Buying Property in Canada? Here are 5 Things You Need to Know

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 30 May 2018 11:53

In Canada, non-residents are free to buy property. But the process isn't as simple as making an offer, closing, and moving in permanently. If you plan to buy a home or condo in Canada, here are five things you need to know.

1. The Rules of Foreign Ownership

In Canada, citizenship and property ownership aren't directly related. Anyone can buy property, and there are no restrictions on the type or amount of real estate that can be purchased.

With that said, owning property doesn't provide you with any immigration privileges. If you plan to move to Canada, you'll need to qualify under the country's immigration laws.

So, you're free to buy a condo or a home in Canada, but you won't be able to live there permanently without going through the immigration process.

2. The Tax Implications

As of April 2017, anyone who is not a permanent resident or Canadian citizen will be subject to a Non-Resident Speculation Tax of 15% of the property's purchase price if located in: Toronto, Durham, Brant, Haldimand, Dufferin, Hamilton, Niagara, Kawartha Lakes, Halton, Peel, Northumberland, Simcoe, Peterborough, Wellington, Waterloo and York.

When buying property in Toronto, foreign buyers will pay the same land transfer taxes that Canadians pay.

Non-residents will also face tax implications when selling their property in Canada. Failure to comply with the Canada Revenue Agency's rules would lead to penalties.

3. Getting Insurance Can Be a Challenge

Both homeowners and condo insurance can be challenging to obtain for non-residents. Policies can be more expensive, too.

Proof of insurance is required to even obtain a mortgage, so it's important to get quotes before you even consider making an offer on a property.

4. How to Get Financing

Non-residents can obtain mortgages through Canadian lenders, but they typically require a much larger down payment – usually 35% in cash.

The down payment will likely need to be in a Canadian bank for at least 30 days before closing. And most banks want to be able to trace the source of the down payment back to at least 90 days.

Lenders will also require non-residents to verify their credit worthiness and income before being approved. In some cases, interest rates are higher than what Canadian residents would pay.

To qualify for a mortgage, most lenders will require:

  • 35% down payment

  • Employment letter verifying income in U.S. or Canadian dollars

  • A reference letter from the bank

  • Canadian credit check

  • Three months of bank statements

It's important to note that non-residents will not qualify for any first-time buyer programs or tax rebates offered by the Canadian government.

If you have 100% of the funds to purchase the property, there's no need to worry about obtaining a mortgage. The cash would need to be transferred to your lawyer before the closing date.

5. Location is Still Important

Location is still important when buying real estate in Canada. Housing markets vary widely by city.

In Toronto and Vancouver, where demand is high and supply is low, prices may be significantly higher than other areas, like Saskatoon or Montreal. In Calgary, the local economy is highly dependent on oil, which may mean that the market fluctuates regularly.

Purchasing property close to transit lines can boost the value of a property, so this is something that should be kept in mind when searching for real estate.

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James Stevenson

Hi, My name is James and I've been involved in the property and real estate industry for 10 years now. I hope people will like to read about my thoughts and experiences in the industry and please contact me if you want to discuss my articles further!

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