Why is Vancouver’s real estate so expensive?

Saturday, April 26th, 2014

Vancouver has been ranked the second most expensive housing market in the world in a report on international housing costs, second only to Hong Kong.

The annual Demographia survey looked at 360 housing markets and divided median housing prices against median gross household incomes. Houses in Hong Kong cost 15 times local median incomes, while houses in Vancouver cost 10 times median incomes.

All of Canada’s major metropolitan centers fared badly in the report, ranked as extremely unaffordable with Vancouver the most costly.

According to Tsur Somerville, director of the University of British Columbia Center for Urban Economics and Real Estate, the reason for Vancouver’s skyrocketing housing prices is simple — demand is larger than supply.

“Vancouver is a lovely place with limited land and people from all over the world want to live here,” he told Xinhua. “If you have an attractive area, naturally you’ll get people willing to pay a higher price to live there, willing to pay higher rents to live there and relative to their incomes, and you’re going to get an affordability challenge.”

Local realtors are predicting the days of purchasing a detached house for Cdn $600,000 (US $543,500) are now over in Vancouver. Earlier this month, a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house on the east side of the city marked as the cheapest on the market was sold for Cdn $643,000 (US $582,500).

Somerville also pointed out that immigration to Vancouver, Canada’s Asian gateway, stands at about 30,000 people per year and the resulting demand for housing will likely keep prices high.

“But I think as long as we’re getting an inflow of about 30,000 to 35,000 people a year, coming to Vancouver as part of coming to Canada, that’s going to be able to support the house prices.”

His view was echoed by Ross McCredie, director and CEO of Canada’s Sotheby’s International Realty. Since the flare up of the international financial crisis in 2008, housing prices in Vancouver have remained high compared to other large cities around North America.

He attributes house price stability in this market to the steady inflow of immigrants and investors not common to many other major cities around the continent.

“But certainly the foreign buyers are also an important part of this market and if we didn’t have those foreign buyers our market would have been in significant trouble through 2008,” McCredie told Xinhua.

He noted Vancouver is one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan cities in Canada with a good location and environment, which means that people will keep coming and will continue to buy-up the limited housing stock.

“Part of the problem with having a beautiful city, and a gateway, is that you have significant amount of demand from people who want to live here.”

Source: Fu Peng, Xinhua

How can superstition affect the sale of your home?

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

You don’t have to believe in superstition for it to hex your house, if the results of a forthcoming Canadian study are any indication.

Reporting in the journal Economic Inquiry, researchers uncover enormous costs associated with “magical thinking” in real estate transactions in neighbourhoods with a high concentration of Chinese residents. The good news, however, is that they also identify payoffs — on average, around five figures — when superstitions run in a seller’s favour.

“We do find premiums and penalties associated with numbers that are thought to be lucky or unlucky in the Chinese culture,” said lead author Nicole Fortin, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver School of Economics. “And these are really sizable transactions.”

Analyzing nearly 117,000 home sales between 2000 and 2005, researchers discovered that in areas whose share of Chinese residents exceeded the metro average, houses with address numbers ending in ‘4’ were sold at a 2.2-per-cent discount while those with numbers ending in ‘8’ were sold at a 2.5-per-cent premium. Four is associated with death in Chinese culture, and eight with prosperity.

Given the average house price of $400,000 during the study period, Fortin said superstition ultimately meant the difference between an $8,000 loss or a $10,000 gain in comparison to houses with addresses ending with any other digit.

“Real estate agents are very aware of this, and they exploit it,” Fortin said.

In one Vancouver ad, for example, she found eight of 20 homes aimed at buyers from mainland China ended in ‘8,’ as did the asking price of 11 of the homes. Similarly, a 2012 analysis by Trulia.com found that in Asian-majority neighbourhoods, the last non-zero digit of an asking price ended with ‘8’ in 20 per cent of listings — and 37 per cent of those priced at a million or higher — versus just four per cent for other areas.

Fortin cites important public policy repercussions, noting that some people will petition to change their addresses — often by subdividing or via another legal loophole — to make their properties “luckier.” One of her own neighbours, in fact, had the last number of his home altered from a four to a six.

“I wondered why he didn’t get an ‘8.’ He probably tried,” Fortin said. “But should municipalities allow people to change their address just because they don’t like the number?”

In Canada, where people of Chinese descent account for five per cent of the population, Fortin said the implication is that something as seemingly innocuous as a home address could affect whether a property flourishes or is left to deteriorate.

To wit, study co-author Andrew Hill emphasized that disbelief in such superstitions doesn’t inoculate against them.

“If everyone knows that these belief premiums and penalties are going to persist — even if they don’t believe in (the same thing) — it can have an effect,” said Hill, assistant professor of economics at the University of South Carolina. “As a property investor, it just makes no sense to have a house number that could lose you money.”

Importantly, however, Edmonton real estate agent Taylor Hack said emotion can overcome reason in almost any purchase of a principal residence, regardless of cultural background.

“We have to take that into consideration when working with anyone,” said Hack, of Remax River City. “Everybody has their own level of superstition. If some people were aware that a traumatic incident happened in the home, they’d have trouble with it.”

Source: Misty Harris, PostMedia

Which are the world’s most expensive housing markets?

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

Economists continue to watch Canada’s housing market. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the average house price climbed to $388,553 in January, which is 9.5 per cent higher than it was last year. But how do Canadian cities compare to the rest of the world when it comes to the affordability of housing?

The rankings below are based on a city’s ‘Median Multiple,’ which looks at the median cost of a house compared to the city’s median household income in the third quarter of 2013.

10. London, U.K.

Median multiple: 7.3

International investment in London’s housing market has driven housing prices up and made it less affordable for moderate and low-income households. London’s median multiple puts its housing market into severely unaffordable territory; the median price of a home is 326,000 pounds ($546,310), while median household income is 44,800 pounds ($75,076), as of 2013. The good news is that the city’s median multiple dropped from 7.8 in 2012. London has the most unaffordable real estate market in the United Kingdom. The U.K. has a median multiple of 4.9, which is a slight improvement from last year’s 5.1 rating.

London’s overheated housing market has contributed to rising home prices in the U.K., which is expected to jump by seven per cent this year, according to Reuters.

9. Los Angeles, Calif.

Median multiple: 7.7

Los Angeles’ housing market, along with other cities in California, is causing concern; the median multiple has risen at more than three times the national rate since 2009. In December 2013, Los Angeles’ house prices increased a whopping 20.3 per cent from the year before. A recent study by RealtyTrac found that it would be cheaper to rent rather than buy a three-bedroom property in Los Angeles. According to the Demographia study, Los Angeles’ real estate is considered to be severely unaffordable and the city has made land use regulation more restrictive. The City of Angels is the fourth most unaffordable housing market in the U.S. with a median house price of $448,900 and a median household income of $58,300 in 2013.

8. San Diego, Calif.

Median multiple: 7.9

San Diego is another California city where foreign investment is driving up the city’s real estate prices. The median house price in the latter part of 2013 was $485,000, while the city’s median household income was $61,500. In just one year, from December 2012 to the same month in 2013, the value of San Diego homes increased by 18 per cent. While home supply remains at an historic low, Michael Lea, a real estate professor at San Diego State, expects that house appreciation will slow down to single digit increases in the next few months.

7. Auckland, New Zealand

Median multiple: 8.0

Houses in Auckland were less affordable in 2013 than the year before (its median multiple increased to eight from 2012’s 6.7 score). The city has been ranked severely unaffordable for all 10 years of the Demographia housing survey. The median house price in Auckland is $561,700 AUD ($506,990), with residents earning a median household income of $70,600 AUD ($63,724). Auckland saw a dip in home prices in January, but it’s predicted that the city’s housing market will be active during the first quarter of 2014. High housing prices in the city are also raising prices in the suburbs.

6. Melbourne, Australia

Median multiple: 8.4

Melbourne’s housing affordability has deteriorated — its median multiple increased by 0.9 points from last year. Housing in Melbourne, along with other major markets in Australia, has been severely unaffordable since the Demographia housing survey’s inception. In 2013, Melbourne’s median house price was $595,500 AUD ($537,498), while its median household income was $70,800 AUD ($63,904). Melbourne’s house prices rose by 3.2 per cent in January with the median price of a residential property reaching $553,000 AUD ($493,829), according to the Sydney Morning Herald. It’s expected that there will be a slowdown in Melbourne’s house prices due to higher levels of housing supply and deteriorating affordability.

5. San Jose, Calif.

Median multiple: 8.7

Yet another Californian city where housing affordability has deteriorated from the year before, San Jose’s median multiple was 7.9 in 2012. In the latter half of 2013, the median house price for a property in San Jose was $805,000, with residents in the city earning a median household income of $92,400. San Jose is among 11 California cities that have been deemed unaffordable. San Jose’s housing market will continue to perform well in 2014, according to the Urban Land Institute’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2014 survey. It’s expected that increased jobs and wages in this area will contribute to higher demand for property.

4. Sydney, Australia

Median multiple: 9.0

Sydney is home to the most unaffordable housing market in Australia and affordability continues to worsen. The median multiple rose from 8.3 last year to this year’s 9.0. The median price of a home in 2013 was $722,700 AUD ($652,309) with households earning a median income of $80,500 AUD ($72,659). Sydney has been deemed severely unaffordable for the last decade. While an American economist has predicted that Australia’s housing market will see a 50 per cent drop in values, Canada’s recent decision to axe the Immigrant Investor Program could drive more foreign investors to the Land Down Under, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Foreign investors are one of the reasons cited for the rapid rise in housing prices.

3. San Francisco, Calif.

Median multiple: 9.2

San Francisco is considered to be the most unaffordable city in the United States, where an average school teacher is unable to afford property in the city, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. In 2013, the median household price for a home was $705,000 and the median household income was $76,300. Affordability has worsened since last year’s survey when the median multiple was 7.8. Within the last 10 years, 75,000 new people have made San Francisco their home, but only 17,000 new residential units were built, according to The New York Times. Over the next 25 years, 150,000 more people are expected to move into the city. With a large influx of well-paid Silicon Valley workers, the costs of real estate and rent have risen to new heights. And prices are unlikely to drop soon; San Francisco has been voted the top housing market expected to perform well in 2014, according to the Urban Land Institute’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2014 survey.

2. Vancouver, B.C.

Median multiple: 10.3

Vancouver’s affordability has worsened over the last year; the city’s median multiple is now in the double digit range, rising from 9.5 last year. This is the sixth year that Vancouver’s housing market has placed within the top three unaffordable housing markets in the world. In 2013, the median price of a house was C$670,300 and the median household income was C$65,000. In February, Vancouver broke a real estate record with the average cost of a detached house climbing to C$1,361,023, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. But some Vancouver real estate agents are expecting housing values to drop with the federal government’s recent decision to scrap the Immigrant Investor Program.

1. Hong Kong

Median multiple: 14.9

Hong Kong has the most unaffordable housing market in the world. Residents of the island buy the smallest houses for the least affordable prices; in 2013, the median price of a home was $4,024,000 HKD ($518,496) and residents earning a median household income of $270,000 HKD ($34,790). This is the fourth year that Hong Kong has claimed the top spot — housing affordability has worsened from last year’s 13.5 median multiple score. Since 2008, the price of real estate in Hong Kong has increased by 120 per cent, according to Reuters. But government policy to double a levy on properties worth more than $2 million HKD may successfully cool the market with prices dropping by 4.5 per cent since last March’s peak price, according to the South China Morning Post. It’s expected that developers will need to undergo steep competition to attract homebuyers this year, which could result in cheaper prices for property shoppers.

Source: Josephine Lim, MSN Money

Where is the world’s top property hotspot?

Friday, March 7th, 2014

The UK and London are still the leading targets for UHNWIs (ultra-high net worth individuals), while property markets in some cities hammered by the global crash are now prospering and prices are generally rising around the world, according to the 2014 Wealth Report, from Knight Frank.

London retains its crown as the world’s leading global city for the world’s richest, followed by New York, and the two are set to remain there for at least a decade, according to the Knight Frank Global Cities Survey, which is part of the Wealth Report.

And at the same time, UHNWIs appear to be getting richer, with the highest optimism about the future among those in Europe and the Middle East.

But the fastest growing luxury residential property market is dominated by Asia Pacific destinations. Jakarta, Indonesia, has the highest annual home prices, rising 38% year-on-year. New Zealand has performed well, taking second place with Auckland, where values are up 29% and Christchurch in fourth at 21%. Bali is in third place, with a 22% increase, according to Knight Frank’s Prime International Residential Index.

In general, prices are rising, and some locations that suffered most in the global market crash are performing particularly well.

Liam Bailey, Head of Global Research at Knight Frank, says, “Continued global wealth creation, particularly in emerging markets, has been a key driver for prime property markets. This trend looks set to continue with a forecast increase of 28% in the total number of UHNWIs around the world by 2023.

“One of the most significant changes from a year ago is the general trend towards increasing prices. In 2013, values fell in 39% of the locations featured, compared with almost 50% in 2012. Last year there was double-digit growth in 20% of markets. In 2012 this level of price rise occurred in just 15%.

“Cities in Asia-Pacific have, by and large, performed particularly strongly, although government cooling measures have pulled back growth in Singapore and Hong Kong.

“Another trend is the strong rebound of some of the markets like, Dubai (+17%), Madrid (+5%) and Dublin (+17.5%), that were hit hard by the global financial crisis.”

Shifts in wealth distribution contribute to changing fortunes in our Global Cities Survey, which measures the most important cities to the world’s UHNWI community.

Three-quarters of the 600 or so private bankers or wealth advisors representing around 23,000 UHNWI clients across the world questioned for the survey say the net worth of their clients increased in 2013 and around two-thirds (65%) say their clients are positive about their wealth creation prospects in 2014.

On average, 28% of the net worth of an Ultra High Net Worth Individual comes from the person’s main property and the 2.4 second homes they each own, on average.

Just over a fifth of UHNWIs are considering buying another home in 2014, while 15% are thinking about permanently changing their domicile of country of residence. Quality of life was cited as the main reason for wanting to make a move and the UK is the country people are most likely to head to.

Almost a quarter of UHNWI investment portfolios is accounted for by property and it is growing in popularity. Just over 40% of survey respondents say their clients increased their allocation to property in 2013 and 47% expect it to increase further in 2014. Residential property was the most popular area to invest in (54%), followed by commercial premises (34%) and agricultural land and forestry (12%).

Investors are now showing more of an appetite for risk, says the report. The withdrawal of stimulus measures such as quantitative easing may be one catalyst, but so is rising economic confidence, especially in North America and Europe.

“Investment decisions are destined to take on an increasingly adventurous flavour; and recovering European property markets, which were firmly off the radar two years ago, are seen by many as a key opportunity for this year and next.

The top six nations in the 2014 Global Cities Survey are the same as in 2013. The full top 10 list is: 1. London, 2. New York, 3. Singapore, 4. Hong Kong, 5. Geneva, 6. Shanghai, 7. Miami, 8. Dubai, 9. Beijing, 10. Paris.

But Knight Frank also lists the five fastest growing city hotspots, which feature Middle East and Latin American destinations. They are: 1. Sao Paulo, 2. Istanbul, 3. Abu Dhabi, 4. Mumbai and 5. Sydney.

“The number of centamillionaires – those with US$100m in net assets – has risen by 62%, while the tally of billionaires has climbed by 80% to 1,682, according to WealthInsight, a leading wealth intelligence firm, which has supplied data for the report.

Source: Adrian Bishop, Editor, OPP Connect

Dubai to Vancouver in 1.5 hours? The super rich may use space travel to expand property portfolios

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

The world’s wealthiest may look at expanding their real estate portfolio as they may use sub-orbital space travel to reduce travel time, believes Knight Frank.

More than 70 wealthy individuals, with a combined wealth of over $200 billion, are investing in space research projects, which includes asteroid mining to sub-orbital space travel, the global real estate consultancy said ahead of the March 5 release of its Wealth Report 2014.

“By travelling outside the Earth’s atmosphere, gravitational forces will allow spacecraft to travel at over 4,000 miles per hour, so breakfast in Mayfair could easily be followed by lunch overlooking Sydney Opera House,” says Knight Frank’s Head of Research Liam Bailey.

The consultancy believes that space travel will have impact on global luxury property markets, with ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) will grow their luxury property portfolio.

Though the Wealth Report’s Global Cities Survey confirms, London currently wins over New York as a global wealth hub because it is more convenient for African, Middle Eastern, Russian and European UHNWIs.

But this convenience premium could be noticeably reduced if Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic succeeds in making his vision for sub-orbital travel a reality.

Transcontinental travel – London to Sydney – a distance of 10,553 miles will be completed in 2.2 hours from the current 21 hours. Dubai to Vancouver, a distance of 7285 miles that currently takes a flight time of 14.5 hours, will be cut short to just 1.5 hours, says Knight Frank.

Talking to The Wealth Report, entrepreneur Richard Branson said: “New commercial space will be one of the most exciting investment sectors in the next 20 years, driven by the initial successes of companies like Virgin Galactic.

“There is already some good evidence that the leading players are receiving high levels of interest from the mainstream investment community and attracting valuations that reflect confidence in future growth and opportunity.”

In 2013, Virgin Galactic spokesperson told Emirates 24|7 that it expects thousands will take the suborbital spaceflight from Abu Dhabi.

“If approved, Virgin Galactic intends for the UAE spaceport to be the first international commercial spaceport, contingent on US regulatory approvals. The UAE spaceport will be a very desirable destination attracting people from all over the world to experience the unique view of earth from above the UAE,” a spokesperson said.

Currently, over 600 people from more than 50 countries have placed reservations. Celebs including Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Ashton Kutcher are among those said to have bought $200,000 tickets.

Ticket price will play a critical role in defining the impact on real estate.

“If this is a technology for billionaires only, then property market disruption might be limited to a wider choice of global lunch options. But if the price drops to allow the merely very wealthy to access sub-orbital flights, then every assumption about current property prices will have to be reconsidered,” Bailey said.

Knight Frank has rated Dubai among the most sought after real estate destination in the world. In 2013, over 140 foreign nationalities, which includes Americans, Canadians and Europeans, invested Dh116 billion in the Dubai real estate market.

Source: Parag Deulgaonkar, Emirates 24/7 News

Does Vancouver’s real estate market mirror the Chinese economy?

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Vancouver’s housing market fortunes closely mirror trends in the Chinese economy, according to an analysis by an economist with the Conference Board of Canada.

Robin Wiebe says his number crunching has found that there are strong links between home sales, price growth and housing starts in Vancouver and the overall health of the economy in China.

Wiebe made the same comparison with the Toronto housing market and found that Chinese gross domestic product figures were linked to growth in that city’s housing sales, but not to price or starts. GDP is the market value of all goods and services produced in a country.

All aspects of the Vancouver housing market and economic growth in China move together and are statistically significant, Wiebe said.

“It’s another piece in a puzzle,” he said by phone from Ottawa on Monday. “It’s evidence that the Chinese economy moves with various Vancouver real estate variables. It’s another piece of evidence that supports the link between Vancouver and China.”

In the Hot Topics in Economics blog on the Conference Board of Canada website, Wiebe wrote that the effect of China’s economic growth on the Vancouver real estate market rivals the effects of three domestic factors: Vancouver’s population growth, changes in employment, and mortgage interest rates.

“The chief implication is that observers need to pay attention to China’s economic health when assessing the outlook for Vancouver’s housing market,” said Wiebe, a senior economist at the Conference Board’s centre for municipal studies.

Determining the extent of foreign ownership of real estate is impossible in Canada. No level of government keeps track of the country of origin of purchasers who often use local buyers as proxies. Wiebe said that in the 1990s, Vancouver’s housing market was relatively sluggish, despite what he called a decent economy and favourable demographics. Annual employment increases averaged 2.3 per cent while population grew at 2.5 per cent. During that same time, average resale prices rose less than three per cent per year, and ended the decade up 24 per cent.

“The market performed much better during the following 10 years,” he said. “Annual sales of existing homes exceeded 36,000 units, a previously unheard-of volume, for five straight years between 2003 and 2007. The average transaction price doubled between 2000 and 2009, with a 20-per-cent spurt in 2006 alone.”

A big contributing factor, he said, was a substantial drop in mortgage interest costs, which helped people buy homes. A five-year-term mortgage, for example, dropped from 13.2 per cent in 1990 to below seven per cent in 1998, before increasing in 1999. By 2009, the five-year rate fell to an average of 5.1 per cent.

Wiebe wrote that China’s economy grew by only 3.8 per cent in 1990, following a 4.1-per-cent increase in 1989. That compares to the previous five years where GDP growth averaged roughly 7.8 per cent.

The 1990s “ended on a weak note with an annual GDP growth of 7.8 per cent in 1998 and 7.6 per cent in 1999. The 2000s were significantly better — annual Chinese GDP growth never dipped below eight per cent.

“Now the pendulum has swung again,” he wrote. “Despite slightly faster growth in employment (2.1 per cent on average in 2010-12) and population (1.6 per cent), along with even lower mortgage interest rates, Vancouver resale volumes fell 23 per cent in 2012 and average resale price dropped 6.4 per cent. One clue to this tepid performance is that China’s real GDP growth fell to a 12-year-low, estimated at only 7.8 per cent, in 2012.

“Statistical analysis confirms the importance of China’s economic health to Vancouver’s housing markets,” he wrote in the blog.

He said his analysis shows that local employment growth is not significantly related to existing home sales, price growth or housing starts.

“This could mean that a substantial proportion of Vancouver real estate purchases do not need local jobs to buy any home (new or existing) and that many do not need a mortgage to buy a new home,” he said. “On the other hand, better economic health in China gives its residents wealth to spend on Vancouver housing.”

Tsur Somerville, a professor at the University of B.C. and director of the Center for Urban Economics and Real Estate at the Sauder School of Business, said a correlation between the Vancouver real estate market and GDP growth in China is not causation.

“It implies that our housing market is driven by what is going on in China,” he said on Monday. “I think there is an element to the fact that changes in world commodity prices are affected by industrial output in China. That certainly affects all of us.”

Somerville said there is no doubt that the Chinese economy and the rest of the world are linked. But he believes bigger factors at play may be the internal market and total immigration from Asia, not just China.

“The house price growth has been stunning in Vancouver since the year 2000,” Somerville said. “I would argue that a decline in interest rates has had a much bigger effect than the growth in Chinese GDP.”

Source: Kevin Griffin, Vancouver Sun

See how Canada’s condo market will benefit from China’s housing crackdown

Monday, March 11th, 2013

The bad news for China’s real estate market could be good news for Canada’s condominium market.

A crackdown on real estate ownership in the world’s most populous county might translate into Chinese citizens looking to move more of their money abroad, with Canada a leading destination.

“Absolutely it will have a positive impact [on the condo sector],” said Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist with CIBC World Markets. “If it’s softening now, it will soften less rapidly than otherwise. This is a positive move because some of the money will find its way to Canada.”

The Shanghai Stock Exchange Property Index was off as much as 9.3% following news of the crackdown Monday, which will include increasing down payment requirements on second-home mortgages and tougher implementation of a 20% capital gains tax on property sales.

Cabada’s two largest condo markets — Vancouver and Toronto — can probably use a boost. RealNet Canada Inc. reported last month that new home high-rise sales across the Greater Toronto Area dropped to 686 in January from 744 a year earlier and 1099 in 2011. There has been less pressure on values with the group’s index showing only a 2% increases in condo prices from a year ago on a square foot basis.

In Vancouver, the real estate board for the metro area said last week that sales for existing apartment properties were down 25.5% in February from a year earlier. Prices were also down 3% in that asset class from a year ago.

Ben Myers, vice-president of Urbanation Inc., which does research on the condo sector in Toronto, said the impact of foreign investors remains unclear.

“A lot of foreign investment comes through a subsidiary so there is no way to figure it exactly out,” said Mr. Myers.

By his firm’s estimates, only about 10% to 15% of investors come from abroad and only about 5% of those people have their name on the direct purchase of sale.

“It’s a small amount,” said Mr. Myers about the number of people who might come from China to invest.

Even at a small amount, those people would be welcome in the condo sector, given sales are not quite as robust as past years.

Realtor and developer Brad Lamb says every time there is a crackdown abroad, it’s good for the Canadian market.

“Foreign buyers are trying to move their money to a safer spot for capital preservation. We see that a lot from more politically risky countries,” said Mr. Lamb. “They are looking for hard assets and the condo sector has a track record of increasing prices.”

While Mr. Myers speculated that tighter rules out of China could be bad for the Canadian real estate market if the Chinese government restricts money leaving the country, Mr. Lamb said that might mean foreign buyers are unlikely to sell here.

“There is no way in the world they are going to bring the money back,” said Mr. Lamb. “They’ve done that as a safe haven. You have money in Toronto, you leave it here.”

He said one of the methods of bringing cash into Canada via real estate is to have a student going to school here. Other times, the money is transferred to relatives.

“What makes it attractive is the scale here. We are talking $300,000 to $400,000 condos. There are few places in world you can buy that in that price range and have someone run it,” said Mr. Lamb. “It’s much harder to bring money into other countries. We have a very easy and open pipeline of Chinese money.”

Source: Garry Marr, Financial Post

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