Immigrants less likely to own single-detached houses, StatsCan report finds

Immigrants own proportionally fewer single-detached homes than Canadian-born residents, a new report has found, but in Vancouver, the ones they do own likely come with a higher sticker price.

A Statistics Canada study published Tuesday explores the degree to which immigrants are integrated into different segments of the housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver.

It found that immigrants own 43 per cent of all residential properties in Toronto and 37 per cent in Vancouver. 

The study examined only properties owned by people who live in Canada, therefore excluding foreign-owned properties. It used assessed property values from 2016 in Toronto and 2017 in Vancouver.

Of the homes owned by immigrants in Vancouver, 39 per cent are single-detached houses, compared to 48 per cent for Canadian-born residents.

Yet in Vancouver, those immigrant-owned detached properties had an average assessed value of $1.8 million— $255,100 more than the average value of detached homes owned by Canadian residents.

In Toronto, the report found the picture was a bit different: About half of properties owned by immigrants were single-detached houses, compared to 60 per cent of homes owned by Canadian-born residents. 

The report found only a slim margin of difference in assessed property values of the homes owned by the two groups. In this case, the detached properties of Canadian-born residents were worth about $20,000 more than those owned by immigrants.

Recent investor immigrants spend more

Home value varied more when the programs that brought the immigrant homeowners to Canada were taken into account.

Recent immigrants are defined in this report as those who immigrated to Canada between 2009 and 2016. People in this group own five per cent of all single-detached homes in the Vancouver area, with an average assessed value of $2.3 million. That’s $823,900 higher than the average for Canadian-born owners of detached houses.

Drilling down further still, those who arrived in Canada as recent investor immigrants own more expensive Vancouver properties than those in all other immigration programs.

The average value of a detached home owned by those who arrived through the Federal Immigrant Investors Program in Vancouver was $3.1 million. That figure was $2.4 million for those who arrived through the B.C. Provincial Nominee Program, compared to $1.6 million for those who immigrated through skilled workers programs.

It’s no surprise that the investor immigrants have more money to spend on housing, said Hilliard MacBeth, an Edmonton-based financial adviser and author of When the Bubble Bursts: Surviving the Canadian Real Estate Crash.

“The general idea is that you have to have some money and you have to have some kind of economic contribution. Obviously, those people have a lot more money than the average Canada,” he said.

Recent investor immigrants to Toronto also own more expensive detached homes than those who arrived through other programs. However, the difference in assessed value between recent investor immigrants to Toronto compared to their Canadian-born Toronto neighbours is less pronounced.

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