Wealthy investors are eating up an ever-larger portion of supply

by Ephraim Vecina on 02 Oct 2019

While investment on Canadian real estate has remained on a steady clip over the past few years, the implications on supply are particularly troubling.

This is because any new construction has largely tended towards high-end offerings that primarily cater to wealthy domestic and foreign investors.

Realosophy Realty president John Pasalis argued earlier this year that the growing prevalence of investment-use condos is a major factor in sky-high housing prices, further adding fire to the market’s long-running home affordability crisis.

“Five years down the road, do we really need 50,000 micro-condominiums that are renting for $2,000 a month?” Pasalis stated at the time, as quoted by The Guardian. “I think this is the risk when your entire new housing supply is driven by what investors want, rather than what end users want.”

Of these investors, landlords represent a significant, ever-growing proportion of Canadian home ownership, especially in Ontario and British Columbia.

Statistics Canada reported that the number of multiple-property owners in Ontario last year was 835,175, with around 43% (359,475 owners) in Toronto alone.

BC had over 268,600 of these kinds of owners in 2018. Vancouver accounted for 53.6% (143,910 multi-property owners) of this contingent.

“The number of small landlords shouldn’t surprise many. Canada’s addiction to cheap financing makes condo development more favourable,” Better Dwelling stated in its analysis of the StatsCan numbers.

Andy Yan, the director of the City Program at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, warned that housing in Canada’s largest cities no longer exists for Canadians, but rather for the highest bidder.

“It’s not about supply or demand anymore,” he said. “It’s ‘who are we building for?’”

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