Renowned Bay Street money manager John Stephenson took the federal government to task for the glaring lack of detailed real estate sales data, which he argued is making it more difficult for consumers and market players alike to get a grip on the nation’s outsized price growth rates.
Stephenson added that crafting an effective response to the foreigner-driven price growth in Canada’s hottest housing markets is currently impossible, as accurate figures are few and far between.
“It’s just a disgrace how bad our data is. How can you make informed policy if you don’t have better data? We don’t know who the buyers are, we don’t know where they come from, we don’t know if they live here,” the president and CEO of Stephenson & Company said in an interview with BNN.
“There’s very little data, there’s very little transparency,” he added. “I think there’s a whole series of issues that are complicated [by a lack of data.] I think we need a better handle on ‘who are the buyers?’ and be a little more clear on that.”
The statements echoed recent comments from B.C. NDP housing critic David Eby, who noted that the federal and provincial governments need to more assiduously collect transaction data across all property types.
“As far as we know the province isn’t collecting any data about [commercial] sales. We're one of the few provinces that doesn't collect this type of information and we really need to know what is driving these prices,” Eby stated. “There are a lot of small businesses in his constituency facing huge property tax hikes because the perceived value of their property is higher. It's driving a lot of small businesses out of business.”
The Vancouver housing market’s price growth and sales volume have slowed down somewhat since the B.C. government’s implementation of the 15 per cent foreign home buyers’ tax last year, but the levy’s actual impact on the residential and commercial segments remains unclear.
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