Montreal now trumps Vancouver for China-based buyers

City slips into third place as destination for Chinese seeking Canadian real estate
Denis Roger/Shutterstock

Montreal will surpass Vancouver this year as the Canadian destination for mainland China-based real estate investors, according to China’s largest foreign-market real estate portal.

The data is based on 2017 property searches on Juwai.com, the No. 1 Chinese international property portal with more than two million monthly visitors from China. The survey revealed that the United States remains the top market for Chinese investors. Canada is in fourth place, ahead of the United Kingdom but behind Australia and Hong Kong.

The year 2016 “is the first time in history that Chinese buyers acquired more than $130 billion of international real estate,” said Sue Jong, chief of operations for Juwai.com.

“The 2016 global total represents a 25.4% increase over 2015 and an 845% increase over five years ago. Our forecast suggests 2017 will also be one of the top three years on record.”

Total foreign real estate investment by mainland China buyers in 2017 is projected at $106 billion, according to Juwai.

In order of property searches this year, the top Canadian destination cities are Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa and Victoria.

The introduction in August 2016 of a 15% foreign-buyer tax on Metro Vancouver real estate might have helped to bounce Vancouver out of its first-place standing for Chinese real estate investors, Juwai suggests. Ontario introduced a similar tax earlier this year. According to a Juwai survey of more than 2,500 Chinese consumers who inquired about Canadian property in 2017, the top reasons they are seeking to buy a home in Canada are education (24.2%), investment (31.9%) and own use (75.1%).

Buyers from China accounted for 17% of all foreign homebuyers in Montreal this year, up from less than 10% a year earlier, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. Figures released last week by B.C.’s Ministry of Finance show that foreign buyers accounted for 6% of the value of all B.C. residential sales from June 2016 to May 2017. No details were provided on where the foreign buyers were from.

“There’s no reason for Canada to worry about being swamped by Chinese investment,” said Jong.

She noted that Canada receives less in Chinese real estate investment than smaller locations, such as Hong Kong and Australia.

“Chinese buyers are an important part of the [Canadian] market but are just one part.” 

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