East coast taking over Vancouver’s foreign investments

by Jordan Maxwell15 Dec 2014
Agents in Atlantic Canada are cashing in on Chinese investors buying large acreage properties, commercial real estate and homes in places like Charlottetown, P.E.I., and the Dartmouth region in Nova Scotia.
Hamish Redpath, an agent with Royal LePage in P.E.I., says he’s working on deals with Chinese investors to build residential housing units and other properties to help shape development in the area.
“We’re seeing a lot of people from China, Taiwan, the Middle East and people from Pakistan, one of which just opened an incredible quality leather shop in Charlottetown. It’s definitely opened up new opportunities for realtors to get over to the investment side and work with investors,” Redpath tells REP.
Redpath was one of the first agents to target foreign investors from China with a publication he started called Ni Hao, which means Hello P.E.I. in Mandarin. The publication is the island’s only Chinese language paper and caters to new immigrants and profile members of the island’s Chinese population.
His efforts have led others realties to make similar moves to boost business and spur investment deals. 
Janet McKeough, president of the Mortgage Brokers Association in the Atlantic region, said that there has been increased activity in residential and commercial properties in the region as investors look at capitalize on low home prices. The average home price is $172,600 according to Re/Max.
“We’re seeing a lot of investors from China who are interested in the low home prices and quality of life. There are a lot of Chinese investors looking to purchase agricultural properties for fresh produce production. There are also a good deal purchasing homes to live in or rent,” McKeough tells REP.
Wayne Ellis, president of the P.E.I. Real Estate Association and an agent with Royal LePage, said while the real estate market has been stagnant domestically, they are seeing growing interest from Chinese investors and others in the Middle East, namely from places such as Iraq, Iran and Lebanon.
“We’re seeing a lot of people come through the Nominee Program offered through the government,” says Ellis, adding that agents are making their way to China or other places to attract investors. “We have a strong Lebanese population here in Charlottetown and the Chinese are buying everything from farms, tourist operations, hotels, anything in the heavy industry and technology as well.”
He adds that over the last 10 years, home prices have risen between three to five per cent year over year, mostly due to foreign investment. About 500 to 600 families from aboard have come to settle in places like Charlottetown since 2003.
However, the rise in home prices have made it difficult for domestic homebuyers to afford properties, thus there is a lot of homes that are vacant, awaiting foreign investment.
Still, Ellis said that growth is expected to remain positive in 2015, with foreign investment outweigh domestic relocation and home prices expected to remain relatively similar to this year’s figures.
According to a report from Re/Max, although the region is expecting little change in price in 2015, the “average residential sales price may rise as much as two per cent depending on the overall economic conditions (in Charlottetown and the rest of P.E.I.).”

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