Agent suggestion for foreign tracking

by Justin da Rosa25 May 2016
It seems everyone has an opinion on how best to track foreign ownership in Canada’s housing market, and real estate agents are among them.

“As soon as someone buys a property with 20% or more cash down payment (especially, any offer without financing clause), the buyer's salesperson and the lawyer both [should] independently report [the sale] to Revenue Canada,” Shawn Laghai, an agent in Toronto, wrote in REP’s forum. “This should be part of FINTRAC. Revenue Canada can [then] investigate to know if the tax has been paid or even is it clean money.”

Laghai says the issue is not the influence foreign money has on the real estate market but whether or not it is being properly taxed.

Many have argued in favour of the federal government implementing measures to discourage foreign investment in the housing market. It's one factor some speculate is pushing prices to unreachable levels for Canadians in markets such as Toronto and Vancouver.

A recent petition calling for regulation of foreign ownership was recently endorsed by MP Kennedy Stewart in B.C.

The petition reads:

We, the undersigned, Residents of Greater Vancouver, call upon the Government of Canada to:

1) Collect data on off-shore investment on Canada's real estate market and the extent of which housing vacancies, flipping and speculation are driving up homes prices;

2) Investigate financial transactions flagged as suspicious by the Financial Transactions and Report Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) and determine if any of them are linked to real estate purchases; and

3) If appropriate, require potential buyers to register with the government in order to buy a home and consider restricting foreign ownership to those who reside in the city for a certain period of time;
4) Demand real estate council and lawyers to disclose information of buyers and sources of incomes; and

5) Study the restrictions place on off-shore investment by Australia, USA, Hong Kong, England, Singapore and New Zealand.

The petition currently has nearly 10,000 signatures.


  • by Mark Ranger - RE/MAX Kelowna 5/25/2016 12:12:30 PM

    Let foreign buyers purchase Canadian real estate but with the stipulation that it be new purpose built construction that must be resided in full time (more than 6 months of the year) buy the registered owner and subject to full G.S.T. and any other tax with no opportunity for rebate. By doing so it would alleviate pressure on current inventories (see Vancouver), add to supply (increased supply having more of a tendency to moderate prices) and stimulate domestic employment through new construction and all the related industries.

    They have every right to be on this planet and migrate as we do. We have every right to ensure our Country benefits from all that attracts people to it. We apparently have value on the world stage... Why wouldn't we take advantage of that to our benefit while still maintaining the Canadian hospitality we are known for and is in part what makes it so attractive to invest/migrate here.

  • by 5/25/2016 7:49:03 PM

    Only Canadian Citizens or those granted Permanent Resident status should be entitled to own residential property. Given that everyone else has only Visitor status why would they need to buy property in a country in which they have no right to reside? We should follow example from Thailand and other SE Asian countries. Foreigners cannot own land ... even if married to a citizen of those countries. If a proxy is found to be used the property can be seized. That would stop this problem dead in its tracks.

  • by 5/25/2016 8:03:54 PM

    Taxing doesn't resolve the underlying suspicion that foreigners with large amounts of money gained through corruption in their homelands are laundering (or parking) it in a safe country. Taking 10 or 15 % away in taxes just legitimizes their ill gotten funds. They are too exposed in securities or bank accounts and that is precisely why they hide it behind the doors of Vancouver and Toronto homes. As the Brits say the investment is "safe as houses."


Is a Toronto foreign sales tax a good idea?