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Chinese pushing up housing prices in North America? Exaggerated!

(People's Daily Online)

08:33, May 03, 2013

In Canada

According to Xinhua News Agency, recently, some agencies in Vancouver, Canada issued a report, pointing out that the apartment vacancy rate in downtown is high, and some people use this report as evidence of "Chinese are involved in real estate speculation", saying that Chinese investors are pushing up local housing prices. In this regard, local industry insiders think such claim lacks factual basis.

According to official data, the average price of the houses in Vancouver is nearly 600,000 Canadian dollars, and the average apartment price is 360,000 Canadian dollars, at the forefront in Canada. At the same time, the increasing Chinese immigrants, coupled with some of the new immigrant buyers’ need to live close to schools or Chinese commercial center, boosted sales of certain areas in the real estate market.

After analyzing 2011 census numbers, Adjunct UBC (University of British Columbia) planning professor Andrew Yan found that nearly a quarter of condos in Vancouver are empty or occupied by non-residents in some dense areas of downtown. He also noticed the city overall has a much higher rate of empty apartments and houses than other Canadian cities.

In Coal Harbor, where up to one in four condos is empty in the tower-dominated waterfront neighborhood between Stanley Park and the downtown convention centre, the scattered shops in the area often struggle to stay in business. By contrast, the West End, which has a low rate of empty residential units, is packed with busy small shops and restaurants.

Yan said that the high numbers of empty apartments don't prove there's a problem with foreign investors, but they do indicate that Vancouver has a large proportion of general investor buyers, be they offshore or Canadian. But there are still some people who think the high vacancy rate has something to do with the Chinese people.

David Choi, President and CEO of Royal Pacific Realty, which is Western Canada's largest independent real estate organization, said, "This statement is more often based on speculation and rumors, rather than relying on facts and reliable data."

Choi said that at present there is no authoritative statistics about Chinese immigrants' purchase of property provided by the relevant government agencies of Canada and the Vancouver area. In terms of the proportion of the population, the Chinese population accounts for approximately 3 percent of the Canadian population, and it is difficult to convince people that they can have a significant impact on the market, and the role of Chinese investors is even more limited.

According to Canadian government data, among the national housing sales revenue, only 3 percent comes from foreign buyers, which also includes a considerable part of investors from the United States and Europe and other areas, with a negligible proportion of investors from China.

"Canada is a country of a sound legal system; the transaction process is open and transparent, so do not believe in false propaganda, or considering illegal transactions, it does not work," Choi warned.

Edited and Translated by Huang Beibei, People's Daily Online
Read the Chinese version: 中国客推高北美房价?言过其实!
Source: People's Daily Overseas Edition

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