Economic Insights
Non-resident Ownership of Residential Properties in Toronto and Vancouver: Initial Information from the Canadian Housing Statistics Program

by Guy Gellatly and René Morissette
Analytical Studies Branch

Release date: December 19, 2017

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This article in the Economic Insights series highlights new data on the ownership of residential properties in Toronto and Vancouver by non-residents of Canada. It reports on the prevalence of non-resident ownership for different types of housing, including single-detached houses, semi-detached houses, row houses and condominium apartments, and compares the property values of non-resident and resident-owned assets. Information on the location, age and size of condominium apartments is used to assess differences in the value of non-resident-owned properties.  

The article complements the initial release of data from the Canadian Housing Statistics Program, available on CANSIM as of December 19, 2017.

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Introduction

The first release of cross-sectional data from the Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP) is intended to provide a richer understanding of the economic weight of non-resident-owned assets in different segments of the Toronto and Vancouver housing markets. These initial data allow for estimates of the scope of non-resident ownership in both cities as of mid-2017, following periods of significant housing price inflation during which legislative measures were introduced to address the potential inflationary impact of foreign-buyer activity.Note 1

The CHSP data include estimates of the number and assessed value of selected types of properties owned by non-residents, including single-detached houses, semi-detached houses, row houses, and condominium apartments.Note 2 Estimates are available for the Toronto and Vancouver census metropolitan areas (CMAs). This study examines differences in the assessed property value of non-resident and resident-owned condominium apartments, and evaluates the extent to which differences in value can be explained by the location, age and size of these properties.

Non-resident ownership more prevalent for condominium apartments

The new CHSP data show that non-residents owned 3.4% of all residential properties in Toronto and the assessed value of these properties accounted for 3.0% of total residential property value in that CMA.Note 3  In Vancouver, non-residents owned 4.8% of residential properties, valued at 5.1% of total residential property value.

Estimates of non-resident ownership varied across housing types. In both CMAs, non-resident ownership was more prevalent for condominium apartments.Note 4 Non-residents owned 7.2% of condominium apartments in Toronto and 7.9% of these units in Vancouver. By comparison, 2.1% of single-detached houses in Toronto, and 3.2% of single-detached houses in Vancouver, were owned by non-residents (Chart 1). 

Chart 1 Ownership of residential properties by non-residents, selected housing types, Toronto and Vancouver CMAs

Data table for Chart 1
Data table for Chart 1
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1. The information is grouped by Residential property types (appearing as row headers), All residential properties, Single-detached houses , Semi-detached houses, Row houses and Condominium apartments, calculated using percent units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Residential property types All residential properties Single-detached houses Semi-detached houses Row houses Condominium apartments
percent
Vancouver CMA 4.8 3.2 3.3 3.4 7.9
Toronto CMA 3.4 2.1 2.6 2.9 7.2

Non-resident-owned properties in Toronto and Vancouver have higher assessment values

Residential assets owned by non-residents differ from resident-owned properties in terms of their average assessment value. Table 1 reports the average and median assessment values for specific property types, while Chart 2 plots the dollar-value difference in the average assessment value of non-resident and resident-owned properties.  

Table 1
Average and median assessment values of residential properties, by residency of owner and selected housing type
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average and median assessment values of residential properties Average assessment value , Difference: non-residents minus residents, Median assessment value , Total , Properties owned by non-residents, Properties owned by residents and Total, calculated using dollars units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Average assessment value Difference: non-residents minus residents Median assessment value Difference: non-residents minus residents
Total Properties owned by non-residents Properties owned by residents Total Properties owned by non-residents Properties owned by residents
dollars
Toronto CMA
All residential properties 725,400 645,000 728,200 -83,200 588,000 513,000 590,000 -77,000
Single-detached houses 842,800 944,100 840,600 103,500 725,000 787,000 724,000 63,000
Semi-detached houses 620,600 681,300 618,900 62,300 563,000 620,000 562,000 58,000
Row houses 501,400 541,500 500,200 41,300 458,000 488,000 458,000 30,000
Condominium apartments 389,300 420,700 386,900 33,800 343,000 371,000 340,000 31,000
Vancouver CMA
All residential properties 1,161,700 1,238,400 1,157,900 80,500 817,000 751,000 820,000 -69,000
Single-detached houses 1,590,900 2,275,900 1,568,100 707,800 1,273,100 1,621,500 1,264,000 357,500
Semi-detached houses 1,162,400 1,283,100 1,158,300 124,800 1,099,000 1,220,000 1,095,600 124,400
Row houses 617,800 709,400 614,500 94,900 544,000 628,000 542,000 86,000
Condominium apartments 543,600 692,000 530,800 161,200 440,000 528,000 433,000 95,000

Toronto

In the Toronto CMA, the average assessed value of all residential properties owned by non-residents was $645,000 in May 2017, $83,200 lower than the average value of all resident-owned properties. This in part reflects compositional differences in the types of housing owned by the two groups, as non-residents are more likely to own condominium apartments, which have lower average property values than other types of housing.Note 5 While condominium apartments account for about one-fifth of all residential properties in Toronto, they make up 44% of all properties owned by non-residents.

Notable differences in property value were apparent when comparing specific types of residential housing. Non-resident-owned properties exhibited higher mean and median property values for each of the specific types of housing examined. The average assessment value of single-detached houses owned by non-residents in Toronto was $103,500 higher than the average for Canadian residents. For condominium apartments, the average value of non-resident-owned units was $33,800 higher than the average value of those owned by residents.    

Vancouver

In Vancouver, differences in the value of non-resident and resident-owned properties were substantially larger. While condominium apartments account for 32% of all residential properties in Vancouver, they make up 53% of all properties owned by non-residents. Despite the fact that non-residents are proportionately more likely to own condominium apartments, the average value of all residential assets in Vancouver owned by non-residents was $80,500 higher than the average for Canadian residents.

Substantial differences in property value were apparent for specific types of housing. At the extreme are differences in the value of single-detached houses. For the Vancouver CMA as a whole, the average value of single-detached houses owned by non-residents was $707,800 higher than the average for residents. The average market value of single-detached houses owned by non-residents in Vancouver was $2,275,900, compared to $1,568,100 for those owned by residents. The difference in average property value between the two groups was similar in magnitude to the average value of a single-detached house in Toronto ($842,800). This largely reflects the impact of high-value properties in the census subdivisions (CSDs) of Greater Vancouver A, the City of Vancouver, and West Vancouver.Note 6 When single-detached houses in these areas are excluded, the gap in average property values between non-resident and resident owners declined to about $250,000.

Among condominium apartments—which comprise one-third of all residential properties in the Vancouver CMA, and over one-half of properties owned by non-residents—the average value of non-resident-owned units was $161,200 higher than resident-owned units.

Chart 2 Difference in average assessment value between residential properties owned by non-residents and residents, selected housing types, Toronto and Vancouver CMAs

Data table for Chart 2
Data table for Chart 2
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 2. The information is grouped by Residential property types (appearing as row headers), All residential properties, Single-detached houses, Semi-detached houses, Row houses and Condominium apartments, calculated using dollars units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Residential property types All residential properties Single-detached houses Semi-detached houses Row houses Condominium apartments
dollars
Toronto CMA -83,200 103,500 62,300 41,300 33,800
Vancouver CMA 80,500 707,800 124,800 94,900 161,200

How do location, size and age contribute to higher property values for non-residents?

Differences in assessment values reflect a host of property-specific characteristics—including the location, size, and age of the property—that can serve to differentiate the types of assets owned by non-residents from those owned by Canadian residents. The CHSP data also include information on location (measured at the CSD level), total living area, and the age of the property, which can be used to evaluate average differences in the value of non-resident and resident-owned assets.

This part of the analysis aims to quantify the impact of these factors in explaining differences in the value of non-resident and resident-owned properties. To ensure that the data are as robust as possible for purposes of comparison, the sample was restricted to condominium apartments. As noted earlier, ownership rates among non-residents are highest for condominium apartments, which comprise 44% of all non-resident-owned housing assets in Toronto, and 53% of these assets in Vancouver.      

Toronto

Table 2 presents average assessment values for the Toronto CMA and for selected municipalities.Note 7 Two estimates of the difference in property values between non-resident and resident-owned condominium apartments are reported. The first is the unadjusted, or raw, differences in the average assessment value between the two groups. The second is the adjusted difference in the average property value of non-resident and resident-owned condominium apartments, after taking property-specific differences in living area and age of housing into account. The adjusted estimates for Toronto also control for differences in the location of condominium apartments across CSDs. The wider the gap between the unadjusted and the adjusted differences, the more differences between non-resident and resident property values can be explained by fundamental factors such as age, size and location.

Table 2
Average asssessment values for condominium apartments owned by non-residents and residents, Toronto CMA and selected CSDs
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average asssessment values for condominium apartments owned by non-residents and residents Average assessment value , Difference, Non-residents , Residents , Unadjusted and Adjusted, calculated using dollars units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Average assessment value Difference
Non-residents Residents Unadjusted Adjusted
dollars
Toronto CMA 420,500 385,900 34,600Note *** 25,200Note ***
Toronto (CY) 438,900 406,900 32,000Note *** 31,200Note ***
Mississauga (CY) 305,000 289,600 15,400Note *** 2,900Note **
Markham (CY) 375,800 371,500 4,300 1,400
Brampton (CY) 231,300 230,000 1,400 -1,800
Vaughan (CY) 395,500 409,900 -14,500Note * -2,200
Richmond Hill (T) 341,500 334,800 6,800 1,900
Oakville (T) 418,300 436,600 -18,300 15,000Table 2 Note 
Pickering (CY) 285,700 298,100 -12,400 900
Ajax (T) 246,000 237,800 8,200 4,300

For the Toronto CMA as a whole, differences in condominium apartment location, size and age have a modest net impact on explaining the difference in property values between those owned by non-residents and residents. About one-quarter of the overall difference in Toronto can be explained via a regression model that simultaneously controls for these characteristics. While both property size and age, individually, are strongly associated with differences in value, these factors largely offset when evaluated jointly. Non-residents tend to own newer condominium apartments in Toronto, which increases their value; however, they also tend to own smaller condominium apartments, which reduces their relative value. Lastly, differences in location, measured at the CSD level, have only a modest effect on explaining the gap between the two groups.Note 8

Chart 3 Difference in average assessment value between condominium apartments owned by non-residents and residents, selected CSDs in the Toronto CMA

Data table for Chart 3
Data table for Chart 3
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 3. The information is grouped by Census subdivisions (appearing as row headers), Adjusted difference and Unadjusted difference , calculated using dollars units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Census subdivisions Adjusted difference Unadjusted difference
dollars
Toronto (CY) 31,200 32,000
Vaughan (CY) -2,200 -14,500
Mississauga (CY) 2,900 15,400

The impact of size and age on explaining differences in property value varies across CSDs, notably for the City of Toronto, Mississauga and Vaughan. In both the city of Toronto and Mississauga, the average property value of non-resident-owned condominium apartments is significantly larger than resident-owned units. In the City of Toronto, home to three-quarters of condominium apartments in the Toronto CMA, differences in the size and age of condominium apartments cannot explain the gap in property values between the two groups. A more likely determinant of the gap is the (unmeasured) variation in condominium apartment values across specific neighborhoods within the City of Toronto, if non-residents are more likely to purchase properties in high-value neighborhoods.Note 9

More evidence of the explanatory impact of property size and age is apparent for the CSDs of Mississauga and Vaughan. In Mississauga, controlling for these factors explains about 80% of the differences in value between non-resident and resident-owned condominium apartments.Note 10 The effect is different in Vaughan as condominium apartments owned by non-residents have lower average property values than resident-owned units. Controlling for age and property size effectively eliminates the gap between the two groups.

Vancouver

Table 3 reports the unadjusted and adjusted differences for the Vancouver CMA and selected municipalities. On balance, location, property size and age of housing have a stronger impact on explaining differences in property value in Vancouver. For the Vancouver CMA as a whole, nearly two-thirds of the gap in property value between non-residents and residents can be explained by these factors. Differences in the location of condominium apartments, measured at the CSD level, account for just under 40% of the difference between the two groups, while size and age together account for about one-quarter of the difference.

Table 3
Average asssessment values for condominium apartments owned by non-residents and residents, Vancouver CMA and selected CSDs
Table summary
This table displays the results of Average asssessment values for condominium apartments owned by non-residents and residents Average assessment value , Difference, Non-residents , Residents , Unadjusted and Adjusted, calculated using dollars units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Average assessment value Difference
Non-residents Residents Unadjusted Adjusted
dollars
Vancouver CMA 691,500 526,700 164,800Note *** 58,800Note ***
Vancouver (CY) 933,200 742,600 190,500Note *** 80,500Note ***
Surrey (CY) 249,800 249,400 400 2,800Table 3 Note 
Richmond (CY) 464,000 409,500 54,400Note *** 11,900Note ***
Burnaby (CY) 513,200 455,600 57,600Note *** 23,300Note ***
Coquitlam (CY) 420,500 377,700 42,900Note *** 6,900Note ***
New Westminster (CY) 390,700 378,300 12,400Note * 7,200Note **
Langley (DM) 293,300 295,200 -2,000 -500
North Vancouver (CY) 589,500 545,400 44,100Note *** 11,000Note *
Port Coquitlam (CY) 301,500 291,700 9,800 -5,300Note *
Maple Ridge (CY) 211,200 222,900 -11,800 -6,400Note *
North Vancouver (DM) 470,800 512,100 -41,300Note ** 6,300
Port Moody (CY) 478,700 459,600 19,100Table 3 Note  7,700Note *
Delta (DM) 346,900 390,100 -43,200Note * -13,200
Langley (CY) 212,000 213,100 -1,100 2,900
White Rock (CY) 405,100 381,400 23,700 4,600
Greater Vancouver A (RDA) 894,500 858,800 35,700 2,000
West Vancouver (DM) 1,147,800 1,141,000 6,800 45,000
Pitt Meadows (CY) 312,900 280,900 32,000Note * -14,400Note **

Chart 4 Difference in average assessment value between condominium apartments owned by non-residents and residents, selected CSDs in the Vancouver CMA

Data table for Chart 4
Data table for Chart 4
Table summary
This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 4. The information is grouped by Census subdivisions (appearing as row headers), Adjusted difference and Unadjusted difference , calculated using dollars units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Census subdivisions Adjusted difference Unadjusted difference
dollars
Vancouver (CY) 80,500 190,500
Richmond (CY) 11,900 54,400
Burnaby (CY) 23,300 57,600
Coquitlam (CY) 6,900 42,900
New Westminster (CY) 7,200 12,400
North Vancouver (CY) 11,000 44,100
North Vancouver (DM) 6,300 -41,300
Port Moody (CY) 7,700 19,100
Delta (DM) -13,200 -43,200
Pitt Meadows (CY) -14,400 32,000

Property size and age also explain much of the difference in property values in larger CSDs within Vancouver. In the City of Vancouver, the average value of condominium apartments owned by non-residents is $933,200, just over $190,000 higher than resident-owned units. Controlling for differences in size and age reduces the gap by about 60%, to $80,500. Substantial reductions in the gap are also apparent for the larger CSDs of Richmond, Burnaby and Coquitlam, in which properties owned by non-residents have higher assessment values.

Conclusion

This article highlights selected findings from the initial release of data from the Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP). It reports on non-resident ownership in different segments of the Toronto and Vancouver housing markets, and compares differences in the value of residential assets owned by non-residents and residents. In both census metropolitan areas, residential properties owned by non-residents tended to have higher property values than those owned by Canadian residents for each specific type of housing examined.

For condominium apartments in Toronto, differences in location (measured at the census subdivision level), property age, and property size were found to have a modest net impact on explaining the higher value of non-resident-owned units. Property size and age have little impact on explaining the gap between non-resident and resident condominium values in the City of Toronto, while these factors account for much of the differences in Mississauga and Vaughan.

For condominium apartments in Vancouver, property location, size and age explain substantially more of the variation in property values between non-resident and resident-owned units. Controlling for property size and age substantially reduces the differences in average property values in the City of Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby and Coquitlam. 

The article highlights the analytical potential of CHSP data, which will grow in scope as the database evolves. In addition to data for other urban areas, future releases of CHSP data will contain information on the financing of residential assets along with other property-level characteristics. Time-series data will also be developed. These data will support analyses of the relative contribution of non-residents to changes in the value of housing as well as other housing-related issues going forward.  

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