boomers' plans to sell their single family homes, whose pullback has contributed to a shortage of houses; the role and impact of parental support in financing current buyers; and how long work-from-home arrangements are likely to last, to inform additional measures.

Vachon called for public consultations as a first step on measures to bring increased price transparency to the homebuying process.

(Reporting By Nichola Saminather; Editing by Dan Grebler)