Rule changes aimed to ease residential home prices come amid already cooling market
The federal government’s ban on foreign ownership of residential property is putting additional pressure on the already struggling Lower Mainland real estate market.
Keith Barron, a real estate and conveyance lawyer at Clark Woods LLP, said the impact is mostly being felt for detached homes in or close to the city of Vancouver.
“It’s obviously depressing the market somewhat in the sectors hardest hit,” he said.
The new regulations draw a tight net.
Barron said purchasing property through a corporation would require the disclosure of all directors and their residency status. He added that foreign students can purchase property, but only if they have lived and filed taxes in Canada for at least five years and the property value is no more than $500,000.
While there is a $10,000 fine for anyone caught contravening the act, it is currently unclear if there is any additional enforcement allocated to tracking down transgressions.
Foreign buyers may find it harder to use workarounds by having a local in Canada legally facilitate their transaction. This has been a problem in the past, but the new law builds in flexibility that allows the government to change the rules if they find foreign buyers circumventing the ban.
The Canadian government implemented the ban at the beginning of the year. The policy aims to restrict foreign buyers from purchasing Canadian real estate to cool down the housing market and make it more accessible to Canadian citizens.
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