Across Canada, large Chinese corporations and institutional investors are no longer purchasing commercial real estate – markets they favoured before.
Today, a small group of investors consisting of high-net-worth families from Hong Kong and mainland China seek Canada as a haven to invest their wealth. They are interested in commercial real estate but don’t want to do high-profile deals or draw attention to themselves.
It is too early to say whether the influx of smaller investors will offset the loss from the big companies. Today, many deals are not captured in any statistics because they are private and too small.
On the residential side, Toronto has been the top destination for Chinese buyers in Canada for at least seven years, according to Juwai IQI, an international real estate company that caters to Asian clients.
Juwai measures the volume of enquiries each city receives on its website and via its realtors. The firm says the locations with the most enquiries also usually have the most transactions. In addition to Toronto, other cities consistently popular with Chinese buyers are Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa – but never a city in Atlantic Canada.
According to Juwai co-founder Georg Chmiel;
“The reality is that most Chinese property buyers have very little awareness of Atlantic Canada or its investment potential. They know Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. But Halifax? Not so much.”
“For Chinese buyers, Montreal offers the next best combination of affordability, accessibility, investment potential and lifestyle. Montreal is relatively well known in China compared to the cities of Atlantic Canada.”
Juwai and Canadian-based realtors say Chinese buyers typically buy real estate, so their kids have a place to live while studying in Canada. That has driven the interest in Hamilton, where McMaster University is located, and Waterloo, Ont., home to two major universities and a growing tech hub.
After British Columbia imposed a foreign-buyers tax in 2016, Chinese buyers shifted away from Vancouver and made more enquiries and purchases in Montreal, but not Halifax or anywhere else in Atlantic Canada, according to Juwai data.
Source: The Global and Mail
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