Chinese buyers make up third of real estate sales in Vancouver: analyst

May 17 2016, 8:45 pm

Chinese buyers were responsible for a third of home sales made in the city last year, according to a financial analyst whose report is sure to fan the flames of Vancouver’s ever controversial real estate market.

Peter Routledge’s figures state that Chinese investors spent around $12.7 billion on real estate in Vancouver in 2015, out of total sales of $38.5 billion. Routledge’s estimates – what he calls “back-of-the-envelope” figures – were published by the National Bank of Canada, a commercial bank, on Wednesday.

Due to a lack of Canadian data, the analyst based his estimate on a Financial Times surveyand data from the U.S.

‘Exacerbating tensions’

Routledge says he’s not shocked by the findings.

“In a society as compelling and open to immigration as Canada is, it is not surprising to us that flows of immigrants and foreign capital into … Vancouver influence the local prices of homes,” he writes.

However, Routledge does admit that even addressing the issue of foreign home ownership in Vancouver can inflame unproductive tensions.

“The prospect of unduly exacerbating these tensions may cause some to recoil from studying the issue – a reaction that, though honest and understandable, we see as unproductive,” he writes.

“Surely, one can study the issue of immigration, foreign capital flows, and housing affordability in a manner consistent with the country’s guiding principles regarding immigration and multiculturalism.”

In this week’s budget, the federal government announced it will be allocating $500,000 for StatsCan to look into measuring foreign real estate ownership in Canada.

But at little more than a quarter of the average price of a detached home in Vancouver, Routledge points out, that investment may be a little on the low side…

Jenni SheppardJenni Sheppard

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