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CMHC’s plan now is to produce a more comprehensive report by the fourth quarter of this year, says chief economist Bob Dugan, capturing not just condominiums but all forms of residential property. Gathering the data requires co-operation on the part of everyone from provincial property registries to local realtors—not all of whom are eager to shed light on their lucrative sources of new-found income.
It might also require a better understanding of who constitutes a “foreign owner.” The CMHC’s current definition—an owner who does not reside in Canada—excludes all kinds of domestic arrangements under which foreigners purchase homes abroad, suggesting the recent condo numbers understate the influx of outside buyers.
In Vancouver, for instance, foreign ownership of condos built before 1990 stands at just two per cent.
For structures completed since 2010, that number climbs to six per cent.
“We’re bringing in people who just want to park their money here,” says Justin Fung, a software engineer and second-generation Chinese-Canadian who counts himself among those frustrated by Vancouver’s surreal housing market.
“We just followed our hearts to begin a totally different life,” he tells , adding: “We can make the house dream come true in Canada.” The starting point was one-half of a modest duplex near downtown Victoria, close to the university where his wife is seeking a master’s degree, and priced about right for their limited means.
The author of that report, an urban planning professor named Andy Yan, interpreted that to mean the buyers were new arrivals.