12/16/2014 12:41 EST | Updated 02/15/2015 05:59 EST

Condo foreign ownership less than 2.4%, CMHC says

Canada's national housing agency poured cold water on the notion that foreign money is driving up Canada's condo market, arguing in a paper Tuesday that foreigners own no more than 2.4 per cent of all the condos in Canada.

As part of its mandate to monitor Canada's housing market, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation publishes a report twice a year looking at details of local rental markets across the country. The report is tabulated in April and October every year, and for the first time the October report published Tuesday looked at how many foreigners are buying condos.

The answer? Not many.

Based on extensive interviews and site visits with property owners and managers across the country, here's a list of the CMHC's best guess as to how many foreigners own condo units in Canada's 11 biggest census metropolitan areas:

- Victoria: 1.1 per cent,

- Vancouver: 2.3 per cent,

- Calgary: 0.2 per cent,

- Edmonton: 0.1 per cent,

- Saskatoon: 0.3 per cent,

- Regina: 0.1 per cent,

- Winnipeg: 0.1 per cent,

- Toronto: 2.4 per cent,

- Ottawa: 0.7 per cent,

- Montreal: 1.5 per cent and

- Quebec: 0.6 per cent.

The report should surprise anyone who believes the many local narratives that foreigners are the driving force pushing condo prices much higher than their fundamentals would otherwise indicate.

The CMHC does concede that foreign condo ownership is higher in downtown cores. The rate for the Montreal area as a whole may be 1.5 per cent, but it jumps to 6.9 per cent on Nun's Island, CMHC says.

Similarly, in downtown Toronto the rate is 4.3 per cent, compared with 2.4 per cent for the census metropolitan area as a whole.

And Vancouver’s Burrard Peninsula has a foreign investor rate of 5.8 per cent, compared with 2.3 per cent for the area as a whole.

More to come