Housing survey finds 17.1 percent of Vancouver and Toronto condo owners invest in other units

A new Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation survey attempts to offer more insights into how many condos in Vancouver and Toronto are occupied by owners.

The survey of 42,256 households found that among those who own a condo, 82.9 percent live in their unit. The remaining 17.1 percent are also investors in condos other than the unit they occupy.

Half of the investors rent out the last unit they bought; a third have a family member occupy the condo.

According to the survey, 58.4 percent said they plan on keeping the last unit they bought for more than five years. Another 17.9 percent said they will retain ownership of the investment condo for two to five years.

Only 7.6 percent reported that they plan on flipping the property in less than two years, whereas 16.1 percent responded that they did not know or they didn't answer the question.

The survey did not include foreign investors, corporate investors, or people who own condos in Toronto or Vancouver but do not live in these  metropolitan areas.

Comments (12) Add New Comment
Crucial Facts!
Thanks for giving us these important facts. And as the article says, tho 17% are speculating on the market locally, "The survey did not include foreign investors, corporate investors, or people who own condos in Toronto or Vancouver but do not live in these metropolitan areas." That is shocking and it would significantly raise the proportion of speculators. Investment in Housing in Vancouver is similar to investing in the futures market, the bond market or any sort of financial speculation.
There are social, cultural, economic ramifications for people who simply want to live here.
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Damn!
When I bought my condo 10 years ago the real estate agent tried hard to convince me to also buy the one across the hall from me and rent it out. Since I was buying my first home I was leery about what seemed like a risky investment. Now with my condo being worth 4x more than it was when I bought it, I'm kicking myself for not taking her advice. The reason so many are investing in these two markets is that property has been an awesome investment for a few decades now and the 'bubble burst' that we have been warned about for then entire time has not materialized.

As for foreign investors, most of the economic and cultural changes we have seen here are due to immigrants actually moving here to live. The massive spike in real estate value was almost totally due to Chinese immigrants, especially the first waves which were primarily the well-off from Hong Kong. They left their homes there out of fear of what the Communist Chinese government was going to do when they took over, after the British vacated in 1997. Now most Asian immigrants are coming here because we have a fantastic educational system and a good way of life. The offshore investor scenario has been blown out of proportion.
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your name here
"The survey did not include foreign investors, corporate investors, or people who own condos in Toronto or Vancouver but do not live in these metropolitan areas."

So, in other words, this survey is worthless.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNG5Ptrxweo
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Joe Mainlander
@Damn!

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver Stats, (available at their website), benchmark Metro Van Apartment;

July 2008 = $367k
July 2014 = $376k

Nominally fairly flat. Taking inflation into account, about an 8% drop in real dollars.

While detached is rising, condo prices have been slowly sinking for over half a decade. There is a quiet correction occurring. Condos are not much of an 'awesome' investment. A GIC would have done better.
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Mark
@Damn! It's true that most Asian investors do come here for our great climate, education system and overall high quality of life. The problem is that the main bread winner almost always has their business offshore, and they spend most of their time in that country, therefore avoiding paying Canadian income taxes.

People have to realize that sales taxes and real estate taxes are only a part of what keeps Canada going. Income taxes also fund a large portion of government services.
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Disgusted
@ mark

Absolutely correct on income tax: it's importance and the fact that offshore owners who become landed immigrants or citizens often either park their families here or spend a nominal amount of time here.

Canada Border Services has recently revealed it does not have adequate ways to follow those who 'exit' the country for extended periods. Indeed, there are immigrants who have mostly lived outside Canada, even as they enjoy the benefits and coverage that their citizenship gives them.

Unless they have given up their right to property ownership (certainly not the case for the typical 'investor' immigrant) in order to pay taxes in the jurisdiction where they work, all Canadians are supposed to file income tax. A recent Globe and Mail story on the scrapped federal Investor Immigrant program said that of the wealthy 150,000 (!!!) immigrants that had applied for citizenship through the program, few had filed income tax returns. And of those that had, magically, they were contributing $2000, 000 ovr the course of their time in Canda than a ...nanny!

This whole scheme and the rapacious appetites of cities and the developers that control them has left us with very little income tax to have passed down from the feds and province.

Sorry, kids. But your empty overseas immigrant investor condos and homes not only create housing and pricing problems for the sme, but are actually a drag on the economy as they do not house people who are committed to working or building businesses in Canada. The fact that they may contribute some property and sale tax cannot make up for the lack of income tax.

Ths of course, means that thee and me are susidizing some amazingly wealthy people who take full advantage of the system in order to get a decent education , health care and transit for those they leave behind. Ridiculous state of affairs.
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Damn!
Lol. So what pissed everyone off so much about my remarks? Was it that I own a condo and have made a nice profit - as everyone I know has - or was it that most Asian's actually do live here full time, or was it that we are known for having an excellent educational system? I know it runs contrary to all of the doom and gloomers who post here. I'm guessing most are renters and are upset that they can't afford to buy and are looking for scapegoats.

There's no way I could afford to buy a condo in Vancouver with my current, low income, but when I bought in 2004 they were still fairly cheap and rocketed after that, in part because of paranoia that the lending rate was going to go up. But after that it was just the pressure of demand from an influx of young professionals who can afford to buy in East Vancouver.
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Bruce
@Disgusted

"...Sorry, kids. But your empty overseas immigrant investor condos and homes not only create housing and pricing problems for the sme, but are actually a drag on the economy as they do not house people who are committed to working or building businesses in Canada. The fact that they may contribute some property and sale tax cannot make up for the lack of income tax...."

Not even mentioning the fact their "investments" in Canada often consist of becoming investors in Canadian enterprises, and then transferring them as much as possible back to China.
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Bruce
@Damn

"..Was it that I own a condo and have made a nice profit...?"

Until you've sold, you're a fool to say you've made a profit.
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Damn!
@Joe Mainlander:

Buying a second condo, renting it and using the rent to pay off the mortgage sounds like a good investment to me, especially when you sell it for a profit. Riskier than GIC's but way more awesome than them.
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Bruce
@Damn!

Ask an american homeowner about the wisdom of that plan. Warning: they may fall into hysterical laughter before you can finish the question, or begin to sob uncontrollably.
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your name here
@Damn!

You'll need a DeLorean/time machine, 1.21 Gigawatts of electricity, and a forward velocity of 88.8 miles an hour to make that investment plan work these days.

Bruce nailed it by noting that unless you sell, you've actually realized zero profit. Comparables within your building are numbers on the page, unless a buyer steps up and you sell. I sincerely hope for your sake you didn't take out a home equity line of credit against your "profit".

Say hi to 2004 for me.
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