CMHC to look at foreign ownership

Data indicating how much of Canada’s real estate is being snatched up by foreign buyers is scant, but the country’s national housing agency is working to change that.

Canada’s national housing agency will be taking the initiative to bolster data on foreign buyers of Canadian real estate, according to an internal memo obtained by The Canadian Press.

In a briefing note dated May 15, 2015, obtained by through an Access to Information request, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., says it will be hosting “bi-lateral meetings” and roundtables with industry stakeholders to fill a number of data gaps, including the share of new and existing homes owned by foreigners.

“Currently there is no perfect source of information on the level of foreign investment in the housing market,” chief economist Bob Dugan said in a statement.

“CMHC has undertaken steps to address this data gap. As a result, we know a lot more about it today than we did a year ago and are continuing our program of work to determine the level of foreign investment in Canadian residential real estate.”

The initiative will go beyond the limited data the agency currently gathers, including a survey of property managers indicating how many condo units are owned by people whose permanent residence is outside of Canada.

In the briefing note prepared for Pierre Poilievre, the minister responsible for CMHC, it is suggested that work is already underway at CMHC.

“For high priority data gaps that it cannot address on its own, CMHC has started to engage in discussions with other data providers and organizations,” the document reads.

Other gaps that CMHC intends to address include the total volume of mortgages issued and outstanding, and mortgage data broken out by lender type, characteristics of borrowers, property type and geographic location.


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