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News » Canada » New partnership seeks to improve Canada’s housing data » published 13 Nov 2017

New partnership seeks to improve Canada’s housing data

Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Statistics Canada have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to fill data gaps in the housing sector.

Anil Arora of Statistics Canada with Evan Siddal of CMHC Above: Anil Arora of Statistics Canada with Evan Siddal of CMHC

“Being an authority means that we continuously work to maintain the data, tools and partnerships we need to have a complete picture of Canada’s housing markets,” said CMHC. “It also means that we need to identify the data gaps that stand in the way of bringing that picture into sharp focus.”

To that end, CMHC and Statistics Canada have agreed to strengthen their partnership, bring together their expertise and work in collaboration to fill the data gaps.

Data gaps exist in three key areas: housing finance, needs and markets.

In the housing finance area, the aim is to collect more information on the entire mortgage sector, whether insured by CMHC or not. To obtain this information, CMHC recently accessed a dataset from a credit reporting company that covers 85% of the total mortgage and credit universe. This dataset provided new insight on mortgage trends, which CMHC analyzed and made available to to help Canadians make informed decisions about the housing market.

“However, we cannot do it all on our own. We also partnered with Finance Canada, the Bank of Canada, Statistics Canada and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions to explore the new data more fully,” said CMHC. “Through our collaborations, we will equip Canadians, businesses and governments with the information they need to make timely decisions, assess risks and develop policies.”

Last year, consultations were held on the development of a National Housing Strategy (NHS). Consultation results revealed the need for more data on social and affordable housing — a need that was also highlighted in Budget 2017, which allocated CA$241m to CMHC to improve data collection and analytics.

In addition, CMHC is modifying existing surveys to gather more information on housing markets. For example, it has expanded its survey on new residential construction to gather information on condominium unit prices and square footage, as well as conversions and demolitions. “This will allow us to develop more timely estimates of the size of housing stock across Canada,” said CMHC. “To better assess the role of foreign ownership in the housing market, we have been collecting information on the share of foreign ownership in major condominium markets since 2014, which we will now supplement with statistics on the rental market ownership structure and the proportion of rental housing owned by foreign investors.”

CMHC said that it will continue working with other federal partners to identify and address data gaps. This includes working closely with Statistics Canada to support the development of the Canadian Housing Statistics Program (CHSP), which aims to provide detailed, comprehensive data on housing in Canada.  

 

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This article was published on 13 Nov 2017 (last updated on 13 Nov 2017).

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