A new report identifies Saanich as one of the geographic centres of what economists call “non-resident” ownership.
The report from Statistics Canada and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) shows almost half of all single-detached houses that non-residents own in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) are either in Saanich (35.4 per cent) or Victoria (13.9 per cent). Langford is third with 8.9 per cent. Metchosin has the lowest share with 1.3 per cent, with the remaining communities hovering between 1.7 per cent (Sooke) and 7.6 per cent (North Saanich).
It is important to note though that Saanich’s overall rate of non-resident ownership is two per cent. In other words, 98 per cent of homeowners are classified as resident owners. But if non-resident owners do come to Victoria’s CMA, they tend to prefer Saanich and to a lesser degree Victoria over the other communities in the region.
Scholars use a range of data to determine whether or not property owners are residents of Canada, including recent Canadian tax activity or a lack of presence in the Canadian census.
Overall, 6.2 per cent of all properties in British Columbia have at least one non-resident owner.
The report, which also looked at non-resident ownership in Ontario and Nova Scotia, does not include any information about the origins of non-resident owners. But it suggests that non-resident owners tend to be wealthier, as evident by their ability to purchase recently-constructed properties with higher assessed values.
Consider the Vancouver CMA. Vancouver had a much higher share of single-detached properties with one owner built between 2011 and 2017 (39.9 per cent) than Toronto (25.8 per cent).
“Given the high assessment values of these newer single-detached properties in Vancouver and that they were recently acquired, this suggests relatively substantial wealth was likely used in the purchase of these houses, as a single income would not typically be able to support the payments if the purchase had been made with mortgage financing,” it reads.
While the report does not address the Victoria CMA, it finds differences of up to $338,000 in value differential between single-detached properties owned by residents and non-residents, as in the case of North Saanich. Juan de Fuca is second with a difference of $156,000, followed by Oak Bay with difference of $150,000. According to the report, many of these properties appear to be vacation or recreational properties.
Saanich finds itself in the upper echelon with a difference of $87,000.
In Victoria, notably, the difference between single-detached properties owned by residents and non-residents is negative ($49,000).
“Unlike the Toronto and Vancouver CMAs, non-resident ownership rates and value differentials are generally not positively correlated with newer single-detached houses in the Victoria CMA,” it reads.
Non-residents buying properties in the Victoria CMA instead appear interested in buying high-end condominiums.