Students from overseas spend $12,000 a year on housing in B.C., one of Canada’s most popular educational destinations


International students represent a powerful economic influence in Canada, according to data from the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), not the least of which is seen in the real estate sector.

In 2017, the latest numbers available, there were 494,525 international students in Canada, a 119 per cent increase compared to 2010 and a 20 per cent increase from a year earlier.


U.S. News and World Report ranked Canada the No. 1 country for education in the world in 2017, followed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia and the United States.

The three top reasons why international students choose Canada, according to the CBIE, are the quality of the secondary education system, Canada’s reputation as a tolerant and non-discriminatory society and its reputation as a safe country.

It is estimated that foreign students spend $8 billion annually in Canada, including tuition costs, housing costs and other living expenses.

This translates into the creation of more than 81,000 jobs and a more than $445 million contribution to government revenue.

Surveys have shown that 95 per cent of international students recommend Canada as a study destination to their peers.


While the majority of international students arrive from China, at 28 per cent of the total, and India, representing 25 per cent of enrolments, the foreign students came from at least 14 countries in 2017, including approximately 15,000 from the United States.

British Columbia, which attracts an average of 115,000 students each year, is one of Canada’s most popular destinations for international students. Each student pays an average of $12,000 per year on housing, part of an annual $1.8 billion in annual spending in the province. Foreign-student enrolment in B.C. has risen 300 per cent in the past 10 years.

The Real Estate Investment Network recently published a report called The University Effect, which examined the effect of large numbers of students on an area’s real estate market, and offered advice to student-housing investors.

—With files from CIBT Education Group Inc. 


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The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is listening to the concerns of renters and taking action on an early recommendation from B.C.’s Rental Housing Task Force by cutting the annual allowable rent increase by 2%, limiting it to inflation.

That means that effective Jan. 1, 2019, the annual allowable rent increase will be 2.5%.

“It’s simply not sustainable for renters, many of whom are on fixed incomes, to see their rent increase by more than inflation each and every year,” said Premier John Horgan. “We have to eliminate the risk of such huge increases for renters. Our new approach strikes a balance between giving relief to renters while encouraging people to maintain their rental properties.”

The previous formula, set in 2004, allowed annual rent increases of 2% plus inflation.

Making life more affordable is a shared priority between government and the B.C. Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts:

  • The new rent-increase limits are part of the many actions the B.C. government is taking to help renters.
  • British Columbia’s 30-point housing plan includes a record $7 billion over 10 years to create new affordable rental housing throughout the province.
  • The Province has closed a fixed-term lease loophole that resulted in people being unfairly evicted and stopped geographic rent increases that were unfairly driving up rents in some neighbourhoods.
  • Starting this month, the Province expanded the eligibility and increased the assistance to low-income families and seniors through the Rental Assistance Program and the Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters.
  • The speculation tax also encourages people with multiple homes in urban areas to rent them out, instead of letting them sit vacant.

The British Columbia government has released regulations to create a new condo and strata assignment register.

This register is designed to crack down on tax evasion and make B.C.’s real estate market more transparent and fair for British Columbians.

“We will not allow real estate speculators and tax frauds to take advantage of loopholes in the system any longer, and this register sends a clear message. The days of avoiding taxes through condo flipping are over,” said Carole James, Minister of Finance. “This register will help bring fairness and integrity back to B.C.’s real estate market, so that people can afford homes in the communities where they live and work.”

The existing real estate regime in British Columbia was vulnerable to those involved in flipping pre-sale condo assignments without paying the appropriate taxes. To crack down on tax evasion, the B.C. government is creating the Condo and Strata Assignment Integrity Register (CSAIR). The government will collect comprehensive information on condo and strata assignments through the register and help tax authorities find people who are not paying the appropriate taxes.

Effective Jan. 1, 2019, developers who sell strata lots in development properties must:

  • include terms and a notice in their contracts to inform buyers of the new collection and reporting requirements;
  • collect information, including the terms of the assignment and the name and social insurance number or business information of the parties to the assignment; and
  • report this information in the online register.

The B.C. government will provide this information to the Canada Revenue Agency so that transactions can be traced back to the assigner’s income tax return. This will ensure that people who assign condos are paying the appropriate income taxes.

The government will use this information to ensure that buyers accurately report the final purchase price of a condo unit, including all assignment amounts, and pay the appropriate property transfer tax. The government will also use the information to inform future housing and tax policy.

The Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia will manage the online register system. In order to comply with the new assignment reporting requirements, developers must update their contracts by Jan. 1, 2019, and must have a myLTSA Enterprise account by March 31, 2019. The first assignment reporting period ends March 31, 2019, and the report is due on April 30, 2019.

The register is one part of the B.C. government’s 30-Point Housing Plan to address housing affordability. Already, the government has taken several actions to address tax fraud and close loopholes in the real estate market, including:

  • Convened an Expert Panel on Money Laundering in Real Estate to identify systemic risks that leave the real estate and financial services sectors open to money laundering.
  • Consulting on legislation to establish a new, publicly accessible registry of beneficial owners of real estate in B.C.
  • Updating the property transfer tax return to uncover beneficial owners behind corporations and trusts.
  • Enacting legislation to allow information sharing on the homeowner grant with federal tax officials to improve tax enforcement.
  • Strengthening property transfer tax auditors’ ability to take action on tax evasion.
  • Establishing a federal-provincial working group on tax fraud and money laundering.

Learn More:

Read the regulation:

Information on the Condo and Strata Assignment Integrity Register for developers:

30-Point Plan for Housing Affordability:


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he Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate asked real estate licensees and members of the public to comment on proposed amendments to the Real Estate Rules.

The rules proposed by the Superintendent will:

1. Incorporate the Real Estate Council of British Columbia’s English language proficiency requirement for new applicants into the Rules;

2. Create a new requirement for licensees to complete continuing professional education courses from time to time, typically when significant new rules are introduced;

3. Designate the first continuing professional education course to be completed by trading services and rental property management licensees;

4. Mandate that new remuneration disclosures include a dollar amount; and

5. Create new rules to address conflicts of interest where a licensee finds themselves potentially working with multiple parties that would constitute dual agency.