The Canadian Housing Boom Fueled by China’s Billionaires

The walls of Clarence Debelle’s Vancouver office on Canada’s west coast are lined with gifts from his real estate clients: jade and turtle dragon figurines; bottles of baijiu, a traditional Chinese alcohol; and enough special-edition Veuve Clicquot to fuel several high-end cocktail parties.

They are the product of Vancouver’s decade-long real estate frenzy. The city, with its stunning views of the mountains and yacht-dotted harbor, has long been one of the world’s most expensive places to live but price gains have reached a whole new level of intensity this year. Low interest rates, rising immigration, and a surge of foreign money—particularly from China—have all driven the increases.

Consider the latest milestones:

• The cost of a single-family home surged a record 39 percent to C$1.6 million ($1.2 million) in June from a year earlier.

• More than 90 percent of those homes are now worth more than C$1 million, up from 65 percent a year earlier, according to city assessment figures.

• Vancouver is now outpacing price gains in New York, San Francisco and London over the past decade.

• Foreigners pumped C$1 billion into the province’s real estate in a five-week period this summer, or about 8 percent of the province’s sales.

After copious warnings over the last six months, including from the Bank of Canada, that price gains are unsustainable, the provincial government of British Columbia moved last week. Foreign investors will have to pay an additional 15 percent in property-transfer tax as of Aug. 2 and city of Vancouver was given the authority to impose a new tax on empty homes.

As Canada waits to see what effect, if any, the moves may have, here are the stories from the city’s wild ride.

Look at SF’s meager gain over the last 10 years… and everyone is already crying uncle. The graph did not include Hong Kong or Shanghai either. I suspect they will blow Vancouver out of water…

Calling our local eightxpert @sfdragonboy:

Linda Todrick, 68, lived in a subdivision 45 minutes south of the city for 26 years, until her partner began thinking of retirement and a broker friend told her how much the house was worth. At the end of 2015, her detached home was appraised at just shy of C$1 million. A month later it had shot up to C$1.3 million.

She listed it in April for C$1.288 million, appealing to local Chinese buyers with the lucky number eight. Within 24 hours, four bids came in. They sold within just a few days to a young family for C$1.5 million, no conditions.

“It was surreal,” the retired Air Canada flight attendant said from a boat near her new home in Qualicum Beach, a town of 10,000 people on Vancouver Island a 1-1/2 hour-ferry ride from the city. “It happened so fast. You can’t believe how many people have done the same—moved to Qualicum and the islands. People are flooding in from the mainland with cash in their pocket.”

That is awesome, @manch! The lesson I guess again is to always appeal to your target buyer and their idiosyncrasies. Sure, the home would have probably sold anyway but perception is reality when it comes to these people with fists full of dollars and you would be a fool to not play to that whenever you can.

And here I though the U.S. was getting out of control in governmental shenanigans.

YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING? Taxing “foreigners” at a higher rate? Taxing homeowners more because they don’t occupy a place full time?

But manch, I’ll bet SF started at a higher base in the first place. SF was ahead of the curve. The graph represents the catch up for the other three. Remember, it’s a percentage graph. Real values matter.

SF is definitely at a lower base compared to London and NYC. It’s just that we have a weird attitude towards money. In NYC and London people show off their money. Here even billionaires wear hoodies and pretend they don’t care about money. It’s all about “saving the world, man”.

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Perhaps a generation back. That’s what hippiedom was all about; saving the world. It spawned the Bernie Sanders of our current political class.

Today’s trend seems to be more an outgrowth of hipster, which is a combination of the values of the beat generation and the hippie generation.

And, I have to say that, although I keep hearing “this time it’s different” about the tech boom in comparison to the dot com bust, I see an awful lot of similarities. Particularly the influx of money without it being tied to a tangible result.

Just listening to the young, hoodie and man bun wearing young people discuss their businesses on BART, the bus, the ferry and coffee shops in San Francisco is scaring me. They seem clueless about sustainability, profitability and general business. They seem to be a Field of Dreams generation. That was a great movie with lots of symbolism but is a fairy tale all the way.

I’ve heard for years that SF and LA were both “rich” areas. Only in SF it was “quiet” money and LA was loud and brash. That description fit my observation. Not that it makes it fact. :relieved:

They did not include San Jose(THE CITY) either, only its small cousin 50 miles to the north.

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Hahahahaha. I love San Jose, man. I really do!

The City vs THE CITY?

Reminds me of the battle for the right to be called “Surf City USA”.

Huntington Beach and Santa Cruz.

But then again, who gave a damn?

Both are fun, ocean side communities. At least for a visitor.

Come on, who’s kidding who here? San Jose will never, ever be the international city that the fab 7x7 is known for. First of all, what is there to like about San Jose? There aren’t any land features/sights that would be interesting to out of towners/tourists. There’s nothing in downtown to make people want to go there for nightlife. You have the Sharks and if not for a great season last year they would be the laughing stock of the league after blowing it in the playoffs a few years ago. Not exactly known for cuisine or the arts is San Jo. Before you can even come close to being mentioned with The Real City, you gonna have to up your game seriously big time!!!

Dude, Chinese food in SF is a disgrace. SJ’s Chinese food way better.

I’m sorry, but I usually do not go with restaurant suggestions from someone who gets service at every Denny’s on a first name basis…:wink:

For someone who likes to quote and stand by stats, please provide me with a chinese restaurant in San Jose that has more Yelp reviews than San Tung (5k+ and counting).

It must be a slow news day. You (SJ) get a little press about your 1M average housing, and you folks get delusions of grandeur about your city? Please, SJ does not hold a candle to SF. We all know it. Please don’t embarrass yourself.

Here, another simple test for you. Name me 3 things why someone from Portland to Peoria would want to visit your incredibly international city of San Jose on a regular basis? (crickets…)

Here is a truth: Oakland has more soul than San Jose.

My ancestors are from the South :smile:

Yikes, @manch, too many of these stories and surveys about your wonderful city on the internet. See, at least your Mayor owed up to it. Don’t worry, I am thinking year 2275 San Jo may finally break the respect threshold by passing Bakersfield…:slight_smile:

SF is more glamorous than SJ, no doubt. But why should I care? Unless your window look out to the Golden Gate Bridge, why should I care it’s there in my town and people go ohh-ahh over it? Honestly, do you like tourists? I don’t, especially when they roll around town in their stupid Segways. But I love their money. So I put on a smile…

To me SJ is just more comfortable. More space, more parking, less congestion. SF may only be 7x7 big, but getting from one corner to the other can well take you an hour. Yikes. Parking is such a struggle that I dread going out.

Granted, this is my first few months living in this gorgeous city, I may well get used to it after a while. But I still do miss San Jose very much…

That might be a good thing actually. At least for the people who live there.

Manch, looks like the fog is getting to you…Move to Hunters point…best weather in SF and the greatest potential for appreciation. .the last affordable area in SF…Speaking of incredible fog…there is a reason why there are over 2000 bars in SF…The City is a drinking town…it looks much different when you are drunk cruising from bar to bar…everything is foggy all the time…lol

A friend moved to the City from Socal this spring. .I think she has had enough…May not make it to the true SF summertime Sept and October

San Tung? Frisco does not even have a Din Tai Fung.

Frisco is nothing but an overpriced tourist trap with no place to park. Whenever I get out of town visitors
they all want to see the Golden Gate bridge. Once they see it they are all disappointed. The only thing they like about Frisco is “the crookedest street in the world”. One thing. Even if you buy a house in Frisco, you may not even get a garage, or more likely a one car garage. I like my City just the way it is. Plenty of parking, shopping, jobs, and mostly tourist free. San Jose airport is also much easier to use than Frisco airport. Hey sfdragonboy, I heard people from San Francisco don’t like their city being referred to as “Frisco”. Is that true?

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