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Foreign-investor impact unknown, admits CMHC

By Frank O'Brien for Business in Vancouver

A lead analyst for Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) made a startling admission to a developer-packed conference in Vancouver May 25 regarding the impact of foreign capital on the Metro residential market.

“We don’t know,” Eric Bond, CMHC market analysis principal, told the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade’s Housing Forum 2018, despite an intense focus on the role of foreign buyers in the Metro housing market by Statistics Canada and B.C.’s Ministry of Finance over the past two years.

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“We do not know, concretely, what the impact of foreign capital has been on the Vancouver housing market,” Bond said. “Anyone claiming otherwise, whether they are claiming it is a big deal or not a big deal, is stating an opinion [because] we do not currently have the data to answer that question.”

Bond, a key member of a forum panel on the impact of foreign investment, added that foreign capital flows into real estate in Canada “are not tracked and until we have data on that and where it is going, it is very difficult to determine” its impact.

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