Policy makers came across a major obstacle while dealing with the rising real estate prices in the Vancouver and Toronto areas: there was no comprehensive database tracking all the potential variables at play, especially when it came to foreign buyers. So efforts are being made at Statistics Canada to completely eliminate the problem.
Haig McCarrell, director of the Investment, Science and Technology Division at Statistics Canada, along with his team is compiling the Housing Statistics Framework, an ambitious database that will contain everything from price information to owner demographics on every property and piece of land in the country. The team is tapping both private and public sources as well as pre-existing statistics such as census records in order to build the robust national database.
After acquiring the data, it will be cleaned and packaged in such a way that it is consistent and can be useful to researchers and policy makers. The formation of the database will be encouraged by a National Property Register, which will keep tabs on every property and information about their respective owners in Canada. The Housing Statistics Framework would mine that data to generate statistics on foreign ownership, average prices, mortgage data, vacancy rates, property size and homebuyer characteristics. The HSF will be renewed on a quarterly basis and is scheduled to be complete by the end of this year, though not all regions will receive their data at the same time.