Market Commentary - Dec 7, 2015
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has made another attempt to tally the level of foreign ownership in the country's real estate market. Unfortunately its latest Housing Market Insight report is fraught with the same deficiencies as the first one, a year ago.
The report is limited to condominium ownership with the numbers being gathered from a survey of property managers. It shows that ownership by people with a permanent address outside Canada (including Canadians who live in other countries) is growing. Vancouver has seen foreign ownership rise to 3.5%, up from 2.3% in 2014. Toronto climbed to 3.3% from 2.7%. The biggest spike came in Winnipeg where foreign ownership surged to 2.7% from a mere 0.1% a year ago. Montreal actually recorded a slight decline to 1.3% down from 1.5%.
Even with the increases the numbers are still very small and CMHC admits it needs to collect more data. The agency itself cites a 2013, Sotheby's survey that suggests 40% of luxury properties in Vancouver, and 25% in Toronto, are foreign owned.
There are concerns speculative, foreign investment is driving up prices in Canada's biggest markets, particularly Vancouver. There are fears that a large scale sell-off by these speculators could trigger a collapse in the Canadian housing market.