Skip to main content

The Real Estate Market Foreign buyers gobbling up more of Canada’s luxury homes

File photo of a luxury home under construction in Ontario.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

Foreign buyers are gobbling up more and more of Canada's high-end houses, a new report suggests.

Such buyers are now believed to hold about 25 per cent of some luxury markets, according to the Royal LePage Carriage Trade luxury properties report released Thursday.

The report adds to a mounting controversy over foreign buyers amid ever-rising prices, and huge affordability issues, in hot real estate markets such as Vancouver and Toronto.

Story continues below advertisement

So much so that the British Columbia government is moving to get a handle on it amid mounting affordability issues.

The Royal LePage survey polled real estate advisers across the country, 66 per cent of whom said foreign buyers have become a bigger presence over the past decade.

"Almost a quarter (24 per cent) of advisers surveyed believe that 25 per cent or more of luxury properties in their area are purchased by foreign buyers," the report said.

"Over half of the advisers polled (51 per cent) cited China as the primary international region generating real estate purchases in Canada."

Most of the advisers believe buyers are using those properties as their primary homes, rather than as investments.

The Royal LePage survey came just before a monthly reading showing Canadian home prices surging again in April, though driven largely by Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

National prices rose 1.2 per cent in April from March, marking the strongest April since 2008, according to the Teranet-National Bank home price index.

Story continues below advertisement

Prices rose 2.2 per cent in Vancouver, 1.4 per cent in Toronto and 1.1 per cent in Montreal.

The annual price gains are eye-popping: Almost 20 per cent in Vancouver, almost 12 per cent in Hamilton, 10.5 per cent in Toronto and 9.2 per cent in Victoria.

Prices in Calgary and Edmonton, which have been hit by the oil shock, were down on an annual basis by 3.7 per cent and 1.3 per cent, respectively.

"For those living in Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto and Hamilton, the housing boom continues," National Bank's Marc Pinsonneault said.

"Quite a contrast with the seven other metropolitan areas covered by the index, where prices have on average declined on a year-over-year basis."

Mr. Pinsonneault said some observers will blame foreign buyers for helping to boost prices in Vancouver and Toronto, but "it's worth noting those cities are also blessed with the strongest labour markets in the country and hence are able to accommodate large migration flows."

Story continues below advertisement

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter