Vancouver now has a larger proportion of Chinese residents compared to any other major Canadian or U.S. metropolitan market, according to Andy Yan, an urban studies adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University.
In his analysis of Statistics Canada data covering the Greater Vancouver area, Yan noted that approximately 20% of home owners in the metropolitan market are Chinese, while another 22% are from other Asian groups.
These proportions far outstrip those of other popular Canadian destinations for foreigners. Toronto only has 11% of its residents hailing from China, although the share of those from other Asian groups is higher than Vancouver’s, at 24%.
A significant factor impelling the trend is a growing fear of the future among mainlanders, Yan noted.
“It's actually the desire for safe haven ... where you are looking for a hedge against political, economic, social insecurity, and I think, increasingly, climate change,” he told NPR. “And I think you’re coming to a place like Vancouver because it’s safer.”
This influx has contributed to pronounced growth of home prices, with Chinese steadily snapping up residences across the city. Data from the National Bank of Canada attributed approximately one-third of Vancouver’s $38-billion 2015 home sales volume to Chinese buyers.
However, international property portal Juwai.com predicted earlier this year that growth in Chinese presence in the city will be much lower compared to the levels seen in previous years.
“With steep foreign buyer taxes and high prices in Vancouver and Toronto, we have seen an increasing number of Chinese buyers shift to other cities in Canada,” Juwai.com CEO Carrie Law told The Globe and Mail.
Law reported that Chinese demand for Vancouver homes declined by 2.8% annually in 2018, and Toronto had an even worse 10.3% drop during the same time frame.