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Foreign Real Estate Investment in Canada

Questions about foreign ownership in Canada’s real estate market have been loud, lingering and largely unanswered. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is promising to address that with the release of its latest Housing Market Insight (HMI) report on Thursday. The report is national in scope and will focus exclusively on foreign ownership.

Back in May of this year media reports, citing CMHC briefing notes obtained through Access to Information requests, revealed the agency planned to host “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.

CMHC first tried to answer the question of foreign ownership nearly two years ago, in December 2014, as part of the rental unit survey that polls building managers. It focused on condominiums and did not capture detached, semi-detached or townhomes. At that time the agency reported foreign ownership was concentrated in Canada’s large markets, but was remarkably low – 2.4% in Toronto and 2.3% in Vancouver.

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