Non-resident condo ownership in three Canadian cities

New information released March 12 from the Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP) sheds light on the prevalence of non-resident homeownership in three Canadian housing markets: British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia. A non-resident owner is defined as a person who has their primary dwelling outside of Canada.

“Condominium apartments had the highest prevalence of non-resident ownership, particularly in Vancouver and Toronto,” says Aled ab Iorwerth, Deputy Chief Economist, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. “In general, non-resident ownership is more frequent in newer and higher value residential properties. The CHSP data allows us to better understand the role of non-residents as a component of demand in Canadian housing markets, a topic that is of public interest in terms of the source of funds and the investment behaviour associated with such properties.”

Study highlights

Non-resident participation in housing markets

Properties that have at least one non-resident owner amounted to 6.2 per cent in British Columbia (Vancouver 7.6 per cent), 3.3 per cent in Ontario (Toronto 3.8 per cent) and 6.2 per cent in Nova Scotia (Halifax 4.3 per cent). The proportion of non-resident participation is highest for condominium apartments. Condos with at least one non-resident owner was at 10.4 per cent in British Columbia and 6.1 per cent in Ontario, and higher in Vancouver (11.2 per cent) and Toronto.

In Vancouver, properties constructed in 2016-2017 with at least one non-resident owner is 15.3 per cent, compared with 11.2 per cent for those built between 2011-2015 and less than six per cent for properties constructed between 1961-1990. This figure is higher (19.2 per cent) for condominium apartments built in 2016-2017.

In comparison, the share of Toronto properties constructed in 2016-2017 with at least one non-resident owner is 6.1 per cent, while the share for residential properties of all periods of construction is 3.8 per cent.

In Nova Scotia, the proportion of properties that have at least one non-resident owner is higher in the rest of the province (7.1 per cent) than in the Halifax CMA (4.3 per cent), suggesting that non-resident ownership is more prevalent among vacation-oriented properties outside of the province’s major urban centre.

Comparison of median assessment value between non-resident and resident owned properties

The median assessment value of condominiums owned by non-residents is higher than those owned by residents in British Columbia (29.1 per cent), Ontario (20.2 per cent), and Nova Scotia (10.8 per cent). In Vancouver, the median assessment value of a condominium owned by a non-resident is $96,000 more than one owned by a resident, the highest differential in the Vancouver CMA.

In Toronto, the median assessment value of a condominium owned by a non-resident is $37,000 more than one owned by a resident, the highest differential in the Toronto CMA.

The largest differential between non-resident and resident-owned median assessment value was in single-detached houses in British Columbia at $236,000 (36.7 per cent higher than the median assessment value of resident owned single-detached houses).

In Ontario, the median assessment value of single detached houses owned by non-residents was lower than those owned by residents by $35,000, but the data shows differently in Ontario’s two largest urban centres of Toronto and Ottawa-Gatineau (Ontario part).

Total number of owners of residential properties

Approximately half of properties in British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia had two owners, while properties with three or more owners made up a small share of properties in the three provinces. Most resident-owned properties in Vancouver had two owners, while non-resident-owned properties tended to have one.

Vancouver had a much higher share of single-detached properties with one owner built between 2011 and 2017 (39.9 per cent) compared to Toronto (25.8 per cent). In Nova Scotia, most properties had two owners, followed by properties owned by a single owner. Properties with three or more owners represented 4.5 per cent of the total stock, a figure higher than both in British Columbia and Ontario.

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