Canada is known for many things. Cold weather. Ice hockey. Mounties. Beavers. Maple syrup.
Yep. Canada is a surprisingly attractive target for foreign real estate investors. Whether they’re seeking land for sale Ontario or high-rise Vancouver condos with multimillion-dollar views, this vast northern country doesn’t disappoint. Let’s take a closer look at why Canadian real estate is so hot right now.
No International Move Required
Canada is vast, so it’s not particularly surprising that it doesn’t discriminate against foreign buyers. At least, not at the national level: some provinces impose their own restrictions, like Prince Edward Island’s domestics-first oceanfront real estate rules. In most cases, you don’t have to live in Canada year-round or apply for residency to own real estate there.
Strong (and Improving) Market
Canada is a resource-rich country, and its economy’s fortunes are closely tied to those of the petroleum and mineral-extraction industries. As oil prices stabilized and foreign investment poured into major Canadian metro markets, home and land prices have risen steadily across the country. That’s great news for buyers who get in sooner rather than later. (PwC has a great forward-looking trends guide if you’re interested.)
Political and Economic Stability
Canada is a highly developed country. Its Human Development Index (HDI) rating, a key measure of population health and well-being, was 0.913 in 2014: tied with New Zealand at ninth in the world, and just a hair behind the United States, its southern neighbor.
Like many Commonwealth nations, Canada is a parliamentary democracy with a long history of peaceful power transitions and stable governing coalitions. Though its resource-dependent economy is not immune to violent swings, it fared notably better than most other developed nations’ during and following the financial crisis of the late 2000s. And Canada has notoriously strong private property protections.
In short, Canada is a low-risk proposition for foreign investors.
Proximity to a Massive Source of Capital
As its denizens are all too aware these days, Canada is flush up against the U.S northern border. Canadians like to say that their country is 5,000 miles wide and one mile wide. That’s a slight exaggeration, but it’s true that 9 of 10 Canadians live within 200 miles of the U.S. border.
Canada’s real estate market and adjacent industries therefore benefit from a massive source of increasingly eager capital. Tens of thousands of well-to-do Americans have Canadian investment properties or vacation homes (or both). Densely populated southern Ontario is particularly well placed, as it’s surrounded by the United States on three sides and lies within a day’s drive (or less) of big cities like New York, Chicago, and Detroit.
Unparalleled Beauty and Quality of Life
Have you been to Canada? It’s stunning. Southern Ontario is home to an impressive diversity of landscapes, from the wild shores of Lake Huron, to the pastoral expanses north of Lake Erie, to the awe-inspiring drops of the Niagara region. Unlike French-speaking Quebec, off to the northeast, this is an English-speaking region; it’s easy to make yourself understood and avoid confusion here. And, save for southwestern British Columbia, it’s Canada’s mildest region — an important consideration for investors who plan to visit during the Northern Hemisphere winter.