Chinese home buyers aren’t primarily after profit in Canada, survey says

by Ephraim Vecina10 Mar 2017
While enterprising real estate investors from overseas have gained notoriety as the boogeymen responsible for home price growth, a survey released earlier this week found an unexpected reason among Chinese buyers for getting into the Canadian housing market.

The results of the survey jointly conducted by and Sotheby’s International Realty Canada revealed that education was the leading motivation among potential Chinese home buyers who were considering properties in major Canadian markets last year, The Canadian Press reported.

46 per cent of Chinese would-be buyers who were looking at Montreal listings cited education as their primary objective. 44 per cent were looking at a Vancouver purchase, while 41 per cent were in Toronto and 9 per cent were in Calgary.

Sotheby’s International Realty Canada president Brad Henderson noted that the survey results belied the widespread notion of Chinese influence in the Canadian real estate investment sector.

“I really think a lot of perception that people have around foreign buyers and specifically buyers from mainland China are informed by more anecdotal information and not statistics,” Henderson said, adding that most Chinese property searches in the study timeframe were for Canadian homes valued below $655,050.

Only 27 per cent of prospective buyers from China who were searching for Vancouver and Toronto properties listed investment as their main reason. 23 per cent were in Montreal, and 21 per cent were in Calgary.

“While home buyers from mainland China have been identified as a notable segment of foreign purchases within the luxury property markets of Vancouver and Toronto, data dispels the assumption that Chinese interest is limited to the high-end segment,” the report explained. “Instead, it implies that conventional real estate dominates demand.”

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