Though Chinese real estate buyers have spent the last several years driving up prices in Hong Kong, investing in French vineyards and flocking to Sydney, New York and Los Angeles, a quieter but arguably more pronounced influx has been taking place in Vancouver, Canada. Focused generally on the high end of the market, buyers from mainland China have been instrumental in the skyrocketing prices for luxury Vancouver properties, a trend that saw sales of homes worth more than $2 million rise 118 percent in the first third of last year.
Though quantifying the scale of recent Chinese buying is difficult, as Vancouver authorities do not issue statistics on foreign ownership of local property, a study last year by the real-estate consultancy Landcor Data Corp. estimated that mainland Chinese buyers accounted for 74 percent of all luxury home purchases in Vancouver. As Eric Christiansen, a real estate agent in the more affluent West Vancouver, told the Wall Street Journal last year, though Chinese make up a small percentage of the total Vancouver market, this buyer segment dominates the city's high-end sectors.
As Bloomberg added in its profile of Vancouver's China-fueled property boom last summer:
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.
Apparently the strong interest in investing in Vancouver real estate among wealthy mainland Chinese shows no sign of stopping, as Hexun reports this week that a group of Wenzhou-based investors recently traveled to Vancouver to engage in some property-buying tourism. From Hexun (translation by Jing Daily team):
During the Lunar New Year holiday, a group of Wenzhou businesspeople traveled to Vancouver to visit and purchase properties. Looking at four properties in one day, they gravitated towards seaside units, looking to buy real estate to live in or for investment, indicating that Wenzhou speculative money is now entering the Greater Vancouver market. Some real estate brokers now say that every buyer of high-end real estate in West Vancouver seems to be Chinese.
Sutton real estate agent Zhang Weibin (张维斌) canceled his Chinese New Year celebration plans this year, staying in Vancouver to welcome the Wenzhou buyers. On New Year's day he traveled to the airport to pick up four Wenzhou families, and at their request he spent all day Tuesday busily looking at property. He says that over the past three years the Greater Vancouver market has been particularly busy during Chinese New Year, with many wealthy Chinese flocking to the city during their vacations, bringing their families along for tourism and to look at property.
Viewing a five bedroom, five bathroom, 11,000 square foot house with a sea view, one Wenzhou businessman surnamed Qian said, "This house costs the equivalent of 50 million yuan (US$7.9 million), and for this sort of building quality, it'd probably cost double that. It's definitely cheap enough."
Also last week, ABC News wrote that the New Zealand Government approved the sale of 16 dairy farms to the Pengxin Group Holdings Co. (中国上海鹏欣集团控股的公司) of Shanghai, the first purchase of farms in that country by a group of Chinese investors. Though Pengxin did not elaborate on the price of their individual purchases, they did reveal a total investment value of over US$164 million.