Banning Foreign Home Buyers

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

By Martin Crim, Esq.

At common law, foreigners couldn’t own real estate but most countries have loosened that restriction. New Zealand has a ban on foreign home buyers and Canada just adopted a two-year ban on most foreigners buying houses. A couple of quick thoughts:

  • A $10,000 (Canadian) fine on conviction is not much of a deterrent.
  • I like the idea of taxing vacant houses but it would need robust enforcement to be effective.
  • An exemption for “recreational” property undercuts the rule’s effectiveness severely.
  • An anti-flipping tax is a bad idea because it deters rehabilitating unlivable houses.
  • An extra tax on foreign purchasers is quite reasonable and could produce revenue to put toward housing availability.

Martin Crim is a shareholder at Vanderpool, Frostick & Nishanian, and has been practicing law for over thirty years, primarily for cities, towns, and other local governments. If you have additional questions or concerns, contact Martin Crim at or call us at 703-369-4738.

This blog post is not intended to provide legal advice or substitute for the advice of legal counsel with respect to specific facts and situations. See disclaimer