Apr 2011 28

Is There a Reason for Real Estate Market Protectionism?

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Chinese New Year in Vancouver by Kenny Louie
Chinese New Year in Vancouver
by Kenny Louie

Buyers from Mainland China are, without doubt, a primary purchasing force on the Canadian real estate market. But what reasons are behind this? Why do sixty per cent of the over 700 condos sold in Toronto belong to Chinese buyers and investors? What is more, Toronto is not alone in having such a high percentage of Chinese home buyers. A hundred and ninety-six new condos out of 200 units sold in Richmond and 35 per cent of new condos in White Rock went to buyers from Mainland China, and we can only expect these numbers to rise as the middle class in China slowly begins to realize they can invest in foreign real estate markets.

Chinese investors mostly choose Canada for its stability, safety, relatively successful recovery from the financial crisis, and last but not least, its education system. Even the Canadian real estate market is less expensive and more of a freehold. They seek a safe and quiet country for their investments, and have clearly deemed Canada to be very suitable.

Although some reports from US newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal about Mainland Chinese investors “stampeding to Vancouver and Toronto, two of Canada’s hottest markets,” might sound scary, there is nothing to be afraid of. We should be, on the other hand, thankful that these investors have enriched Canadian society by bringing their culture and values here, and sharing them with us. They have even made owning a property here in Canada more rewarding than anyone could ever expect. Prices of local properties are constantly rising, making businesses and homes more and more valuable, Chinese investments helped us to step out of the U.S. shadow and to get out of the global economic crisis much faster.

Instead of supporting, or at least not discouraging this trend, politicians have been promoting restrictions on foreign property investors. Although the barriers for immigrants have been high, Canada is still experiencing strong immigration. This is because immigrants are meeting citizenship requirements and they are willing to support Canadian society.

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