When it comes to housing policy, the Canadian government wants to start making some more informed decisions. And its efforts towards doing so are well underway.
The government branch Statistics Canada (StatCan) is currently in the process of compiling an extensive database called the Housing Statistics Framework, whose purpose is to track all sorts of variables related to housing transactions. This will include everything from price information to owner demographics.
In creating the Housing Statistics Framework and collecting that data, the government is hoping that it can better tailor its policy decisions to the state of the market. As it discovered in hindsight, such information would've been incredibly valuable last summer when provincial and national policy makers struggled to combat the irregular Toronto and Vancouver markets.
Of particular importance to this project will be the data regarding foreign buyers, which helped fuel the boom in those two major cities. Early returns on that information have already come in for Ontario, thanks to a recent policy change, which revealed that foreign buyers accounted for 4.7 per cent of real-estate purchases between April 24 and May 26 in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region.
The federal budget released in March allocated $39.9-million over five years towards the Housing Statistics Framework. The team working on the project currently has over 15 members. Renewal will occur on a quarterly basis, should things be proceeding properly.
While the goal is to produce a database that provides comprehensive and accurate statistics for all of Canada, the team's energies will initially be focused on the areas of greatest importance.
"The data must be first provided to big real-estate markets, and so we are concentrating on Toronto and Vancouver," explained Haig McCarrell, director of the Investment, Science and Technology Division at Statistics Canada.