BC Housing has announced that they are planning to gather numbers on foreign homeownership in the province in order to understand housing affordability.
The province has asked the group to examine key factors affecting home prices in B.C., with foreign ownership joining variables such as supply, the economy, and interest rates.
BC Housing told Vancity Buzz in an email that it will take approximately six months to gather the data, with the final report expected this summer.
“This research initiative will collect existing information and identify gaps to better understand what additional data might be needed to assess what factors inform house prices and why. The study will also review the experience in other jurisdictions, to improve our understanding of what is tracked and what policy measures are being used,” said BC Housing.
When asked what will constitute a “foreign owner,” the organization said they’re still working on the framework of the study, and the exact definition of that term hasn’t yet been decided.
The study will focus on a number of communities, particularly those in Metro Vancouver.
Independent studies by national corporations have attempted to gather data on foreign ownership in the past. Recently, a survey released by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation found foreign ownership of condominiums is on the up in Vancouver. Since 2014, foreign ownership of condos went up 50%, although it still tends to be largely relegated to detached homes, particularly on the West Side.
Other countries and cities have put strict rules in place to curb foreign investment, such as Australia and Hong Kong.