The share of foreign ownership in condominium apartments located in Canada’s major Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs) remains low, according to a new Housing Market Insight report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
Out of all the major urban centres monitored by CMHC, Vancouver and Toronto had the highest rate of foreign ownership at 2.2 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively. These numbers are lower than 2015 levels, when there was an unusually high proportion of foreign ownership in newly constructed condominiums compared to both 2014 and 2016.
Foreign ownership continues to be higher in newer and larger buildings in the downtown regions of Toronto and Vancouver. In Toronto buildings that have been completed since 2010, foreign ownership rose to 3.9 per cent, and in buildings with over 500 units, foreign ownership increased to 5.5 per cent. Meanwhile, Vancouver’s newer buildings had a five per cent share of foreign owners, while in buildings with more than 100 units, 3.2 per cent of units were owned by foreign investors.
In a separate report focused solely on Montreal, CMHC found that foreign ownership remained relatively stable at 1.1 per cent for the entire CMA, but in the city’s downtown core and Nuns’ Island, that level climbed to 4.3 per cent. In addition, between four and eight per cent of foreign-owned condominium units in Montreal were left empty in 2015. CMHC noted that 40 per cent of foreign buyers that purchased units in 2015 did so without the use of a mortgage, and foreign-owned condominium units in central Montreal were generally valued higher than those owned by Canadians.
In the other CMAs (excluding Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal), the share of foreign condominium owners ranged from a low of 0.2 per cent in Saskatoon and Regina to a high of 1.2 per cent in Halifax.
“Foreign ownership is just one factor influencing Canada’s housing markets – but it’s an important one that continues to gain attention,” stated Bob Dugan, CMHC chief economist, in a press release. “Our studies show that the share of foreign ownership remains low and concentrated in newer, larger buildings located in the cores of major cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. We continue to work with our partners in finding new ways to bring this important story into sharper focus.”