The 2017 federal budget released last week allocates funds to CMHC and Statistics Canada to shed light on blind spots in national housing data and support expanded research into housing affordability and foreign ownership.
“In recent years, Canada has grappled with difficult questions about housing affordability and foreign ownership — questions that could not be answered in a timely or effective way,” states the budget. “Gaps in research and data in these areas must be filled, to ensure that Canada maintains a stable and well-regulated housing market, and to ensure that investments made under the national housing strategy are effective.”
The budget earmarks $241 million over 11 years to CMHC for the purpose of boosting data collection and analytics in order to better measure the impact of Canada’s national housing strategy and shape policy. These funds will also further housing research conducted in partnership with other levels of government and through university networks as well as support work by a network of innovation labs to develop novel ways to address concerns about housing affordability.
The budget also earmarks $39.9 million over five years to Statistics Canada for the purpose of creating a new housing statistics framework. The framework would capture current data on purchases and sales for properties across Canada, including homeowner demographics, financing characteristics and foreign ownership, with the first release of information slated for fall. At the end of the five-year period, the budget commits $6.6 million annually to this endeavour going forward.