The western Canadian province of British Columbia will soon be collecting information about the nationality of the property buyers, as housing prices in Metro Vancouver surge to levels that are among the highest in the world.
Beginning on June 10, property transfer tax documents collected by the government during property sales will require full disclosure of the citizenship of the buyers. That means individuals who are neither Canadian nor permanent residents will have to report their citizenship when buying real estate in British Columbia.
Eugen Klein, a manager of Royal LePage Sussex Klein Group, told Xinhua in a recent interview that the new disclosure rules would provide hard data about what's driving behind the region's hot housing market.
He said the data collection rules alone won't have immediate impact on the price of housing in Vancouver, but "over time, what are we going to do with that information and what is the government going to do with that information will have an impact."
The average selling price of a single-detached house in Metro Vancouver reached 1.83 million Canadian dollars (1.4 million U.S. dollars) earlier this year, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
Paul Kershaw, a housing expert with the University of British Columbia, told Xinhua that only 15 percent of the homes in Metro Vancouver cost less than a half-million dollars, and most of those homes are in far-flung suburbs.
He is worried the high cost of housing will eventually deprive the city of talented young Canadians who don't want to spend all their money on housing, or all their time commuting on the road.