Foreign data pledge welcomed by economists

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s election promise to collect and analyze data on foreign ownership of real estate has been welcomed by economists.

However, they want any decisions on policies to restrict overseas investors buying Canadian property to be left until the data has been collected.

Benjamin Tal, senior economist of CIBC, told the Globe and Mail that the pledge was “very positive” and is desperately needed, whatever the outcome of the election.

Tal does not believe that foreign ownership is a major issue though -- although he accepts that the government will probably implement some measures to curb it anyway.

Most economists are urging that any restrictions should not be universal or they could pose a risk to most housing markets when Toronto and Vancouver are the main concern.

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