CMHC offers foreign investment stats for first time

by Justin da Rosa16 Dec 2014
In a first for CMHC, the Crown corporation has asked property managers in its Rental Market Survey to disclose what percentage of units are owned by foreign investors.

CMHC recognizes that there is demand to fill information gaps with respect to Canada's housing markets," CMHC stated in a release. "To address this need CMHC has, for the first time, asked property managers to provide information on the total number of condominium apartment units owned by people whose permanent residence is outside of Canada as part of its survey. 

“The condominium foreign investment information was collected in 11 Census Metropolitan Areas (CMA) in Canada. They include: Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal and Québec.”

The results of the additional question revealed that foreign investment accounts for 1.1 per cent in Victoria, 2.3 per cent in Vancouver, 0.2 per cent in Calgary, 0.1 per cent in Edmonton, 0.3 per cent in Saskatoon, 0.1 per cent in Regina, 0.1 per cent in Winnipeg, 2.4 per cent in Toronto, 0.7 per cent in Ottawa, and 1.5 per cent in Montréal.

Unsurprisingly, Toronto and Vancouver account for the largest percentage of foreign investment.

Determining the breakdown of foreign investment has been a priority for CMHC this year. This past summer, the Crown corporation attempted to determine the percentage of condos in Canada that are owned by domestic investors, but it also admitted to being unsure what percentage are owned by foreign investors.

In an interview with the Financial Post at the time, CMHC president Evan Siddall admitted they didn’t have the proper data to determine what percentage of condos are owned by foreign investors but that “right now, based on what we know … we don’t think the level of foreign ownership in Canadian housing markets is excessive.”

According to this recently released data, Siddall was correct in his inkling that foreign investment accounted for a low percentage of condo ownership. However, some industry players believe the numbers may be much higher. One of Toronto’s most prolific developers, Brad Lamb, told the CBC in August that he estimates foreign investors make up about 50 per cent of the ownership of condos in Ontario’s capital city.

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