Chinese interest in Vancouver real estate not limited to high-end sector

Most property searches from China focused on lower-end market

Homebuyers from China are often cited as major participants in Vancouver’s luxury real estate market, but a new study from Sotheby’s Canada and Juwai.com found most property searches from China into Vancouver homes were for those on the lower end of the market.

Juwai.com — one of the largest Chinese international property search sites — said 57 per cent of all 2016 searches from China into Vancouver real estate were for properties worth less than $655,050. The median search price was $590,020, which is considerably lower than the average sale price of $897,600 in the region for all buyers last year.

“Chinese homebuyers have been credited as an influential segment of purchasers within the Canadian luxury real estate market,” Sotheby’s said in a news release.

“However, Juwai.com data dispels the notion that their interest is limited to the high-end market.”

The study found Vancouver property searches from China reacted swiftly to implementation of foreign-buyer tax. In July — the month the 15 per cent tax on buyers from outside of Canada was announced — Chinese searches into Vancouver properties fell 81 per cent year-over-year. In August, when the change came into effect, enquiries were down 78 per cent year-over-year.

Juwai.com data showed that interest moved to other markets in Canada after the implementation of the 15 per cent foreign-buyer tax. The biggest increase was not seen in Toronto, which along with Vancouver is one of the two hottest markets in the country. The biggest shift in Chinese interest was seen in Calgary, where Chinese searches increased 1,050 per cent year-over-year in August and a further 420 per cent in September.