Everything you need to know about buying property in Canada!

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If you're considering purchasing property in Canada but you're not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you might be wondering about the rules and regulations surrounding property ownership. Let's dive into the specifics of the prohibition on the purchase of residential property by non-Canadians regulations to understand who can buy property in Canada and how the process works.

Understanding the Canadian housing market

Before we dive into the specifics of buying a property in Canada and the regulations, let's take a look at the current state of the Canadian housing market. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the average price of a home in Canada is $659,395, up by 7.6% from January 2023, but lower than the spike it experienced in February 2022 at $816,720. The better performing markets being Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Despite this improvement, home sales are still below the 10-year average.

Historically, the housing market in Canada has experienced fluctuations in both sales activity and prices. The year-over-year comparison for January 2024 reveals a 22% increase in home sales activity compared to January 2023.

Looking ahead to 2024, it's important to monitor how sales and price trends change and how they impact the Canadian housing market. By leveraging insights from historical data and monitoring key indicators you can make better predictions on when buying a property in Canada is the best time.

Who can buy property in Canada?

According to the prohibition on the purchase of residential property by non-Canadians regulations, only certain individuals and entities are allowed to purchase residential property in Canada. Non-Canadians, defined as individuals who are neither Canadian citizens nor permanent residents, face restrictions on buying property in Canada. However, there are exceptions outlined in the regulations for specific groups, including temporary residents studying or working in Canada, individuals going through significant life changes like divorce or death, and certain classes of foreign nationals such as diplomats or refugees.

Non-residents may encounter additional considerations and regulations depending on the province or territory in which they wish to buy property.

These considerations often include additional taxes, such as:

  • The Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) in Ontario

  • The Foreign Buyers Tax in British Columbia

Additionally, foreign national buyers may need to seek approval from the Canadian government under the Foreign Investment Review Act (FIRA) in certain circumstances, particularly for large-scale property or sensitive industry purchases.

How to buy property in Canada

If you fall into one of the exempted categories or meet the prescribed conditions outlined in the regulations, you can explore the process of buying property in Canada.

This typically involves engaging with real estate agents, navigating legal documentation, and securing financing. 

While the regulations provide clarity on who can purchase property, the actual transactional process follows standard real estate practices, including property inspections, negotiations, and closing procedures.

Determine your eligibility

The first step in buying a property in Canada as a non-resident is to determine your eligibility. If you are allowed to purchase property in Canada, there are certain restrictions and requirements that must be met. These include:

  • A valid passport or other government-issued identification

  • A valid social insurance number (SIN)

  • A down payment of at least 35% of the purchase price (for non-residents, this may be higher)

  • Proof of income and assets

  • A good credit score

Find a real estate agent

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Once you have determined your eligibility, the next step is to find a reputable real estate agent. A real estate agent can help you navigate the Canadian housing market and find properties that meet your needs and budget. They can also assist with the legal and financial aspects of buying a property in Canada.

Make an offer

Once you have found a property that you are interested in, you can make an offer. Your real estate agent can help you negotiate the price and terms of the offer. It's important to have a lawyer review the offer before it is submitted to ensure that all legal requirements are met.

Complete the purchase

If your offer is accepted, you will need to complete the purchase by signing the necessary legal documents and transferring the funds. Your real estate agent and lawyer can guide you through this process and ensure that all legal requirements are met.

Converting your currency to CAD the Easy way

So, you've found your dream property in Canada. Now, let's tackle the next step: converting your hard-earned cash into Canadian Dollars (CAD) so you can make that dream purchase.

Converting currency might sound daunting, but fear not! There are plenty of hassle-free options available to help you make the switch from your home currency to CAD.

One popular choice is using an international money transfer service like EasyFX. With EasyFX, you can convert currencies like Great British Pounds (GBP), United States Dollars (USD) or Euros (EUR) to Canadian Dollars (CAD) quickly and securely.

Plus, their currency exchange specialists are on hand to guide you through the process and ensure you get the best possible exchange rate.

So why wait? Speak to an expert today and start your Canadian property journey with confidence!

Consider the following:

  • Use a currency exchange specialist: EasyFX provides competitive rates when compared to traditional banks, allowing you to save on your transfers.

  • Set up a forward contract: This allows you to lock in an exchange rate for a future transfer and mitigate the risk from potential market fluctuations. However should the rate continue to move after the contract has been agreed upon, you’ll still receive the original agreed exchange rate, presenting a potential disadvantage in choosing a forward contract. However, many looking to purchase property abroad find the stability offered by a forward contract outweighs this disadvantage.

  • Monitor exchange rates: Keep an eye on the currency you hold (whether that’s GBP or EUR for example) to CAD exchange rate and transfer funds when the rate is most favourable.

Does buying a property in Canada give you residency?

One common misconception is that purchasing property in Canada automatically grants residency status. However, buying property alone does not guarantee residency or citizenship rights. Instead, individuals interested in obtaining residency or citizenship must follow the established immigration pathways and fulfil the required criteria set by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

There are several programs and options available for those looking to obtain permanent residency in Canada.

Permanent residency programs

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There are several permanent residency programs available in Canada, including the Express Entry program, the Provincial Nominee Program, and the Atlantic Immigration Pilot. These programs have different eligibility requirements and application processes, but they all offer a pathway to permanent residency in Canada.

Investment-based immigration

Another option for obtaining permanent residency in Canada is through investment-based immigration programs. These programs require a significant investment in a Canadian business or government fund and have specific requirements and application processes, but most share some common elements:

  • Run a successful business or have enough funds to buy or start a business in Canada.

  • Have at least $250,000 that you can invest in your Canadian business.

  • You must have the necessary skills and experience for business development and business management.

Can international students buy property in Canada?

International students studying in Canada may also be interested in buying a property during their time in the country. The good news is that as an international student, you may be eligible to purchase residential property in Canada under certain conditions.

Taxes and fees associated with buying Canadian property

When buying a property in Canada, it's important to be aware of the taxes and fees that may apply. These can include:

  • Property transfer tax

  • Land transfer tax

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST)

  • Harmonized Sales Tax (HST)

  • Capital gains tax (if you sell the property in the future)

It's important to consult with a tax professional to understand your tax obligations as a non-resident property owner in Canada.

How to sell property in Canada

Selling property in Canada as a non-resident follows established procedures similar to those for Canadian citizens and permanent residents. As a non-Canadian seller, you'll need to comply with legal requirements, including property disclosure regulations and tax obligations. Working with a real estate professional familiar with the intricacies of selling property in Canada can streamline the process and ensure compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.

Summary of buying property in Canada as a foreign national

In conclusion, understanding the ins and outs of buying property in Canada as a non-Canadian can seem like navigating a maze, but with the right information and guidance, it's possible. Remember, these regulations are in place to ensure fairness in the housing market and to protect the interests of both residents and non-residents alike. So, if you're dreaming of owning a piece of Canadian real estate, don't let the rules deter you - just make sure you understand them before diving in.

And here's a pro tip: when you're ready to make that purchase or sale, consider partnering with a trusted currency provider like EasyFX to help you navigate currency fluctuations and avoid hefty international transfer fees. It's a small step that can make a big difference in ensuring a smooth and cost-effective transaction. So, armed with knowledge and the right resources, you're well on your way to making your Canadian property ownership dreams a reality!

Can foreign nationals buy property in Canada?
Curious about buying property in Canada? Whether you're a non-resident, international student, or Canadian citizen, we've got you covered.
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How to buy property in Canada as a foreign national (Guide)
Explore the regulations and process for buying property in Canada, including information for non-residents and international students on how it all works.
9 minute read

Ready to buy your next property abroad?

At EasyFX, we understand the importance of seamless international transactions when it comes to buying property overseas. With our range of currency services, we make managing your finances abroad - Easy!

Whether you're dreaming of a beachfront villa or a charming countryside retreat. Let EasyFX be your trusted currency partner in making your overseas property dream a reality.

Speak to an expert
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