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Foreign buyers investing in newer condos: CMHC

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has released a new Housing Market Insights (HMI) report focusing on foreign ownership in Canada’s housing markets, a topic that continues to gain attention due to the impact it could have on Canada’s housing market. The report analyzes the share of foreign ownership based on the age of the structure, and is meant to be read in conjunction with CMHC’s fall 2015 HMI report on Foreign Ownership.

The report finds that foreign ownership is most common in new condominium structures in Toronto, specifically in Toronto Centre, where 10.1 per cent of new condominium units are owned by foreign buyers. Meanwhile, in Toronto Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs), the share of foreign ownership is 1.2 per cent for buildings completed prior to 1990 and 7.5 per cent in buildings completed after 2010.

“The really interesting thing about this report is the insight it provides into foreign ownership of condominiums in Canada by age of structure,” said Bob Dugan, CMHC chief economist, in a press release. “For example, in the downtown core of Toronto, we know that in buildings completed since 2010, about 10 per cent of those units are owned by foreign buyers. This compares to about 2.3 per cent for units completed during the 1990s. This represented another piece in the puzzle of foreign investment in Canada. It remains a top priority for CMHC to continue to get more information on foreign investment in Canada’s housing market.”

In the Vancouver CMAs, foreign ownership is less pronounced. The report shows that foreign buyers in Vancouver CMAs own about 1.4 per cent of properties built before 1990, and about six per cent of units completed since 2010.

In other CMAs across the country, foreign ownership ranges from as little as zero per cent of the share of condominiums in the Regina CMA to as high as 2.7 per cent in Winnipeg.

Currently, factual information on foreign ownership remains scarce, according to the report. However, CMHC has been using its Condominium Vacancy Survey to collect data on foreign ownership since 2014.

The full HMI report can be read here.

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