According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), recent media stories have indicated that foreign buyers are causing the price of Canadian homes to skyrocket to levels that are difficult to afford for Canadian residents.
To help provide more information, the CMHC has released a Housing Market Insight (HMI) that used results from its Condominium Apartment Vacancy Survey to determine the share of foreign-owned apartment units in 16 Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs).
Foreign ownership indicates the legal ownership of housing units, while foreign investment refers to the flow of foreign capital into and out of the housing market.
Shares of foreign ownership of condominium apartments was low within the 16 Canadian CMAs that were surveyed, ranging from zero per cent in Regina to 3.3 per cent in Toronto and 3.5 per cent in Vancouver. These markets saw a year-over-year increase in foreign ownership compared to 2014, when their levels sat at 2.4 and 2.3 per cent, respectively. Winnipeg also saw a large year-over-year increase: in 2014, Winnipeg’s condos were 0.1 per cent foreign-owned, which jumped to 2.7 per cent in 2015. Overall, six CMAs saw increases in foreign ownership of condominiums in 2015 compared to the previous year.
CMHC indicates that foreign investment may be more mobile and subject to capital flight than domestic investment, possibly increasing volatility in Canadian housing markets.
This is the second analysis released from CMHC’s Housing Market Insight series.