“I’m loathe to start putting in putting in controls (to deter foreign investment); you never know what you’re going to get,” Darcy White, an investor in British Columbia, told Canadian Real Estate Wealth. “I’m a free market guy and I think the market will find its level.”
As part of the Liberal government’s first budget, Ottawa has promised to spend $500,000 to gather data on – and better understand – the influence foreign money has on the Canadian real estate market.
The government said reliable data does not yet exist for this segment of the housing market, which is thought to play a role in driving up prices in Toronto and Vancouver – the country’s two hottest and, indeed, priciest markets.
Sharing White’s opinion when it comes to deterring foreign investment is one economist.
“One thing they said they would do is give money to statistics Canada to help CMHC get better data on foreign ownership. Having an evidence-based policy is a good thing,” Dr. Sherry Cooper, chief economist for Dominion Lending Centres, recently told CREW sister publication, MortgageBrokerNews.ca. “We’re all interested to know what the facts are. I’m hoping they don’t make measures to discourage foreign ownerships. That’s part of the underpinnings of the strength (of the housing markets) in Toronto and Vancouver.”
For his part, White thinks Vancouver’s housing market faces some affordability issues; however, he also argues the issue of foreign investment is overblown.
“I think the effect is exaggerated,” he said. Everyone thinks they’re an expert, but I’ve heard conflicting information.
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The Canadian government has promised to dedicate $500,000 for collecting data on foreign ownership, but one investor hopes that data won’t be used to discourage foreign buyers.