It’s been nine months since the B.C. government increased its foreign speculator tax from 15% to 20%. While its effectiveness has been the subject of speculation and disagreement, one thing is sure: there’s a renewed interest in Vancouver by potential buyers from China.
Searches for Vancouver real estate through Juwai.com, China’s biggest international real estate search engine, recently skyrocketed. However, a representative of the Vancouver chapter of the Asian Real Estate Association of America advised hopeful home sellers to curb their enthusiasm.
Tina Mak, a Coldwell Banker Westburn Realty agent in Vancouver, made the argument that Juwai.com searches are not just up in Vancouver, but throughout the world. “As much as we don’t like to think so, Canada is not as important to Chinese buyers as other places, such as the United States,” Mak stated. She went on to say that there’s a growing number of worried Chinese investors who want to get their money out of the country as soon as possible, due to growing economic concerns.
“Canada is not as important to Chinese buyers as other places, such as the United States”
As unaffordable as Vancouver’s real estate has become, it’s still significantly cheaper than what we would find in major Chinese cities, such as Shanghai.
Carrie Law, the CEO and director of Juwai.com, wrote in a statement to Glacier Media: “Vancouver still offers Chinese [buyers] the prospect of homes or apartments at a relatively better price than to properties in China. The price per square metre for an apartment in downtown Vancouver is 37% lower than in Shanghai.”
As to why we’re seeing a current surge in investor interest in Vancouver, Law goes on to say, “In China right now there’s a great deal of insecurity about the real estate and economic outlook. Most middle-class and upper-middle-class Chinese owe much of their financial security to their homes and investment properties in China, which have appreciated massively over the past two decades. But determined government policy seems to be bringing an end to price appreciation and could even cause prices to fall for the first time. In addition, political change, the trade war, and the falling currency combine to make Chinese [citizens] very nervous about their personal finances.”