Canada’s 2021 Budget Will Likely Have Little Impact On Home Prices

The Canadian real estate industry got what it wanted from the latest budget — nothing. The Government of Canada (GoC) released Budget 2021 this afternoon. Despite housing becoming a boiling point issue, it was largely ignored. There were few commitments that would impact market prices in the near term.

Beneficial Ownership Won’t Be Arriving Until 2025

Great news if you’ve been money laundering in Canada — you have 4 years to clean up your holdings. One key point is bringing transparency to corporate ownership. Opaque ownership in Canada has made it difficult to figure out who the ultimate owner of a property is. Often the ultimate owner of a company that holds or funds the buy of the asset is unknown, and not tracked. Canada plans to end that in the very distant future.

The Government has given $2.1 million in support to create a publicly accessible registry. The registry has a target date of 2025 however, way in the future. The long implementation date means not much will happen in the near term. In fact, you’re likely to pick up a shiny new home at a higher price from someone looking to avoid being revealed. For context, the UK had a similar issue, and they launched their registry this year.

National Foreign Buyer Tax of 1% Annually

Canada will implement a national tax on non-resident, non-Canadian-owned residential real estate. The tax will be an annual recurring 1% of assessed value, on property considered vacant or underused by a non-resident. The tax will be implemented by January 1, 2022. The impact should be minimal, considering Toronto and Vancouver already have non-resident taxes. Vancouver has a recurring vacancy tax as well, and Toronto will have it implemented by next year too.

Non-resident buyers have been less and less of an issue for the past few years. It’s unclear what they’re trying to accomplish with this one. Recent data from BC shows non-resident buyers represented around 1% of transactions. Not exactly enough to move the needle by much, and a demographic more likely to pay the tax.

Foreign capital is a different issue that’s not addressed by this in any way. This is when citizens or permanent residents earn income abroad but live in Canada. The issue was brought up by a politician earlier this month, who said housing is out of reach for locals. There doesn’t seem to be much of a solution to this one. Local pay is low compared to similar countries.

Funds To Shelter The Most Vulnerable

The Government is committing funds to shelter the most vulnerable. There was $3.8 billion in funding, with $2.5 billion of that money being new. The new money will be used for projects primarily for marginalized communities. Low-income housing, and shelter for persons with accessibility challenges are amongst the demographics to be assisted.

The remaining $1.3 billion was reallocated existing funding, or advancing previous commitments. This funding is grouped into various commitments to build, repair, or convert or create housing. Details are scarce, but this sounds like subsidizing market-based housing. This arguably preserves home prices at higher levels, but that’s a different conversation.

Housing is one of the biggest issues for the government, but they showed weak commitments. Overall the funding will create around 35,600 units of shelter over several years. That barely puts a dent in the number of units needed. This either means the BoC has something in the pipeline later this week, or they’re totally ignoring the market. The latter isn’t entirely a bad thing, as long as they ignore home prices on the way down as well.

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  • Jason Chau 3 years ago

    This is perfect. They need to stop manipulating the market. The only thing they should be doing is facilitate funding for infrastructure approvals.

    • Kath 3 years ago

      By continuing with the status quo, “they” are continuing to “manipulate the market”. So, it’s not “perfect”. However, if you are cool with real estate becoming unaffordable for more and more Canadians and our economy becoming more and more dependant on unproductive real estate, then I guess the current budget and general attitude of Canadian government towards real estate could be construed as “perfect”.

    • D 3 years ago

      > facilitate funding for infrastructure approvals.
      You mean the method of funding public works that governments only commit to when they’ve hit a depression?

  • Ron 3 years ago

    1% January 1st 2022 ? How about 5% may 1st 2021 ? And how will this tax be implemented is very important -no fake rent agreements.

    • D 3 years ago

      This, 5% is reasonable. 1% and next year means nothing and the liberal government don’t want to kill their golden goose.

  • Little Birdie 3 years ago

    Four years to implement a registration database? Wow. Surely they can do this faster. How about using SIN numbers as the default – you can compare to income taxes so you’ll know if the money is local or foreign. And you can use a different system / tracking code for any property owners who are not Canadian.

  • Joe Mainlander 3 years ago

    🏦 + 🖨 = $$$$$$$$$$$ = 🎈🏠🎈 = 💥

  • D 3 years ago

    1% tax on vacant homes is a joke. The government clearly doesn’t want to shew away its pay-pigs(foreign investors looking to buy up real estate). If they really wanted to give the average Canadian a break they’d have put it at 5%.

  • D 3 years ago

    Remember when $50k used to be a lot of money? I did back when I was in grade 5 in 2005. Maybe I was just clueless and it wasn’t much money back then either.

  • Bob Walter 3 years ago

    Bank interest in taxable account is taxed at marginal income tax rate (lets say this is 30%)
    Now we have a foreign buyer tax of 1% for an asset that appreciates – what 15% year over year?
    Must be government math.

    Oh yea and in June we might possibly be looking at wanting to do something with market cooling. So do your over bidding now. Time is running out! /s

  • Ashley 3 years ago

    High cost of living wouldn’t fare well with attracting immigrants or retain high skill talent. I presume there would be a emigration of talent for better opportunities and manageable cost of living.

  • Luighead 3 years ago

    Bullshxt, bullshxt, bullshxt… These fools said they were going to do something about this. A few years ago. I guess they lied. And now, they’re lying, again. Looks like Canada is up for sale, to the highest bidder.

  • Ron 3 years ago

    Immigrants are in for a surprise 🙂 . Come have a look and live , unless you have a lots of money to pay speculators , investors , retirement funds and everybody else on the food chain 🙂 . Working for a wage will not take you far ahead :).

  • Luighead 3 years ago

    Of course, the chinese like it…

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