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Canada second most popular destination for rich Chinese

Toronto, Vancouver property markets remain attractive options to Chinese investors

by Vanmala Subramaniam
Jul 21 2017, 4:51pm

Canada is the second most popular destination for “high-net-worth” Chinese nationals to emigrate to, according to a report by the Shanghai-based Hurun Research Institute in association with Visas Consulting Group.

The U.S. still remains the most popular destination for rich Chinese when it comes to moving abroad, but this year, for the first time ever, Canada surpassed the U.K. in rankings. Australia came in at fourth place.

As of 2015, there were 2.07 million Chinese families categorized as “high-net-worth”, a designation used for individuals who have investable assets of at least USD$1.6 million. This particular survey focused on Chinese who have accumulated assets of between $1.5 million and $30 million.

It is estimated that China’s personal investable wealth stands at an impressive $20 trillion — much of that money has gone into the purchase of overseas property.

Los Angeles stood out as the most popular city for Chinese buyers of property, closely followed by Seattle, San Francisco and New York City.

Vancouver ranked fifth, dropping one spot from last year, potentially due to the provincial government’s imposition of a 15 percent tax foreign buyers of Vancouver property. Toronto ranked as the eighth most popular destination in the world for Chinese buyers of foreign property, climbing two spots from last year.

In April, the Ontario government, closely following in the footsteps of B.C., also imposed a 15 percent tax on foreign buyers, a move that has substantially chilled Toronto’s property market.

The running theory amongst real estate experts in Canada is that when Vancouver slapped its foreign buyers tax back in August 2016, that foreign money moved to Toronto as a means of avoiding the tax.

There is a possibility that the same trend is now taking place with respect to Toronto — recent data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation shows a 37 percent surge in foreign buyers of property in the Montreal area, in the first four months of 2017.

That is, however, debatable — according to the Chinese real estate listing website, Juwai.com, for every Chinese buyer inquiry about Montreal this year, there were two about Toronto.

Another interesting tidbit from Juwai.com — Chinese purchases of American real estate increased by $4 billion last year, to a new record high of $31.7 billion. 65 percent of those buyers paid for their new homes entirely in cash.

The Hurun-Visas Association report claims that Chinese are emigrating overseas primarily to seek a better education for their children (76 percent), and a cleaner living environment (64 percent).

“Education and pollution are driving China’s rich to emigrate. If China can solve these issues, then the primary incentive to emigrate will have been taken away,” said Rupert Hoogewerf, Chairman and Chief Researcher of the annual Hurun Report.

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