Japa: Fresh challenges as Canada extends ban on foreign property buyers

For Nigerians and other immigrants in Canada who are having challenges with finding homes, the end to this problem is no longer in sight as the authorities of the North American country have extended the ban it placed on foreign property buyers.

The ban which would have expired by January 1, 2025, according to officials of the state, has now been extended by three years to January 1, 2027. Part of the reason for this ban is to give more Canadian citizens access to homes.

This action which is expected to affect Nigerians and other foreigners in the country, is part of the country’s response to the escalating housing crisis that has seen many immigrants, including Nigerians, find homes in odd places such as cemeteries and streets.
Canada, like Nigeria, is burdened by rising housing deficit and affordability issues. But unlike Nigeria, Canada is making moves to solve the housing problem. Banning foreigners from owning homes in the country is part of those moves.

According to the authorities of the country, there has been a decline in owner-occupied homes which they have blamed on commercial and speculative home buyers who are predominantly foreigners in the country.

Again, unlike Nigeria, the government says it has plans to build more homes faster and put home ownership back within reach for more Canadians. Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s deputy prime minister, was quoted in a new report as saying that by extending the foreign buyer ban, the country would ensure houses are used as homes for Canadian families to live in and do business.

Houses should not become a speculative financial assets class,” he said, assuring, “the government is intent on using all possible tools to make housing more affordable for Canadians across the country.”
The government of the country enacted the Prohibition on the Purchase of Residential Property by the Non-Canadians Act in 2022 to bar international investors from acquiring residential property in the country and ensure the housing market remains available for indigenous people.

A statement from the country’s Department of Finance stresses that foreign commercial businesses and non-Canadians or permanent residents will continue to be barred from purchasing residential property in the country.

This comes on the heels of reports which note that between the two Canadian censuses in 2016 and 2021, the number of Canadians living in owner-occupied homes dropped from 69 percent to 66.5 percent which is the lowest number since 2022.
Because of the country’s high immigrant population like Lagos in Nigeria, Canada has a very activie rental market which is already over-stretched do to high demand, low supply and affordability issues.

The country is therefore gripped by a surge in homelessness that has seen tens of thousands of people priced out of the rental and real estate markets and left to live in the streets of the wealthy nation.

A report by researchers warns that government data is vastly underestimating the number of homeless across the country, as it spreads from major cities to small towns.

The report notes that, in Quebec which is one of the provinces in the country, one in two homeless people can be found in rural parts of the eastern province, instead of mainly in Montreal as had been the case in the past.


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