In a recent study, UBC geographer Daniel Hiebert uncovered that over a period of five years, Chinese and South Asians have purchased more homes in Canada’s hottest markets compared to other foreigners and domestic buyers.
Using information from housing and immigration authorities, Hiebert’s research found that around 53 per cent of immigrants to Vancouver bought about 100,000 homes in the metropolitan area from 2006 to 2011.
“New Chinese immigrants were at the top of all this. Kind of incredibly, their rate of home ownership was 73 per cent,” Hiebert wrote in the study, as quoted by the Vancouver Sun
Meanwhile, 52 per cent of South Asians became homeowners, while South Korean and Filipino immigrants clocked at home buying rates of 51 per cent and 44 per cent, respectively.
Hiebert noted that most of these buyers rely on funneling their foreign capital into Canada to make their purchases.
“I think it would be a pretty big stretch for someone to arrive tabula rasa
(without a lot of money) in a housing market like Vancouver and within five years be able to purchase a home in this place. That would be really difficult to expect,” he said.
The study observed a significant spike in the prices of high-end properties (worth $4 million and above) in the same period, although Hiebert came short of conclusively attributing a direct connection between the developments.
Various quarters have pointed at the increased prominence of foreign real estate investors as a major factor driving up housing costs in Vancouver and Toronto, but federal authorities and government agencies said that more data is required to confirm if such a causal link exists.