Canada could limit foreign property ownership

The Canadian government has announced that it could look to limit the number of overseas residents buying a property in the country if prices continue to rise.

During a press conference in British Columbia – home of Canada’s most expensive property market – the Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated that his government needed to do more to help all Canadians be able to afford to buy homes.

“There is another matter I hear a lot about, especially here in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, that is Canadians struggling to afford a home,” he said. “There are real concerns that foreign, non resident real estate speculation is the reason some Canadian families find house prices beyond their budgets.

“If foreign ownership non-resident buyers are artificially driving up the cost of real estate, and Canadian families are shut out of the market, then that is a matter we can and should do something about.”

The average price for a residential property in metro Vancouver jumped 11.2 per cent to CDN$700,500 over the 12 months to July. The average detached home is worth CDN$1.14 million, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Nationally, the average property price in Canada is CDN$453,560.

A Canadian Conservative Party policy statement points to steps taken by Australia to ease price pressures as a possible remedy, including limiting investments by foreigners to the construction of new homes.

It all cited the UK and New Zealand as examples where foreign speculation in real estate is controlled via tax measures.