Government reveals plans for foreign ownership data

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CMHC tells what it plans to do once it collects additional foreign ownership data.

Many have applauded the Crown Corporation’s initiative to collect more comprehensive data on offshore buyers of real estate, which would help determine just how much influence they have on the market, but many have questioned what it plans to do with the data. Now we know.

“CMHC provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making informed decisions,” Karine LeBlanc, a spokesperson for CMHC, wrote in an email to “Reliable data collected on foreign owners will be published to support informed decision-making.”

Perhaps not the answer brokers were looking for.

Many have called for stricter guidelines for foreign buyers, and hoped that further data would help kick-start those initiatives from the government.

However, that still may be the case. More comprehensive CMHC data could help kick-start changes from policy makers. Only time will tell, however.

On Monday, it was reported the Crown Corporation has been working with various agencies – including FINTRAC and Stats Canada – to better track foreign influence on the housing market.

“At this time, no existing tool can provide a definitive measure of the level of foreign investment in Canada’s housing markets,” LeBlanc said in an e-mail to Bloomberg on Friday. “That said, CMHC regularly engages in discussions internally, as well as with industry experts, as part of its continued efforts to develop a program of work that would better capture data on foreign buyers.”

Prices in Toronto and Vancouver – two cities thought to be heavily invested in buy wealthy offshore investors – have seen on seemingly unstoppable price gains.

The average detached home in Vancouver spiked 27% year-over-year to $1.3 million in February. The average price in Toronto, meanwhile, jumped to $1.21 million.
  • Nick Bachusky on 2016-03-09 9:26:10 AM

    Keep up the good work Justin and keep pressing all these crown corporations and levels of government to make the best decisions for Canadians. In order to do so, the amount of data and questions asked to foreign owners should be increased.

  • George on 2016-03-09 9:31:11 AM

    Too late for Vancouver and Toronto.

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