Trudeau Highlights Vancouver Housing Concern, Says Data Needed

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government may consider taking steps to address concerns about the affordability of Vancouver housing.

Asked why he is giving Statistics Canada C$500,000 ($376,000) to study foreign ownership in the country’s housing market, Trudeau said the government needs data before it makes a decision on whether to act. He singled out Vancouver’s market.

“In my many visits to Vancouver, people have highlighted to me the concerns they have about home ownership there,” Trudeau said Thursday at a press conference in Toronto. The federal government could “eventually be able to work with the province and the municipality perhaps on countering some of the things we find,” he said. “We need to make sure we have some good data to do that and that’s exactly what we started doing.”

The extra funding to study the matter is the latest in a series of signals policy makers are concerned price gains for residential real estate in Toronto and Vancouver are unsustainable, and pose a risk to the nation’s financial system.

Chinese investors spent about C$12.7 billion on real estate in the western Canadian city in 2015, or 33 percent of its C$38.5 billion in total sales, National Bank of Canada estimated in a note to investors.

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