As of January 1, 2023, the Government of Canada has implemented a ban on buying real estate for foreigners for 2 years. This means that only Canadian Citizens/Permanent Residents will be able to purchase residential properties in Canada. There are some exceptions to the ban. For example, if a non-Canadian is purchasing with their Canadian spouse or if the purchase agreement was signed before January 1, 2023.
Assuming the non-Canadian is allowed to purchase due to an exception, the non-Canadian must still pay a non-resident speculation tax (NRST) and apply for a Refund.
NRST is an additional tax that applies in Ontario to non-Canadian homeowners only. The purpose of the tax is to reduce the number of properties purchased by non-Canadians, thereby increasing the housing supply for Canadians.
When NRST was first introduced in Ontario, it was 15% of the purchase price and only applied to properties within the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Then, in early 2022, the NRST was increased to 20% and the scope of applicable properties was expanded to include all of Ontario. Less than 7 months later, the NRST has increased again, to 25%.
The NRST rate a foreign buyer pays depends on when the purchase contract was signed.
An exemption from the NRST may be available if the non-Canadian is purchasing property with their Canadian spouse. To qualify for this exemption, both spouses must own the property together, with no other non-Canadians, and all owners must certify that they will occupy the property as their primary residence.
There are two other exemptions, one for those in the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program and one for those who have protected person status under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Canada). The criteria to qualify are similar to the spousal exemption.
As a foreign buyer, it’s important to know how much you’ll potentially pay and, even more important, to know if you qualify for exemptions or rebates.