A sizeable chunk of the units at the iconic, sculpture-like Vancouver House development at the northern end of the Granville Street Bridge have been sold to foreign buyers.
The $500-million mixed-use project consists of 388 units over its 59-storey slender structure. To date, 35 per cent of these units have been purchased by foreigners in Asia, the United States and Europe, according to CBC News.
Nearly all of the units have been sold and the remaining units include five penthouses, which have a starting price of approximately $5 million.
Vancouver House is designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and was approved in 2013 on the basis that it would be one of the city’s most prominent architectural gems.
Given the scale and cost of the project’s intricate design, developer Westbank Corporation marketed the development around the world to ensure sales targets would be met on schedule.
Ads for Vancouver House were seen in Asia last year, including a large building mural advertisement at a major commercial and shopping district in Taipei.
Demand for residential real estate remains high in Metro Vancouver with no signs of any slowdown. In early 2014, the federal government enacted policies that scrapped the Immigrant Investor Program and there was industry speculation this could help alleviate the region’s hot housing market, but the predicted impact has not transpired as many investors have no interest in moving to Canada.
Locals are being squeezed out of the local housing market with the average price for a two-storey detached home now reaching $1.27 million. With that said, investors are targeting luxury properties, particularly in the Vancouver Westside where property values have increased by over 50 per cent since 2009. Overall, property values across Vancouver have risen by more than 35 per cent during the same period.
When it comes to the condominium rental market, the results of a recently released Rental Market Survey by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation indicated 5.8 per cent of rental condos in the Burrard Peninsula are owned by foreign investors.
This falls short of the 6.9 per cent rate in downtown Montreal and Nun’s Island but is ahead of Toronto Centre’s rate of 4.3 per cent.
However, according to the survey, the City of Vancouver possesses the highest rate of foreign condominium ownership with a rate of 3.4 per cent. This contrasts with the regional rate of 2.3 per cent.
Within the City of Toronto and Greater Toronto Area, the rates are 2.7 per cent and 2.3 per cent. The City of Montreal has a rate of 2.3 per cent while the regional rate is nearly an entire point lower at 1.5 per cent.