Vancouver may be known as one of the most liveable cities in the world but the housing prices are also quite high. This is in part due to an increase in Chinese homebuyers:
Buyers from mainland China are leading a wave of Asian investment in Vancouver real estate as China tries to damp property speculation at home. Good schools, a marine climate and the large, established Asian community as a result of Canada’s liberal immigration policy make Vancouver attractive, said Cathy Gong, who moved from Shanghai to the Shaughnessy neighborhood on Vancouver’s Westside about three years ago.
China, where home prices rose 28 percent in Beijing and 26 percent in Shanghai last year, according to the country’s biggest real estate website owner SouFun Holdings Ltd., has taken steps to curb property speculation within its borders. Chinese home prices gained for 19 straight months through December and climbed in almost all 70 cities tracked by the government during the first quarter. Premier Wen Jiabao placed curbs on mortgage lending, boosted down-payment requirements and limited the number of purchases.
“As the Chinese get more and more prosperous, they are diversifying their assets out of China,” said Jim Rogers, an American investor who moved to Singapore from New York four years ago so his daughters could learn Chinese. “Vancouver is very high on the list.”…
The current group of Chinese homebuyers in Vancouver is the third “wave” from Asia since 1990, following Taiwanese and Hong Kong immigration, said Manyee Lui, a veteran Vancouver realtor. “People from mainland China are the new immigrants,” Lui said.
This is a reminder that real estate truly is a leading industry in the global economy as people from different countries seek out desirable properties. In escaping a real estate bubble in China and increased regulation but with money to spend, Chinese homebuyers are now looking at Vancouver. (Vancouver may not be the only place: I also recently wrote about a story of Chinese residents building “monster homes” in New Zealand.)
It is interesting to note the reactions of Vancouver residents: the influx of Chinese homebuyers has raised housing values, perhaps pricing others out of the market, and the schools now have a large number of non-native English speakers. At the same time, I assume Vancouver residents take pride in the cosmopolitan nature of their city. One resident mentioned the possibility of the government restricting foreign homeownership – is this really the route to go? Will this end up turning into a debate between local and global interests?