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Canadian Government Amends Extended Ban on Foreign Ownership of Housing

Last February, the Canadian government announced its decision to extend the ban on foreign ownership of residential properties for an additional two years.

Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, made the announcement last February.

Yesterday, Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, announced amendments to the act.

The amendments aim to:

  • Enable more work permit holders to purchase residential property.

  • Repeal provisions prohibiting the purchase of vacant land.

  • Create exceptions for non-Canadians purchasing property for development.

  • Increase the corporation foreign control threshold from 3% to 10%.

These changes, effective March 27, 2023, seek to bolster housing supply and support newcomers and businesses in contributing to Canada's housing landscape.

Foreign investment in Canadian real estate has long been cited as a contributing factor to housing affordability challenges, particularly in major urban centers.

By extending the ban until January 1, 2027, the government aims to curb speculation and address concerns about Canadians being priced out of their local housing markets.

Despite the government's move, economists and real estate experts assert that foreign buyers have not been the primary drivers of property demand in Canada.

They argue that the extension of the ban may serve more as a political maneuver, especially in the lead-up to next year's election, rather than a substantial solution to the housing crisis.

While the ban aims to alleviate housing affordability issues, critics contend that it may not directly address the fundamental problem of housing supply shortages.

They advocate for a more robust approach focused on increasing the pace of home construction to meet the growing demand.

With housing affordability emerging as a critical issue for Canadians, the government's decision to extend the ban reflects its ongoing efforts to prioritize the needs of Canadian residents.

The effectiveness of this measure in addressing the root causes of the housing crisis remains a subject of debate.

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