The relative ease of purchasing, the low interest rates, and the generous currency exchange all make Canada an incredibly attractive choice for foreign nationals looking to expand their investment portfolios—and this trend is not dying down any time soon, according to an economist.
Case in point: China. Per estimates by National Bank of Canada economists, approximately $12.7 billion was spent by Chinese buyers on real estate in Vancouver last year alone. This amount represents nearly a third of the $38.5 billion in total sales in 2015.
“China is not a great place to invest and relatively Canada is, it’s certainly getting very expensive by western standards but it still appears to be cheap by major Chinese city standards,” UBC’s Sauder School of Business housing economist and professor Thomas Davidoff told Yahoo! Canada Finance.
The appeal of Canada’s cities is such that some Chinese nationals manage to get way ahead of competing investors via the Shanghai-based Vanfun.com, which provides access to Vancouver properties on offer culled from the realtor MLS—a few days before these listings become publicly available.
Local industry professionals called foul on the Chinese-language website’s use of the data.
“It’s pretty frustrating. It’s taking our copyrighted information and using it against our rules,” Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver official Dan Morrison said in an interview with Global News.
“If they are getting access to our information on our system, if someone is giving them those numbers…that’s clearly against our rules,” Morrison added.
At present, no apparent ties exist between Vanfun.com and any local real estate agency. The website’s owner, Shanghai Ruiying Internet Technology, splits commissions with Vancouver realtors and claims that it is collaborating with major banks.
“That they’re taking a share of commissions is pretty unusual. [But] it looks like it’s open season,” Davidoff said.