Looking to buy a condo as a foreign buyer or as a newcomer?
Decided to move to Canada for work, study, business, or for any other purpose? It is a great choice because our country consistently ranks among the best countries to live in. If you want to enjoy your life in Canada, you need to have a roof over your head. The great news is that Canada and Toronto, in particular, offer a large variety of choices. It is important to understand a few key differences among property types in Canada: these may be different from what you are used to in your country.
Apartment: Apartments in Canada are not what they are in many other countries. You can not buy an apartment – the apartment buildings are owned by a company that rents them out. Thus, you can only rent an apartment. But don’t worry; if you are looking for an apartment to own, you are thinking of a condo.
Condo: These are units within a condominium building that you can buy (in other countries they might be called a flat or apartment). Especially in the last years, Toronto (but also other cities) has seen a steep increase both in demand and supply of condos. There are literally thousands of condos to choose from in different parts of the city.
It is important to mention that, if you own a condo unit, you will be paying monthly condo fees, which every owner pays. These fees cover the cost of maintenance in common areas, such as entrance security, elevators, building maintenance, etc. Many condo buildings come with luxurious amenities, such as a state-of-the-art gym, swimming pool, sauna, party rooms, a meeting area, etc. Your condo fee will cover them as well. Typically, condo fees are a few hundred dollars a month (they are lower for new buildings and higher for older condos).
Flat: we do not use this term in Canada. If you want to own it, it is probably a condo that you are thinking about.
Can I buy property in Canada as a foreign buyer / investor or a newcomer?
Yes, unlike some countries where you have to be a resident to buy property, you can buy a condo or a house in Canada. There are, though, a few financial implications that you need to be aware of. We will explain these further below.
In the last few years, Canada saw many foreign investors buying condos, either with the purpose to live in them or to use them as an investment (e.g. renting out and benefiting from growing real estate prices).
What does it cost to buy a property in Canada?
The cost of a condo widely varies across Canada, from province to province and from city to city. The most expensive locations to buy a condo are Vancouver (British Columbia) and Toronto (Ontario). These cities have a lot to offer in terms of life quality, professional growth /job, culture, and many other things. Here are approximate prices (2018) for key cities in Canada.
What taxes do I have to pay when buying a condo in Toronto as a foreigner?
Now we get to some of the financial implications of buying a condo if you are neither a Canadian citizen nor a Canadian resident.
Historically, both Canadian and foreign buyers paid the same price, but that led to a constant increase of prices for real estate property. That is why most provinces introduced an additional tax for foreign buyers which is also called “Foreign Buyers Tax”. Below, you will find an overview of these taxes by province. Please remember that, even with this tax, buying a condo in Canada is a very promising investment.
Foreign Buyers Tax in Ontario: Ontario: 15% Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) – you can read more about it here at the Ministry of Ontario Finance website)
Example: If you have purchased a condo unit for $500,000, the additional tax that you will pay as compared to a Canadian Resident or Citizen will be $75,000. This amount to be paid in addition to other taxes (e.g. land transfer tax that apply to all buyers)
Foreign Buyers Tax in British Columbia: 20% – if the property transfer is registered on or after February 21, 2018 and is within Capital Regional District, Fraser Valley Regional District, Metro Vancouver Regional District, Regional District of Central Okanagan or Regional District of Nanaimo, the tax amount is 20% of the fair market value of your proportionate share (read more about it here on the British Columbia government website)
Example: If you have purchased a condo unit for $500,000, the additional tax that you will pay as compared to a Canadian Resident or Citizen will be $100,000. This amount to be paid in addition to other taxes (e.g. land transfer tax that apply to all buyers)
How attractive was and is investing in a condo in Canada?
Over the course of the last few years, Canada has been seeing very fast growth of real estate value.
The charts below show you how the value of a $335,000 condo has evolved in the last nine years in Toronto. It has basically doubled.
How can I buy the property while not being physically in Canada?
You are not the only person who has wanted to buy a condo remotely! We have experience in working with foreign buyers and facilitating the deal remotely. We will share with you the best options based on your needs, and we will set up a live session via Skype or any other technology you are comfortable with to show you the building. For existing condos, we will provide you with condo reviews written by people who live in those buildings and financial comparisons that will allow you to make the right decision.
Can you help me buy a condo in Toronto?
Yes, our team is happy to help you, just like we have helped numerous foreign buyers get their dream property in Toronto and other locations.