Ottawa makes headway on Housing Statistics Framework

by REP19 Jul 2017
Statistics Canada is making headway in creating a comprehensive database that tracks potential variables affecting real estate markets across the country.

Over 15 people have been put to work on the government agency’s Housing Statistics Framework (HSF), the Financial Post reported. The government first floated the initiative in Budget 2017 las March, as it sought to provide up-to-date data on purchases and sales.

“The HSF will represent a significant jump forward in the quality and type of housing data available and will yield significant ongoing benefits by enhancing the ability of housing participants, commentators and policy-makers to monitor and analyze the housing market,” said the government back then.  Statistics Canada will begin publishing initial data in the fall of 2017.

The program’s lead manager, Haig McCarrell, told the Financial Post that creating the database has been a “very challenging” task. But he also stressed the project’s importance, as it solves the problem of inconsistent real estate data. “A number of studies had been done, but with no conclusions, because of missing information.”

Ottawa has allocated nearly $40m allocated over five years to finance the initiative. McCarrell said the database will draw from public and unnamed private sources, as well as pre-existing statistics. The data must then be polished in such a way that it is consistent and can be of use to researchers and policy makers, the report added.

“The data must be first provided to big real-estate markets, and so we are concentrating on Toronto and Vancouver,” said McCarrell.

Federal Finance Department spokesperson David Barnabe told the Financial Post that a home is the “most important investment” that many middle class Canadians will make in their entire lifetime. “As such, it is critical to their financial well-being that this investment be protected.”

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