“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.
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.