Would you like insurance with that property purchase?

by Vernon Clement Jones09 Sep 2015
With the demand for luxury properties becoming white hot in markets like Vancouver, real estate agents have begun to add home insurance to their portfolio of services for overseas customers.

Helping foreign buyers to arrange home insurance or vehicle purchases are some of the things agents are counting on to land deals in a market where more than 570 homes priced over $3-million sold in the first seven months of the year. That’s up nearly 80 per cent from the same time last year, according to a new report from Re/Max.

Increasingly, interest from foreign buyers is also fuelling the luxury home market this year and the majority of foreign buyers of high-end homes are looking to relocate to Canada, rather than buy properties purely as an investor. With that relocation comes the need for insurance of all stripes, with agents quietly taking on roles that they just aren’t licensed to perform.

Referrals to bona fide brokers and advisors are also a part of their strategy to secure foreign buyer businesss.

“These aren’t investments (those buyers are) making from afar,” said Gurinder Sandhu, Re/Max’s executive vice-president for Ontario and Atlantic Canada. “These are families that are moving to Canada and buying these luxury properties to live in and raise their families.”

Local buyers now represent a relatively small share of Vancouver’s market for high-end homes. The bulk of sales have been to buyers from China, many of whom are looking for newly built homes with high-end furnishings close to good schools for their children.

“What we’re hearing from our brokers and realtors is that when people are thinking of moving out of their country, whether that country is China, or Russia, or parts of the Middle East, more and more they’re looking to Canada as a place to go,” said Sandhu.

In the Greater Toronto Area, there have been 279 sales of homes over $3-million so far this year, up 61 per cent from the same time last year.

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