When asked during the debate if the Liberals would restrict foreign ownership of residential homes, candidate Justin Trudeau promised to re-establish the long-form census with the hopes of better understanding just how prevalent foreign investment is.
“I think one of the things that we’re seeing in a number of places around the country is concerns on that, but the fact is we don’t actually have enough accurate data to understand entirely what’s happening,” Trudeau said during the latest debate last week, as transcribed by Macleans. “One of the reasons for that is Mr. Harper has chosen to cut the long form census and it leaves us with less understanding of needs.
“The Liberal Party is committed to restoring the long form census to ensure that we have the kind of data so that we can respond to local challenges like you speak of.”
It would be a welcome change for the mortgage industry, with many players showing interest in ways to better understand how much foreigners are propping up the market.
And it’s a change one leading economist has already called for.
A full Census would better help the industry understand the mortgage habits of retirement age Canadians – a growing segment for brokers, according to CAAMP
Chief Economist Will Dunning.
“A full Census in 2016 (rather than the partial Census that occurred in 2011) would allow us to address some important questions about mortgages in Canada,” Dunning recently wrote in CAAMP
’s journal. “I am hopeful that we will collectively decide than an investment in data collection can help us all to make better decisions.”
Trudeau isn’t the only candidate who has made promises to better capture foreign investment data.
If re-elected, Stephen Harper has pledged half a million dollars to collect information on foreign investment in Canada’s housing market.