Property Management

Is Foreign Ownership a Problem in Vancouver’s Real Estate Market?

The Vancouver real estate market is red-hot right now, and it’s not hard to see why. As a Canadian city with one of the mildest climates in the country as well as a thriving cultural, gastronomic, and international appeal, it’s clear why so many people are flocking to this city. But many wonder if non-residents are taking over the Vancouver real estate market and pricing actual residents out of the city.

While non-resident ownership may be higher in Vancouver than in other parts of the country, the common perception that non-residents are quickly snapping up a majority of the homes in the city is incorrect. Just 4.9 percent of housing in the Vancouver real estate market is owned by non-residents. However, when you add in mixed-ownership homes (homes that are owned by one person overseas and another who is actually living in Vancouver), that number jumps to 7.6 percent.

Type of Property and Year of Construction Are Factors in Determining Overseas Ownership

It seems that overseas owners in the Vancouver real estate market are not dominating the entire market. Rather, they tend to buy more expensive and more recently built homes. For example, 8.3 percent of condos are owned by overseas non-residents, while an additional 2.9 are jointly owned by Canadian residents and non-residents, bringing the total figure for non-resident ownership of condos up to 11.2 percent. Compare this to just 5.7 percent of single-family homes owned by the same demographic, and you can clearly see where the money – and the interest – is going.

In addition, many of the homes in the Vancouver real estate market that overseas purchasers are buying happen to be newer units. This is unsurprising because new condos tend to be more expensive. They are also more desirable to buyers who are looking to make an investment in their properties.

Therefore, it makes sense that the CMHC found that the median value of homes owned by non-residents was significantly higher than those owned by residents.

According to the deputy chief economist at CMHC, Aled ab Iorwerth, “The 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.”

What Does This Mean for Residents?

Non-residents in the Vancouver real estate market are interested to know what these statistics can tell them about how the market will continue to grow and change over the coming months and years. Some worry that rising home prices will make it harder for actual residents to find homes, while some apartments and condos sit empty for months on end.

However, it remains to be seen the long-term consequences of foreign investors playing a role in the Vancouver real estate market. Only time will tell if these developments will have a significant impact on the ability of residents to find affordable housing in the city.