You've asked a number of questions. I can answer a few. I've quoted your question before each answer.
What are the ins and outs of a foreigner like myself buying rental
property in Canada?
This is a pretty broad question which can address location, finances, basic suggestions etc. Here's some things to consider:
Some ins and outs will depend on what province you are considering and what area in that Province. If you plan on owning in Montreal, for example, that's in the province of Quebec and that means you (or someone) will need to be able to operate in the French language. There are other things that might be different from province to province. See stat info below.
Canadian vs. US Dollar:
Now might be a great time to buy property in Canada since the Canada dollar is weak right now. To give you an idea, at a non-cash rate of 1.2846, a little over $76,000 US will get you over $100k Canadian. That's using the currency converter at rbcroyalbank.com.
Taxes for non-resident rental property owners:
According to the T4144 Income Tax Guide for Electing Under Section 216 – 2015: "When you receive rental income from real or immovable property in Canada, the payer, such as the tenant or a property manager, has to withhold non-resident tax at the rate of 25% on the gross rental income paid or credited to you. The payer has to pay us the tax on or before the 15th day of the month following the month the rental income is paid or credited to you." If you prefer to send a separate Canadian tax return, you can choose to elect under section 216 of the Income Tax Act. A benefit of this way is that "electing under section 216 allows you to pay tax on your net Canadian-source rental income instead of on the gross amount. If the non-resident tax withheld by the payer is more than the amount of tax payable calculated on your section 216 return, [they] will refund the excess to you." You can find this guide at Canada Revenue's site: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/E/pub/tg/t4144/README.html
Stats: A good place for stats is the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). So, if you are interesting in vacancy rates for example, you can see a table that will show you that the vacancy rate in Ontario is 2.3% and in British Columbia it's 1.5%. However, in New Brunswick it's 8%. The rate for metropolitan areas across Canada is 2.8%. If you want to see or download this table showing the vacancy rates by province and also by metropolitan areas, go to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation site http://www.cmhc.ca/housingmarketinformation/. You can get all sorts of housing information, reports and market information there.
I've done well with Condos/Town-homes and would be interested in the
same thing over there. Is it pretty much all the same?
See the stat site mentioned above to get market info about condos, etc.
What are the down payment requirements?
For non-owner occupied properties, the down payment is at least 20%.
Update in response to comments about being double taxed:
Regarding being taxed on income received from the property, if you claim the foreign tax credit you will not be double taxed. According to the IRS, "The foreign tax credit intends to reduce the double tax burden that would otherwise arise when foreign source income is taxed by both the United States and the foreign country from which the income is derived." (from IRS Topic 856 - Foreign Tax Credit)
About property taxes: From my understanding, these would not be claimed for the foreign tax credit but can be deducted as business expenses.
There are various exceptions and stipulations based on your circumstance, so you need to read Publication 856 - Foreign Tax Credit for Individuals. Here's an excerpt:
"In most cases, only foreign income taxes qualify for the foreign tax credit. Other taxes, such as foreign real and personal property taxes, do not qualify. But you may be able to deduct these other taxes even if you claim the foreign tax credit for foreign income taxes. In most cases, you can deduct these other taxes only if they are expenses incurred in a trade or business or in the production of income. However, you can deduct foreign real property taxes that are not trade or business expenses as an itemized deduction on Schedule A (Form 1040)."
- This answer was given before some of the changes and additions to the question.
- Be sure to get professional advice from an accountant and a real
estate agent. I am neither.
IRS Topic 514 Foreign Tax Credit and
Publication 856 Foreign Tax Credit for Individuals