Photo: James Bombales

The amount of non-permanent residents (NPR) buying homes and taking on mortgages is growing in Canada’s major metropolitan areas.

From 2014 to 2016, mortgages issued to these groups saw an increase in most major cities due to NPR population growth across the nation, according to a report by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), published on Tuesday.

In 2016, NPR accounted for 3.9 per cent of mortgages issued in Vancouver, which remained unchanged from 2015. However, in Toronto, the share of NPR mortgages increased to 2.7 per cent in 2016 compared to 2.1 per cent a year earlier.  

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“Many of them (NPR) occupy rental accommodation while in Canada, however evidence from the five largest Canadian chartered banks show many purchase homes as well,” writes CMHC Senior Market Analyst Andrew L. Scott, in the report.

CMHC defines NPR as foreign nationals who are in Canada on a temporary basis, including workers, international students and in-land refugee claimants.

In Edmonton and Calgary, the amount of NPR mortgages in 2016 remained unchanged compared to 2015 at 2.9 per cent and 2.4 per cent, respectively. In Montreal, NPR mortgages saw an uptick to 1.9 per cent in 2016 compared to 1.7 per cent in 2015.

“Some of this [growth] is likely a result of longer stays and shifting immigration from source countries that have a stronger ownership ethic,” reads the report.

Growth in NPR mortgages became more pronounced when the focus was narrowed to younger age groups, particularly in Vancouver and Toronto.

In 2016, the share of mortgages for NPR between the ages of 18 to 44 in Toronto increased to 3.4 per cent compared to 3.1 per cent in 2015. In Vancouver, NPR mortgages within this age group saw a slight drop in 2016 at 4.7 per cent compared to 5 per cent a year prior.

In addition, NPR under the age of 25 in Toronto and Vancouver represented roughly 10 per cent of total mortgages issued in 2016. CMHC says this could be a sign that some younger NPR may be receiving support from the Bank of Mom and Dad.

Single-detached homes accounted for the largest share of purchases made by NPR in 2016, except in Vancouver and Montreal where the majority of NPR preferred condos.

CMHC’s report also gathered data about non-resident mortgages, which refers to individuals who lived outside of Canada at the time of purchasing a home.

From 2014 to 2016, CMHC notes that the share of mortgages held by non-residents was low in most major cities. In 2016, non-residents accounted for 2.6 per cent of mortgages in Vancouver, followed by 1.1 per cent in Toronto and 0.5 per cent in Montreal.

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