Statistics Canada will aim to dramatically improve the quality of its data on foreign ownership of Canadian real estate, according to the agency’s head official.
Chief statistician Anil Arora announced that the agency has begun drafting plans of acquiring information on overseas investors from various sources like land registries, provinces, and many others, The Globe and Mail
“It’s an opportunity for us to step back and look at the whole housing statistical framework and say, what is causing these kinds of shifts, and changes and fluctuations in prices, and how can we do that in a uniform way,” Arora stated.
He said that by early next year, the agency will be releasing its first feasibility study on gathering the said data.
Among the plans announced by StatsCan is the development (“within the next five years”) of a residential real estate price index that will monitor fluctuations and trends in home prices on “a more comprehensive basis, that we can maintain over time.”
“[The index] will provide a much better indicator of overall housing price inflation,” the agency noted, adding that it will incorporate data on existing residences as well as new homes and condos.
The Liberal administration set aside $500,000 in the 2016 budget for StatsCan’s use to determine the exact manner and degree that foreign money influences the Canadian housing sector. In recent years, overseas nationals have been cited by various quarters as a major contributing factor to the overheating and overvaluation in leading markets such as Toronto and Vancouver.
Last month, federal authorities imposed far-reaching changes intended to moderate the affordability crisis, including revisions to primary residence capital-gains exemptions and the introduction of harsher stress tests for borrowers.
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