Canada’s Ban on Foreign Homebuyers

 Canada’s Ban on Foreign Homebuyers 

As of January 1, 2023, Canada has restricted the purchase of residential property by non-Canadians. The Government of Canada has enacted the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by Non-Canadians Act in an effort to stabilize the Canadian housing market and help make homes more affordable for Canadian citizens and those living in Canada. Passed by the Canadian Parliament in June of 2022, this new legislation prevents non-Canadians and corporations controlled by non-Canadians from purchasing, directly or indirectly, any residential property in Canada for two years.

The Act defines residential property as any real property that is a detached home or similar building which contains no more than three dwelling units, as well as semi-detached homes, rowhouses, or condominiums, and vacant land zoned for residential and mixed-use. Thus, the legislation does not explicitly ban the purchase of larger buildings with multiple units.

A key parameter in the Act’s accompanying Regulations notes that this legislation will only apply to properties located in a “Census Metropolitan Area” or a “Census Agglomeration.” A census metropolitan area has a total population of at least 100,000, with at least 50,000 living in its core, while a census agglomeration has a core population of at least 10,000 people, based on data from the previous Census of Population Program. Thus, homes and recreational properties, such as cottages and lake houses, located outside of Census Metropolitan Areas or Census Agglomerations will not be considered residential property and not subject to the ban.

The Act further lays out exceptions to specific categories of individuals who will be allowed to purchase residential properties in the two-year period. There is no ban on the purchase of property by Canadian citizens, persons registered under the Indian Act, and permanent residents. Refugees, buyers with Canadian spouses or partners, and temporary residents studying or working in Canada, all meeting specific criteria, are not subject to the ban. Additionally, the new legislation will not affect individuals who acquire an interest or a real right resulting from death, divorce, separation, or a gift.

Banned individuals who violate the prohibition may be subject to a penalty of up to $10,000 CDN and may be forced to sell the property purchased, “receiving no more than the purchase price paid.” In addition, those who knowingly assist a non-Canadian in “contravening the prohibition” may also be subject to the fine.

The prohibition does not apply if a non-Canadian becomes liable or assumes liability under an agreement of purchase and sale of residential property prior to January 1, 2023.

To learn more about how this may affect your potential of purchasing of a home or vacation property in Canada, please contact us.

This alert serves as a general summary and does not constitute legal guidance. Please contact Mark Kellogg with any specific questions.

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