Buying A House in Canada: Figures And Facts About Real Estate in Canada
Home of the astounding Niagara Falls, the scenic Lake Louise and some of the most beautiful national parks in the world, Canada has consistently ranked as one of the best countries in the world to live in. With a world-class education system that encourages creativity, famously low crime rate and a very affordable cost of living, Canada has been a very attractive immigration destination for many Hong Kongers.
Do you dream about having your own house, bigger living space, or even a garden for your children to run in and for you to relax and enjoy some family time? If you are living in Hong Kong, buying a property to provide a home for your family and children is a daunting financial burden. Buying a house in Canada is a much more affordable and attractive option. In this article, we sum up some of the facts and figures about buying a house in Canada and the Canadian real estate scene.
Who Can Buy Houses in Canada And How?
The Canadian housing market has an open-door approach when it comes to foreign ownership; there are no particular restrictions against foreign ownership of properties. Permanent residents, regardless of citizenship, have the right to live and buy a property in Canada. Non-residents also have the right to buy properties in Canada, but they must spend less than 6 months per year in the country.
Start by Choosing A Location
Canada is a vast country with 10 provinces and three territories, and each of the provinces has its own characters and style of living. For instance, Ontario is Canada’s most populous province and hosts the biggest city in Canada, Toronto. Ontario is an attractive immigration destination for many skilled professionals and entrepreneurs with its Entrepreneur Program(OINP), as the province continues to grow to become the business hub of the country, where many national and international corporations set up their headquarters.
Quebec, on the other hand, prides itself on the high quality of life balanced by a low cost of living. Being a bilingual province in Canada, Quebec is particularly popular among families with children, who can enjoy an excellent education system. Others prefer Quebec’s interest in immigrant investors with its business-friendly government, low business operation costs, abundant natural resources and dense forest coverage, and comprehensive health insurance system.
So whether you want to buy a holiday home for your children’s summer break, or an uptown apartment to support your entrepreneurial spirit, choosing the suitable location is key.
Have an Experienced Agent
The first step when starting the process of buying a house in Canada is to hire an estate agent, who is a certified member of the Canadian Real Estate Organization, A reliable and experienced agent should know your chosen area well, have insights about the Canadian housing market and knows the latest Canadian real estate trends and policies.
Financing and Mortgage
For non-permanent residents, 35% of the purchase price is required as a down payment. The good news is, foreigners can also get a mortgage from a local bank in Canada.
Tax, Insurance and Other Fees
As of April 2017, a “Non-Resident Speculation Tax” has been implemented. With this tax, foreign owners need to pay an extra tax of 15% of the property’s value when purchasing a residential property located in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Region (GGH), affecting cities in British Columbia and Ontario. The same tax, however, has not been implemented in Quebec. In addition to that, buyers are also subject to a Goods and Services Tax (GST), a Provincial Sales Tax (PST) and a Capital Gains tax. Also, be sure to get property insurance before applying for a mortgage.
When planning for financing, agent’s fees, lawyer’s fees, home inspection fee, condominium fees (if applicable) etc. should also be taken into consideration.
House Prices in Different Canadian Provinces and Cities
The real estate prices differ in different Canadian cities; Toronto and Vancouver are popular housing markets in Canada and have become increasingly expensive over the past years. On the other hand, Montreal offers comparatively lower real estate prices and is fairly easy to find a property in Montreal within a short period of time. Here are the average house prices in different Canadian cities in April 2018:
The average house prices in April 2018 in Canada was CAD $495,000, equivalent to HK$ 2.9 million. The most expensive housing prices in Canada are in British Columbia and Ontario, which cost more than double of the housing prices in Quebec.
Quebec or Ontario: Where Should You Buy a House in Canada?
According to our experiences, Quebec and Ontario are two of the most popular Canadian provinces when considering relocation or immigration to Canada. In terms of buying a house in Canada, here are some of the pros and cons:
Ontario – Pros:
- Ontario has a vibrant entrepreneurial scene, where many Canadian corporations set up their headquarters.
- Ontario is rich in academics, with influences from the University of Toronto and York University.
- Toronto has a huge population of Chinese-speaking immigrants, providing a familiar community.
Ontario – Cons:
- The supply of residential housings in Ontario has stagnated, causing a price surge;
- Higher taxes are in place to curb foreign property owner;
- The cost of living in Ontario is very high;
- The huge population of Chinese-speaking immigrants may hinder your experience with the local Canadian culture.
Quebec – Pros
- The house prices in Quebec are half of that in Ontario, averaging to HK$ 1.7million;
- No foreign buyer taxes are currently in place;
- Quality of life is higher in Quebec: lower cost of living, low crime rate, abundant natural resources etc.
- The arts and culture scenes in Quebec are vivid.
Quebec – Cons:
- As Quebec is a bilingual province, speaking only English may limit your experience outside of big cities such as Montreal.
Thinking About Immigrating to Canada Through Investment?
Are you thinking about immigrating to Canada through investment? Our team of professional immigration lawyer consultants at Simard & Associates are here to help. Feel free to give us a call at +852 2169 0388 or fill in our online enquiry form to get in touch!