New data from Statistics Canada shows multiple-property owners held between 29 and 41 per cent of the housing stock in Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in 2019 and 2020.

The data from the Canadian Housing Statistics Program, which includes both residential and recreational holdings, reveals multiple-property ownership accounted for 41 per cent of Nova Scotia's housing stock, 39 per cent of New Brunswick's, 31 per cent of Ontario's and 29 per cent of British Columbia's.

Multiple-property owners totalled 22 per cent of all owners in Nova Scotia, 20 per cent in New Brunswick, 16 per cent in Ontario and 15 per cent in British Columbia.

Similar to many markets across Canada, Nova Scotia Finance Minister Allan MacMaster said the province has been dealing with tight housing supply and surging home prices.

That prompted Nova Scotia to introduce a new deed transfer tax and a property tax targeting non-resident homeowners in its provincial budget in late March. Both took effect April 1 and are aimed at giving Nova Scotians greater access to housing.

“We know that it has an impact on other Canadians and we're conscious of that. We don't take any joy in that. But the fact remains it is very difficult. We are a province surrounded by coastline - it's a very desirable place to have a property and we need to look out for our residents who are having a tremendous, difficult time right now finding places to live,” MacMaster said in a broadcast interview with BNN Bloomberg on Tuesday.

“We're seeing the impact of people coming to the province and snapping up properties. They may be selling a property in southern Ontario, for instance, and being able to buy three properties for the same price as the one that sold,” he said.

The Statistics Canada data show that the top 10 per cent of owners in [Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick] earn more than the bottom 50 per cent combined, with the top 10 per cent of owners in Ontario and British Columbia each earning yearly incomes above $125,000.

The same tranche of data also shows between 2018 and 2019 the number of first-time homebuyers increased by 17 per cent in New Brunswick, 9 per cent in Nova Scotia and 6 per cent in British Columbia.

The data's release comes less than a week after the federal government announced a slew of housing measures meant to make homes more affordable for first-time buyers and temporarily less accessible for non-residents.

- With files from BNN Bloomberg