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Foreign ownership "gee, dunno" tracker
06-19-2015, 09:44 AM, (This post was last modified: 06-19-2015, 10:26 AM by manyfranks.)
Foreign ownership "gee, dunno" tracker
Hi all,

There's a lively debate on foreign ownership in the media, but the inevitable "nobody knows" acts as a giant reset button on policy change. "We shouldn't act until we have data" is a compelling line that excuses inaction. Regardless of whether foreign ownership turns out to be a big factor, this is a bad thing.

There have been loud public calls for data collection since at least 2011 and it doesn't appear that anything compelling has been done to collect it. Future calls for data (e.g. the upcoming "Give Us The Data") will carry more weight if we can show that these calls have gone unanswered for years.

Please help me in collecting historical examples of the following...
  • Media stories discussing the lack of data or unsatisfied requests for data
  • Organizational press releases (e.g. from CMHC) stating the lack of data
  • Examples of "we shouldn't act until we have data", e.g. from industry

Please include URLs, dates, and brief quotes.

Luke Brocki, May 2011:
Quote:While reporting this story, the usual suspects failed to provide any hard numbers on foreign ownership in Vancouver’s real estate market—the Canadian Real Estate Association, the Real Estate Council of British Columbia and the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver all told OpenFile they don’t collect any statistics on foreign ownership. However, some data on the issue does exist, and it's buried in individual property assessment notices BC Assessment sends out to property owners...

Luke Brocki, March 2012, The Tyee:
Quote:I'm not saying foreign capital isn't flowing into Vancouver. Hell, given the economic rise of Asia and the lengths to which politicians of all stripes go to sell Vancouver as a Pacific Rim city, I'd be surprised if it wasn't, but until you show me hard data that shows it's a problem, I say it's too soon to call for policy changes (but as long as we're throwing them out there willy nilly, how about a temporary tax on developer profits to fund a Real Estate Commission of Inquiry?)

Tara Perkins, Oct 2013, G&M:
Quote:“It’s really hard to capture how much is investment activity in housing versus owner-occupied,” she says she told the Finance Minister. “And in particular, if you want to add and overlay that with foreign investor activity in real estate, that’s even more of a black box. We really don’t have a good sense about how much of the Canadian real estate market is being propped up by foreign investors and the risk that that represents in terms of the overall housing market.”

It’s an issue that Ottawa has been aware of for some time. During a discussion with The Globe and Mail’s editorial board in April of 2012, Mr. Flaherty acknowledged that the government doesn’t have a good grasp on the amount of foreign money in the domestic housing market.

“It’s mainly anecdotal, so I don’t have a statistical grasp of it, no,” he said at the time, adding that he had been hearing anecdotally that a large number of people in emerging economies were paying cash for condos in Toronto or Vancouver.

Garry Marr, October 2014 (Financial Post):
Quote:The president of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. acknowledges there may be a “data gap” when it comes to the degree of foreign ownership in the marketplace, as debate swirls over whether overseas buyers are inflating house prices in markets like Vancouver and Toronto.
Tracking foreign buyers in Canada’s housing boom: Can we do it? Should we even care?

A third of people buying homes in Canada may be foreigners, says one real estate company. A leading economist says the number isn’t even 5%. The country’s housing agency says it has no idea what the actual number is.
06-26-2015, 11:03 AM,
RE: Foreign ownership "gee, dunno" tracker
Daniel Tencer, Feb 2013, HuffPost:
Quote:It’s difficult to say how much Chinese money, illicit or otherwise, is making its way into Canada’s real estate market, because the government doesn’t keep track of this data.

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