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In B.C., the country’s priciest property market, 69 per cent of individual real estate investors resided in the province in early 2020, according to a new report from Statscan.JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

More than 80 per cent of individual home investors in Ontario live in the province and the trend is similar in other provinces, according to a new report that sheds light on this growing group of real estate owners who have attracted scrutiny as home prices have surged.

The research from Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP), which is part of Statistics Canada, shows that the vast majority of the investors live in the province. Meanwhile, just 3 per cent of individual home investors reside elsewhere in Canada and 16 per cent live outside of the country.

The story is the same in British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, said the study, which does not reflect the spike in investor buying that occurred during the COVID-19 real estate boom, when investor buying doubled and spread to small cities in southern Ontario outside Toronto.

“It is safe to say that most individual investors do reside within the province and that would be true for all the provinces,” said Joshua Gordon, a Statscan analyst who co-authored the report with Joanie Fontaine.

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The study relies on 2019 tax filings and January, 2020, land registry information, among other data. It provides a window into investor buying patterns, which have come under scrutiny as home prices and rents have soared across the country.

During the recent real estate frenzy, investors were accused of amassing portfolios of homes and taking advantage of renters by driving up rental rates. That anger subsided somewhat when home prices dropped as the Bank of Canada raised interest rates last year. But home prices are starting to increase quickly again in Southern Ontario.

In B.C., the country’s priciest property market, 69 per cent of individual real estate investors resided in the province in early 2020. Thirteen per cent lived out of province and 19 per cent resided outside of the country, according to the study.

In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, where home prices nearly doubled in the pandemic boom, 69 per cent of individual investors lived in their respective province in early 2020 and about one-fifth did not reside in the country.

CHSP was only able to analyze five provinces, as it relies on co-operation from the provinces to conduct its research. Researchers define an investor as someone who owns at least one residential property that is not used as their primary residence.

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The study also found that the majority of investors were over age 55. This cohort accounted for 57 per cent of the investors in Ontario and 58.5 per cent in B.C. That share was higher in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Investors under age 35 accounted for less than 7 per cent in each of the five provinces studied.

“This is consistent with the idea that purchasing a home often requires a lengthy period of saving and the higher incomes usually associated with longer experience in the labour market,” Mr. Gordon and Ms. Fontaine said in the report.

In addition, the study found that nearly one-third of individual investors in Ontario and B.C. were immigrants and that the average assessed value of their properties was higher than that of Canadian-born investors. The researchers said this could be because immigrant investors “were more likely to own a primary residence” in a major city where home prices are higher than other parts of the province.

CHSP was established after the 2016-17 housing boom in Toronto and Vancouver to provide more information on the forces driving the Canadian real estate market.