Another Conversation About Regulating Foreign Ownership

First off, let me say that this will never happen.  At least not as long as the Federal Liberals are in charge.

But this topic is gathering momentum, and this week alone there were at least two stories about it in the media, with one article spawning almost 1,200 comments from readers, most of which are angry, and in favour of some sort of crackdown, ban, or restrictions on foreign ownership.

But who are the people writing scathing letters, and signing petitions?  Where are they from?  Let’s discuss, along with the merits of potential regulation…

GlobalRealEstate

This is a tough subject.

And a touchy one at that.

It can bring out the worst in people, but at the very basic level, it will show people’s true colours.

Of course, many of the people opining on this subject are nameless, and faceless, and thus their true colours will never be shown.

Read the comments section for any online newspaper article on this topic, and you’ll see some of the worst behaviour that Canadians have to offer.

I have to put my name on my opinions, of course, as do any of the politicians speaking out about the idea of “foreign ownership driving up real estate prices for Canadians.”

And if you read the article that was trending on Monday, you’ll see that one British Columbia man has put his name on an online petition to the Canadian government, asking them to “do something” about foreign ownership.

The petition, of course has been signed by……you guessed it….a lot of people who don’t have their name shown in public.

I know, I know – anonymity is an important part of the democratic process.  When we vote, we don’t have our decisions broadcast over the Internet, or any other medium.

But because so many people are “angered” about the idea that foreign ownership is driving up real estate prices, we have to put things into context.  Who are these people, and do they have any idea what they’re talking about?

A parallel to the U.S. election can be drawn here, since most of us, north of the border, wonder, “Who are the 45-50% of the 330 Million people who actually want that ignorant, racist, belligerent man to be in charge?”

Well, probably other ignorant, belligerent people who don’t know enough about the economy or foreign relations to understand the ramifications of a Trump presidency.

My point to all this is simple: a lot of Canadians are calling on the Canadian government to “do something” about foreign ownership, but do they actually know: a) what’s really happening with foreign ownership, b) what steps the government could take, c) what could happen to the market if restrictions were put in place?

And more to the point, are these simply disenfranchised, delusional folks who dream – literally dream, about home-ownership, when they wouldn’t be in a position to afford a home even without foreign buyers driving up the price?

The anonymity of the Internet takes away their platform on which to vent, in my opinion.

But that said, let’s switch gears and look at the actual story here.

The story about the petitioner from B.C. broke on Monday on several news outlets.  You can read the CTV story HERE.

Interestingly enough, Raymond Wong, the man who initiated the petition, isn’t named in the story!

You have to go to the actual petition page, found HERE, to see who initiated the petition.

Now first of all, consider that at the time this story was written and posted on the CTV website, only 2,300 people had signed the petition.

2,300.

I’m sure if you launched a petition to change Canada Day to “Kim Kardashian Day,” you could get 230,000 people to sign that in a week.

Yes, society today is clearly concerned with what matters to us most…

Petition aside, and the number of signatures aside, it’s a topic that a growing number of Canadians are taking interest in.

And eventually the Canadian government will have no choice but to comment on it.

Every time I do an interview for newspaper or radio, I get asked the same question about foreign ownership.  I was on CBC Metro Morning the other day, commenting on some “survey” among real estate agents, that showed more real estate agents believe that the luxury market is being bought up by foreign investors.

I told CBC that the survey was among the dumbest I’d ever seen.

First of all, there are 50,000 real estate agents in Toronto, and more than half of them don’t do a single deal in a year.  And even among the ones that do – who cares what they think about about the luxury market, when they can’t even sniff at it.

Unless that “survey” was handed to a select fifty or so real estate agents in Toronto that actually do work in the luxury market, then it’s all just wild speculation.

And that’s what a lot of this noise about foreign ownership is: speculation.

Ask 2,000 random real estate agents what they think about the luxury market in Toronto, when they know nothing about it – the answer you get, is speculation.

And ask the average Canadian how foreign ownership is affecting their ability to afford a home, and the answer you get, is speculation.

The CMHC themselves will admit they have no clue what the real foreign ownership numbers are.  So what stake then do we put in the opinion of the average Canadian?

I’ve long-maintained that people need somebody to blame for the lack of affordability in real estate, and many people don’t want to accept the fundamentals of supply and demand as the reason.

So who better to blame that an nameless, unknown entity, known collectively, as “foreigners,” who don’t live here, and are different from us, and have it better than us, and now are making our lives worse?

But I don’t know if the people complaining about foreign ownership, and as a result, high real estate prices, have any idea what could happen if drastic measures were taken to curb foreign ownership.

Let’s assume for a moment that starting tomorrow, the government outright banned all foreign ownership of Canadian properties.  That would take a lot of demand away from the market, and prices would be affected.

Now, for many of those angered Canadians, they would shout, “Yippee!  Prices are dropping like a stone!  Now I can go and buy my dream home!”

Yes, well, in theory.  But a pronounced drop in home prices would trigger a recession, and in a recession, businesses close, jobs are lost, and people have less money.  When people have less money, they spend less money, and fewer products and services are sold, and more businesses close up, and more jobs are lost.  And on, and on.

So I find it ironic that the very people who feel they are “priced out” of the market, and who would love to see a collapse, would be the very first people falling on hard times and thus the very last who would be able to afford real estate after the apocalypse.

And who would be most able to afford the new, low-low-priced real estate?

The rich.  The very group of people that the angry despise.

Oh, and foreign buyers, of course.

And perhaps after an epic real estate collapse, the government would open the market back up to foreign buyers, to try and help stimulate price growth.

As with the theme of society today, if the government did ban foreign ownership, and prices dropped, you just know that many people would scream, “What the hell is the government doing banning foreign ownership?  What right do they have to meddle with the natural, free-flow of supply and demand?”

Honestly, I think the whole debate is spurned by those the most out-of-touch, and perhaps, dare I say, a bit of those who fear people that don’t look, talk, and act like them.

What’s happening in Vancouver is not happening anywhere else in Canada, to the same extent.

Yes, we have foreign investment here in Toronto, but it’s a pittance compared to Vancouver.

I don’t know if they can regulate foreign ownership at the Provincial level, but it makes a lot more sense than doing so at the Federal level.

Another option, of course, is taxation.

And while I’m all for the free-flow of supply and demand, I’m also for taxation of non-Canadians, who want to own Canadian real estate.

NDP MLA David Eby said, “When you have a real estate market that doesn’t serve the local economy, you have to ask questions about what it is serving; what is its purpose?”

We all have different political views, and perhaps “what our taxes should be spent on” might differ.

Eby added, “If you’re paying your worldwide taxes in British Columbia and you’re buying property, that’s fine.  The concern is people who aren’t paying taxes here, who aren’t contributing, who are buying properties and driving up values.”

I suppose we’ll never really know what kind of capital gains non-residents are paying.

And when the “shadow flipping” of houses in Vancouver goes on, and somebody flips a $2,000,000 home for $2,500,000, is that $500,000 taxed?

I’m taxed to death, and I hate it.  If my tax dollars were being spent on more worthwhile endeavors (a topic for another day, surely), then I’d have less of a problem with it.

So maybe this is the pot calling the kettle black when I suggest that the government should increase taxation on non-residents who own real estate.

Is that NIMBY’ism at its finest?

Or does it just make logical sense?

If you just can’t get enough of this topic, then here’s another great article for you:

Governments Terrified Of Popping Foreign Housing Bubble

This covers a lot of what we talked about, but also reminds me of another growing trend among society that I dislike: entitlement.

Let us remember that it’s not a right to own a home, but a privilege.

If we begin to think that home ownership is some sort of fundamental right for every person, regardless of financial means, then we’re well, well beyond socialism, and into something else.

Would it be great if everybody owned a home?  In theory, but there isn’t a single country in the world where that’s a reality, so what does that tell us?

And while it’s not a right to own a home, let’s also remember that just because somebody was “born and raised” in Toronto, doesn’t make it their right to purchase a home, which is affordable, to them, at their level of affordability.

I would LOVE It it everybody in the world was happy!  I would LOVE it if everybody owned a home in Toronto!

But it’s not realistic.  And I’m a realist.

I sympathize with those Canadians who can’t afford a home, but I don’t think some sort of “ban” on foreign ownership is the answer, and I don’t think a whole lot of these folks have thought of the consequences of such an action.

39 Comments

Post A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. daniel says:

    @David, i’m curious about your level of knowledge about what the government spends our money on. I’ve encountered a lot of small gov’t folks who have no idea in the slightest about the general allocations of gov’t resources, how these compare with what other countries spend, how much waste there is in these areas, etc.

    Not saying i disagree with your point, however, you started the post with a comment about people with uninformed opinions and i meet a lot of small gov’t folks who are strongly convinced that our tax dollars are misallocated and wasted but never read the AG reports, never read the budget summaries, and basically never get past the Post or G&M headlines yet think they’re well educated on this.

  2. Maggie says:

    I like the idea of higher taxation for non-residents. Personally, I don’t find Toronto appealing in the least. If a person wants to own a home and can’t afford one in Toronto then work and live somewhere that you can afford a home. If you absolutely must live in Toronto then deal with it if you can’t afford a home. Don’t complain. Change. @Jeff I just moved to Peterborough from Barrie and I can afford a much better home here and myself and my husband have very average jobs. Barrie is expensive but nothing compared to Toronto.

    1. Maggie says:

      I read the blog because I like real estate information even though I would not want to live in Toronto.

  3. Libertarian says:

    The problem is our culture is obsessed with home ownership and now everyone is expected to be a homeowner. People are called stupid for renting because they’re throwing their money away paying someone else’s mortgage. People are considered failures in life if they don’t own. So every Tom, Dick, and Harry want to own, even if they make $40,000 or $50,000 per year. At those salaries, they can’t own in the 416 and probably not even 905.

    The Garth Turners, Rob Carricks, and other personal finance writers of the world try to show people that renting is not the end of the world. But those writers are attacked at every turn with evil venom. But as prices keep going up, the math should eventually convince people that they’re better off renting.

    If prices keep rising, how much income are buyers going to need to allocate to shelter? Will that be the best use of their income? There’s more to life than being house poor. People want to have kids, cars, vacations, retirement funds, etc., but most of us will not be able to afford all of those things – we will have to make choices between them. If enough people decide having a life is more important than owning the roof over your head, this will eventually decrease the demand in this city.

    1. jeff316 says:

      Writers like Garth Turner are attacked with evil venom because they post unanalytical comments aimed to foment commentary (and therefore ad loads and subscriptions) from their comment base. They are not pilloried for advocating the benefits of renting. If Garth Turner were to advocate for renting without bad advice and wrong-all-the-time predictions, he’d get no trouble from most commenters online. The problem is, he’d miss the media attention and ad clicks that he relies on to run his business.

      I haven’t seen a lot of overtly negative criticism of Carrick, although he does tend to be pretty jittery for a personal finance writer at a small-c conservative media institution like the Globe.

      1. Joe Q. says:

        I personally think that Carrick’s writing is quite reasonable, but he gets a lot of abuse in the comment sections of this site.

        1. Kyle says:

          The abuse Carrick gets is well deserved. He knows nothing at all about real estate or finances and routinely dispenses horrible advice, but he gets a lot of clicks because the anti owning/pro-renting slant that he spins in all his columns resonates with a lot of people. Here’s an example of the nonsense he writes: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/the-market/who-benefits-from-a-hot-housing-market/article30002095/

          Do people who read his column truly believe that owning a home that appreciates in value is a bad thing?

    2. Ed says:

      Sorry librarian but Garth Turner is an egotistical dink. Even though he has been proven wrong on numerous occasions he is not man enough to admit he was wrong. And to Jeff316, it is not ad clicks that motivate GT, it is EGO. EGO bigger than Trump.

  4. Cool Koshur says:

    It is just absurd to say foreign buyers are causing this housing boom. These “foreign buyers” are non other than permanent resident immigrants who are immigrating from China, India, Pakistan, & other South Asian countries along with many east Europeans. This influx of immigrants started in early 2000s and are causing this boom along with low interest rates. When you add supply and demand issue, it is ideal ecosystem for housing boom. There are more than 100K immigrants moving into GTA every year and due to cultural norms, home ownership is on top of their list. They wind down in their home countries and plush with cash. They buy homes to set roots.

  5. A Grant says:

    So we can label those who want affordable housing in the city are “entitled” and leave it at that.

    The problem is, the alternative is not so simple.

    We live in a society where home ownership is normalized, with all levels of government implementing policies, tax breaks, subsidies, etc. to actively stimulate it. In fact, one of the primary indicators of economic prosperity are the number of new home builds. So, while home ownership may not be a right, it is certainly encouraged.

    Secondly, while the cost of housing in urban areas has increased dramatically, wages have remained stagnant.

    So, if home ownership is expected, while housing in urban areas is now out of reach, what’s the alternative?

    The suburbs and the ex-burbs obviously – but this has created a whole new set of problems

    Most obviously, car-based transportation infrastructure and other related expenses have had to be expanded at significant cost, without comparable funding to maintain it. As a result, Canada is facing a growing infrastructure deficit – and the bill is coming due. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities alone has estimated that Canada’s municipal infrastructure deficit is now $123 billion and growing by $2 billion annually. These costs don’t include the much needed spending required to support alternative public transportation options. However, no one wants to see their taxes raised or supports new user-based fees to cover these costs.

    So we can be shrug our shoulders, ignore a system that is clearly unsustainable, and call those who want change “entitled”. However, if we are comfortable with telling families that they are not entitled to live near where they work; are not entitled to spend more time with their family and less time commuting; and ultimately not entitled to a good quality of life, you end up with a lot of angry people. The kind of people who end up voting for an ignorant, racist, belligerent man to be in charge.

    Or we can acknowledge there’s a problem and find a solution. My solution is to centralize the delivery of public services and limit the wear and tear on infrastructure by encouraging well-planned density and government policies to make urban living more affordable to the average family.

  6. Joe Q. says:

    Some interesting ideas in this thread.

    I think there are some fundamental issues that need to be figured out before “foreign ownership” can even be addressed — one is the very definition of what we mean by “foreign ownership”. My own take is that people usually mean it to refer to non-residents purchasing properties that are then left vacant or severely under-utilized. Immigrants who come to settle in Canada and buy homes don’t fit the bill — citing their influence is a straw-man argument in this debate, IMO.

    The second piece of the puzzle is data. Pace Appraiser, the CMHC itself indicates that there is almost no hard data on foreign ownership and that everything is anecdotal or survey-based (including the CMHC’s own information, which comes from asking condo building managers about the mailing addresses of unit owners).

    As James mentions above, it’s almost impossible to take any meaningful action without real data. The debate is almost pointless without it.

    1. Kyle says:

      100% agree that “foreign ownership” needs to be defined. However, the small proportion of non-residents buying up all the $4M+ mansions and leaving them empty has near zero impact on what everyday people can afford and IMO that is the true strawman argument in this debate.

      1. Joel says:

        Exactly. The foreign ownership that these people are complaining about is the rich foreigner buying a property in Bridle Path or a penthouse in Yorkville. They are not buying a 2bd 2ba in Leslieville, or like properties.

        The price of a condo near U of T or Ryerson could be high due to someone buying a condo for their kid in university. This is them pumping money into our economy,which is a good thing for everyone in the city.

        1. Kyle says:

          Bingo!! i find it ridiculous when this discussion is framed as an “affordability crisis”, where an entire generation of Canadians are being screwed out of ever being able to afford housing in Van and TO because of foreigners who buy places and leave them empty therefore not paying any taxes. Absolute crock. The few instances where foreigners buy places and leave them empty are in price brackets that have no influence on what everyday people will ever be able to afford. And when you look at everyday people housing none of it is sitting empty. Most foreign purchased homes/condos in everyday snack brackets are being lived in by people with work or study visas. Exactly the type of people cities should be trying to attract not repel.

          The reality is it is far easier to blame the foreigners and the government than it is for many people to accept that they can’t afford a house in a world-class city.

          1. daniel says:

            I think this perhaps slightly misunderstands the housing market. I think that buyers and prices at each price range affect the market dynamics in the other segments. This is super clear in Toronto where the explosion in value in the $1M-1.5M range has pushed a lot of well off buyers into previously cheaper areas (think Oakwood Vaughan) where they now are bidding up the value of scrappy little bungalows b/c they can no longer afford Trinity Bellwoods or wherever they previously wanted to live. Similarly, when a $2.5M house in Van becomes a $4M house, the doctor couple that would have previously bought the $4M place now start bidding up the prices of the houses that used to be $1.5M.

            In toronto i don’t see the foreign buyers being a major influence in the market except in the pre-con construction market. In that market they’re buying units then renting them out. In doing so they effectively help to finance condo construction which, in turn, increases supply and suppresses price growth (relative to the alternate scenario where fewer condos were built). So, in Toronto i think it could be argued that foreign condo investors are actually helping constrain price growth.

          2. Kyle says:

            I totally get the ripple effect that you’re talking about in theory, but in reality the further from the stone the smaller the ripples. When 10 Chinese dudes buy $5M manisons, by the time the ripples hit the thousands of $500K condo transactions, the effect is negligible. IMO when the media tries to claim this as contributing factor in an affordability crisis, it is 99.99% supposition than .01% real.

            The reality is that there isn’t an affordability crisis, there is an entitlement crisis. Sales have increased YoY for several years now. If housing were truly unaffordable, then no one could afford to buy them, and the the number of sales would decrease not expand. The real problem is the massive disconnect between what many people’s expectation is, of what they *should* be able to afford vs reality (i.e.what they can actually afford). You don’t hear people signing petitions or creating hashtag movements, or claiming a “crisis” in places like Hong Kong, New York or London. And obviously it isn’t because those places are more affordable than Van or TO. The reason is that in those cities first time buyers don’t have a built-in expectation that they should be able to own a SFH. Such expectations are out-dated in Toronto and Vancouver, but it will take some time for people to accept that. And until they accept it, they will continue to look for scapegoats and excuses, as usual the easiest scapegoats are the faceless “foreigners” and the Government.

      2. Joe Q. says:

        I wasn’t thinking at all about mansions, but about condos, where there are indeed a lot of stories about units sitting vacant for long periods (but none of the hard data needed to advance the discussion further).

        1. Kyle says:

          Please point us to some of these stories of empty condos, because I have yet to come across any. All the stories about foreigners affecting affordability, especially from Van, are those about empty mansions. There is even a Van blog dedicated to empty mansions.

    2. JK says:

      I disagree. I think people refer to foreign buyers as those who were not born here, regardless of whether or not they use the property. You read the comments in articles about certain parts of town that have been “taken over” by newcomers. The comments are all nasty…about how these people are changing the character of the hood, pricing us out with their dirty money, etc etc. The hatred is towards “the other”, whether they live here or not. And yes, Toronto is what it is because of the immigrants. We are the ones that made this city interesting to the world.

  7. Formerly Frosty says:

    Don’t confuse despising the rich with despising things that the rich do with their riches.

  8. JK says:

    I will add one more thought…my parents are immigrants. But they started in Montreal because in the 60s, Toronto was seen by international people as a bit of a stuffy hick town, while Montreal was glamorous and international. Then the FLQ happned and immigrants in my community started choosing Toronto.

    I will argue that the value of Toronto does not come from the “old stock” Canadians from Leaside, the Beaches and Forest Hills. It comes from the immigrants..the “foreign buyers” who started moving here in the 70s and brought flavor to the city. But they also got the word out back home, inspiring other to come. Now them and all the first generation kids who grew up in the burbs are looking for a piece of the city.

  9. Jeff says:

    To me to bigger thing is lack of oppertunity across the country a generation ago you didn’t need to be in a big city to get by and do well. Now who is clamouring to go to Windsor, peterbourough, Niagara – the kids in all those places all want to come to Toronto, let alone people from Atlantic Canada, and other parts of the country. Toronto has great oppertunity if it grows faster than rest of country prices will bubble up.

    Low interest rates also have a big reason, I pay 1.9% since I bought my place prices have jumped from 400k to around 650k for a 2 bedroom condo but interest rates have also fallen.

    Someone has to be able to do the math, interest rates have fallen x, affordability has increased, factor in wages, inflation population growth and you can get a good number to see how much is being driven by low rates. I will not say foreign money shouldn’t be looked at and controlled to some point – it should, but it’s probably a lot lower especially in the GTA than GVR.

    I’m 30 and clear 6 figures, I know people my age who make substantially more than me, part of it is this city has a lot of jobs that pay really well compared to other places. A lot of the tech companies (that barlley existed here 5 years ago) are paying developers 90k in there mid 20s, that is a new level of people in this city that as a whole we have to compete with for real estate. If we keeping adding high paying industries expect more of the same until rates start climbing.

    1. jeff316 says:

      One of the things that’s surprised me in all of the positions I’ve held in Toronto is just how many people are from somewhere else. In my current spot there are a grand total of two people that grew up in Toronto amongst the 25 of us in our branch. Previous to that, I was in a branch of 30 and I think there were three Torontonians in our group. Previous to that, it was maybe 5-6 out of 35 or so. And it’s not just immigrants, but internal migrants. I think some people that live within the GTA just don’t understand how much Ontario (and other parts of Canada) have been hollowed out – economically, socially – in the last 20 years.

  10. Kyle says:

    It’s pretty safe to say that Vancouver and Toronto are the best cities in Canada. And based on rankings from a multitude of sources such as Mercer, The Economist, Forbes, Knight Frank, etc Vancouver and Toronto are consistently ranked in the top 10 best cities in the World. Owning a house in one of the world’s top cities is a luxury. If you replaced “owned SFH in Vancouver or Toronto” with “Lamborghini” in this conversation, you can quickly see the ridiculous degree of delusion and entitlement of those forwarding these arguments.

    When you look at other consistently top ranked cities in the world you also see that they are global cities and it’s arguable that foreign ownership and immigration is largely what has differentiated and propelled these cities to their top spots. High real estate prices and foreign ownership aren’t harbingers of doom. They in fact are one of the best barometers of the health and vitality of a city.

    1. Ralph Cramdown says:

      You’re confusing two different sets of cities. “Global Cities” (which Toronto and Vancouver are not) are the world’s top wealth producers and finance centres. New York, London, Tokyo, Paris/Ile-de-France, Shanghai etcetera.

      The other list is desirable cities to own property/park cash. Vancouver and Toronto make this list, along with other notables like Auckland, Monaco, Cape Town, Miami, Val d’Isere and Ibiza.

      I realize that some find this confusing. Even Knight Frank calls one list “Global Cities” and the other one the “Prime Global Cities Index.”

      ‘When it comes to the cities that matter most to the world’s wealthy, Vancouver is nowhere to be seen.

      “There is no direct correlation between the locations where the wealthy are normally resident and the locations their advisors view as being most important to them,” [Knight Frank’s global head of research, Liam] Bailey writes.

      “This reflects the itinerant nature of many UHNWIs [ultra high net worth individuals] who increasingly educate their children overseas while working and living in multiple international locations.”‘

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-real-estate-1.3487828

      1. Kyle says:

        Whether we are talking about cities, where wealthy people want to live, or where people earn a lot of money, owned real estate is going to be more expensive. And more disconnected to the incomes of the average wage slave.

      2. Kyle says:

        “You’re confusing two different sets of cities. “Global Cities” (which Toronto and Vancouver are not) are the world’s top wealth producers and finance centres. New York, London, Tokyo, Paris/Ile-de-France, Shanghai etcetera.”

        See link below of World’s top financial centers. Toronto is # 10, Shanghai is #12. Vancouver is # 22, Paris is #32.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Financial_Centres_Index

  11. JK says:

    I always laugh at the “I will swoop in and get your house for cheap in a crash” people. They have no clue. Everything David said. If you hope for a crash, YOU are also in the crash. The irony is that even if there was a crash, the same people will hold off buying because “well, houses are now worthless, why would I get in?”

    I also love the “raise the taxes on homeowners cause they are all rich” crowd. You know what happens when you force average people to sell because they can’t afford the taxes? Their houses are bought by rich people who can afford the taxes.

  12. James says:

    What blows my mind is that there is no system in place to actually track foreign ownership of property in this country. How about we start with that first, then we can see if and where it is a problem. Before we start banning things, and taxing things, let’s just see what is actually going on with real numbers and statistics.

    1. CB says:

      ^ This. Couldn’t agree more.

    2. Boris says:

      Same thing with climate change. The science is pretty unclear, the last 18 years have seen basically no warming, yet we tax the shit out of people and act as authoritarian fascists.

      1. Joe Q. says:

        Climate change is a whole other beast. There is plenty of hard data showing that the Earth is warming. Skeptics might dispute the causes but very few people deny the data.

        1. Wut says:

          Lol, good one. The data has been shown to be tampered with on many occasions. That’s if the raw data and methodology is even published.

  13. Appraiser says:

    It’s remarkable how many people pretend to know that which they have no clue about. When it comes to foreign ownership of real estate in Canada there is a great deal of conjecture, but very little actual knowledge or hard data to go by.

    Any information that has been collected, by CMHC for example, is quickly dismissed as inadequate or incorrect. To these internet experts the data doesn’t fit in with their preconceived notions of nefarious business dealings perpetrated by diabolical foreign billionaires. When in fact it is often nothing more than deeply-rooted xenophobia.

    1. Ralph Cramdown says:

      The notion I find most interesting is that real estate prices advancing at 3x-5x the rate of inflation (wage AND price) could be normal or sustainable in an economy whose non-real estate sectors are ALL in the crapper. Apparently Canada has discovered the holy grail; getting collectively richer by building, renovating and selling each other real estate, with practically no underpinning from manufacturing, mining, forestry or export of business services.

      1. Kyle says:

        You’re comparing apples and oranges. How many home buyers in Van and Tor work in the manufacturing, mining and forestry industries? Large city price growth has nothing to do with a holy grail or people trading houses. It has everything to do with local fundamentals like job growth, wage growth and population growth.

        1. Buckley B. Buckington says:

          Kyle, could you please point to the job and wage growth that according to you has been driving this increase? Wages in Toronto peaked in 2008 and have been flat since the, in Vancouver they peaked back in 1980…

      2. Appraiser says:

        Define “normal” or “sustainable.” The prime rate in Canada has been 3% or lower for 8 years in a row!

TWEETS