“One thing they said they would do is give money to statistics Canada to help CMHC get better data on foreign ownership. Having an evidence-based policy is a good thing,” Dr. Sherry Cooper, chief economist for Dominion Lending Centres
, told MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “We’re all interested to know what the facts are. I’m hoping they don’t make measures to discourage foreign ownerships. That’s part of the underpinnings of the strength (of the housing markets) in Toronto and Vancouver.”
As part of the Liberal government’s first budget, Ottawa has promised to spend $500,000 to gather data on – and better understand – the influence foreign money has on the Canadian real estate market.
The government said reliable data does not yet exist for this segment of the housing market, which is thought to play a major role in driving up prices in Toronto and Vancouver – the country’s two hottest and, indeed, priciest markets.
“With respect to housing, Ottawa will support the collection of data regarding foreign purchases of Canadian residential real estate, providing additional funding to Stats Canada, working with CMHC and British Columbia. Evidence-based assessment of the situation is important,” Cooper said in a release.
The budget contained a number of other monetary promises and changes. However, it was two things Cooper didn’t see in the budget that may give brokers cause for optimism.
“I can tell you that I’m relieved that we didn’t see two things in the budget that were rumoured; we didn’t see a change in the tax treatment of capital gains and stock options,” Cooper told MBN. “Unlike the PC government or the actions taken in December to tighten credit availability.”
The Canadian government has promised to dedicate $500,000 for collecting data on foreign ownership, but one leading economist hopes that data won’t be used to discourage foreign buyers.