CMHC admits data vacuum on foreign investors
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation admits it has little knowledge of the level of foreign investment in the real estate market but insists that it’s not a problem. Foreign ownership of property is blamed in part for the high prices, especially in our major markets, and there are concerns that we could see ‘ghost towns’ of investment property left empty by investors. Speaking to the Financial Post Evan Siddall, president of CMHC admits there are gaps in their data and says that while they are able to carry out telephone research on domestic ownership they wouldn’t know who to call in Hong Kong or Singapore. Siddall says that based on what they do know the agency does not believe that foreign ownership is excessive. Estimates on foreign ownership run as high as 50 per cent in the condo sector. Read the full story.
Vancouver property tax is outdated and unfair say critics
The property transfer tax introduced in Vancouver in the 80s is out of date and adding an unfair burden on buyers. That’s according to The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver which argues that while the original principle was to tax properties of high value, the formula hasn’t changed since. That means that around 96 per cent of buyers are forced to pay now, compared to a modest 5 per cent in 1987. The Board says that that makes it far from being a tax on the wealthy; its original aim. The city council may not be too keen to change things though as last year it raked in $937 million from the tax. Read the full story.
Calgary’s population keeps on growing
Calgary is booming with the ever-growing population driving increased construction in the city. Housing starts for the first six months of this year were 67 per cent higher than the same period last year according to a new report by Ben Myers, senior vice-president of market research and analytics with Fortress Real Developments. The year-end total is likely to be in the region of 16,400 units; the ten-year average is 12,000. Myers’ report describes the Calgary market as “red hot”. Read the full story.
US housing market continues to grow
New data from the National Association of Realtors shows that the market south of the border continues to strengthen. US home sales in September had their strongest month since last September; rising 2.4 per cent. Sales levels were however 1.7 per cent lower than the September 2013 figure. Home starts are also up but the battle for the US housing sector is the lack of wage increases, meaning many first-timers are frozen out of the market. Read the full story.