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Foreign Ownership in Condos Increases, Still Low

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC)’s Results of CMHC’s Survey of Foreign Ownership in Condominiums in Canada, foreign ownership of condominiums in Canada is still low, although there have been notable increases in select cities. This fall, 5.4% of condominium apartments in Vancouver City were foreign owned, 4.9% in central Montreal, and 5.8% in Toronto Centre. In the case of the broader Vancouver census area, 3.5% of condos were foreign owned this fall, while foreign ownership in the Vancouver region was at 2.3% in 2014.

This marks a 52% increase between years for Vancouver, but is consistent with the rates of foreign ownership seen in the broader Toronto (3.3%) and Montreal (3.5%) regions in 2015. These latter two cities also witnessed statistically significant increases from 2014, when foreign ownership was at 2.4% and 2.3% respectively. 2015 saw Winnipeg’s share at 2.7%, up from 0.1% in 2014, while London, Ontario’s share in 2015 was 2.2%. Just 0.5% of Edmonton condos are foreign owned, and 1.1% of Calgary condos.

CMHC highlights that these numbers are significantly lower than numbers reported in other surveys:  Sotheby’s reported in 2013 that 40% of Vancouver and 25% of Toronto luxury home had international buyers, while another report this November claimed that 65% of luxury home sales in three Vancouver neighbourhoods had buyers with non-anglicized Chinese names. As the CMHC report, a previous China-Canada Investment Tracker post, and a China Institute at the University of Alberta occasional paper all note, differences in methodologies and data sampling, as well as the lack of a formal mechanism to track the level of foreign investment in Canadian real estate result in vastly different conclusions.

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