In a week’s time we’ll have a better idea of the impact of foreign ownership of homes in Canada’s hottest markets.

Statistics Canada will release data on foreign investment in residential real estate on Dec. 19 following a 5-year study. It’s hoped that it will give a clearer picture of the extent to which foreign ownership is driving prices.

There is no consensus currently. While some place the blame for escalating prices firmly at the door of wealthy investors from outside Canada, others question the impact compared to the constraints on new supply.

The foreign buyers’ tax implemented in Vancouver a year ago, and in Toronto this year, initially appeared to curb foreign buyers but they are returning.

David Madani, chief economist at Capital Economics told Reuters that the new wave of data beginning next week is welcome but said it should have been available years ago.

“Government policy has been reactive, whether they had evidence or not to base a reaction on,” he said.

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