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Canada is banning foreigners from buying property – what it means for South Africans looking to work or study there

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    Nat Quinn

    Canada has introduced a new law banning foreigners from buying residential property until 2025 – however, this will not apply to South Africans migrating to the North American nation.

    The ban on foreigners buying residential property comes after a spike in Canadian home prices since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Canadian politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, blamed foreign investors for buying large amounts of properties as investments – damaging supply.

    However, South Africans planning to immigrate to the nation will not be affected as the ban does not apply to foreign nationals in the country living as permeant residents.

    According to the new laws, Canadian citizens and permanent residents are exempt from the ban, while other prospective buyers face various different rules.

    International students and foreign workers are allowed to purchase one property, as long as they have lived in Canada for a certain number of years and have signalled their intention to become permanent residents.

    For workers, they would have had to have worked in Canada for three out of the four years prior to buying a property. Students, meanwhile, have to be present in Canada for 244 days each year for five years prior to buying. International students cannot buy a property for more than $500,000.

    South Africans who migrate to Canada via the popular Express Entry Program for skilled workers are considered permanent residents and thus eligible to purchase residential property.

    South Africans who are not permanent residents of Canada are ineligible to buy property in the North American nation as an investment for the next two years. However, according to statista, the average house price in Canada is over R12.3 million (C$ 27,300), which means that many South Africans likely cannot afford to buy property in Canada.

    Other exemptions are also found in the new law. Refugees are also eligible to buy property. Moreover, the ban will not apply to recreational properties such as summer cottages, instead focusing on city dwellings. In addition, residential properties with more than three units are still available to purchase.

    Speaking on CTV News, Tom Storey from Royal LePage said that the ban would most likely help Canadians buying their first residential property from competing against foreigners who do not live in Canada.

    A popular destination for South Africans

    Although Canada’s attempts to limit foreign ownership of residential property may sound unwelcoming, the North American country is still an incredibly popular immigration destination for South Africa.

    From 2015 to 2022 Q3, 2.4 million foreigners migrated to Canada – including 11,210 South Africans.

    Last year, the Canadian government updated its Immigration Levels Plan for 2023-2025, hoping to add 500,000 immigrants a year by 2025.

    South Africans have historically scored highly for the Express Entry immigration process due to strong language skills, the likelihood of obtaining skilled work, and the higher education they may have completed when they were younger.

    Canada welcomes high levels of skilled worker immigration to keep its economy strong, as it has one of the world’s oldest populations and one of the world’s lowest birth rates.

    Canada thus depends on immigration to grow its population and labour force.


    Canada is banning foreigners from buying property – what it means for South Africans looking to work or study there (businesstech.co.za)



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