I acknowledge that housing is a significant issue facing Canadians. Housing ownership offers a number of financial, social, and health benefits. Cost of housing, in any country, should be relative to the average income of the domestic population. Unfortunately, when many foreigners, who generally are very wealthy, begin to purchase residential real estate, speculation causes the cost of housing to increase. This is especially true in dense cities with limited housing.
This is important because the average Canadian is now priced out of a home. A home, as opposed to a house, is where Canadians raise families and become part of their communities. A number of foreigners that own Canadian housing don't even live in these houses.
It should be noted that the Canadian government does not keep track of foreign ownership. That is to say that we have no idea what percentage of housing is actually foreign owned. It is also possible, and very easy, for foreigners to purchase real estate through Canadian shell corporations. For this reason, it is difficult to asses what percentage of Canadian residential real estate is foreign owned.
Many countries around the world have begun to restrict foreign housing ownership and I believe it is long past due that Canada does the same.
To address foreign housing ownership, I propose the following:
1. Canadian citizens are unrestricted in housing ownership.
2. Permanent residents may own Canadian housing after a certain time period, which needs to be assessed. This time frame would be between 6 months to 2 years after receiving permanent resident status. Those that already own residential real estate will be grandfathered in.
3. Foreigners may not own any residential real estate. Those that already own residential real estate will be grandfathered in. Residential real estate can be passed down to an immediate family member as long as that family member is a permanent resident or Canadian citizen, or sold to a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
4. Permanent residents, or those seeking citizenship, that wish to own residential real estate, must be declared Canadian tax residents.