Council Updates Language Proficiency Requirements for New Licence Applicants
July 21, 2017, Vancouver BC — Beginning this fall, new licensing course students and those licensing students who have not already satisfied the language proficiency requirements must meet a more comprehensive standard of English proficiency required by the Real Estate Council of BC. Applicants must demonstrate their competence at reading, writing, speaking and listening in English by achieving a level 7 on the four components of the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program – General (CELPIP) test. This change to the Council’s English Language Proficiency Requirement will come into effect on September 1, 2017.
Language proficiency is an essential skill for real estate practitioners. A real estate licensee’s ability to communicate verbally and in writing with consumers and other licensees is critical for the delivery of competent services. Many British Columbians speak languages other than English as their first language, and may choose to work with a real estate licensee with whom they can communicate in the language of their choice. However, real estate contracts and standard forms in British Columbia are in English. As part of the Council’s mandate to protect the public interest, it requires all students to demonstrate proficiency in English before they register for a licensing examination.
The final report of the Independent Advisory Group on Conduct and Practices in the Real Estate Industry in British Columbia recommended that the Council review its language proficiency requirements. The Council consulted with industry stakeholders and with its partners in education on the language proficiency standards required for competent practice in real estate.
The review identified the level at which real estate licensees must be able to communicate verbally with others in workplace situations, to understand spoken English, and to interpret and respond to written English materials. The CELPIP test measures competency in each of these areas. It is one of the tests designated by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for permanent resident status in Canada and Canadian citizenship, and is used by other regulatory bodies in Canada to measure competency in English.
Licensing students who have graduated from a recognized university degree program at an accredited university, college or technical institute at which English is the primary language of instruction, or who already hold a real estate licence in another Canadian jurisdiction and have satisfied the language requirement in that jurisdiction are eligible for exemption from the requirement to complete the CELPIP test. The Real Estate Division of the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia will continue to administer the Council’s language requirement policy, ensuring that licensing students satisfy the requirement before registering for a licensing examination.
The changes to the Council’s English Language Proficiency Requirement are part of a series of initiatives to help to ensure that BC consumers receive real estate services from licensed professionals with the skills necessary to conduct their practice safely and effectively.
Sitting on the sidelines while you wait to see what the market will do? No, argues Frank O'Brien, this is the time to summon your inner Warren Buffett
VICTORIA — Metro Vancouver house prices will more than double over the next 25 years, as supply continues to be tight and more people move to the region, a senior B.C. economist predicts.
Helmut Pastrick, chief economist with Central 1 Credit Union, said Metro’s housing market has taken a hit with the recent 15-per-cent foreign buyers’ tax, but demand for property will likely rise in the long term because there is little room to expand in geographically constrained Metro and a million more people are expected to move here by 2041.
This demand will likely worsen affordability and force more young people to rent for longer, he added, as incomes won’t rise at the same pace. Metro Vancouver home prices have ballooned in recent years: Just recently, a “student” flipped a Point Grey property for a $1.6-million profit within a year.
“We just have a shortage of land,” Pastrick told delegates at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention Tuesday. “As long as we have ongoing growth, we will see increased demand for housing. I think it will be a national and global development as well.”
Pastrick maintains such cycles aren’t new, noting there have been constant rises and dips in B.C.’s housing market, with a series of recessions since 1957 in which prices dropped between 10 per cent and 35 per cent.
Pastrick said he couldn’t predict when the next recession will strike, but wouldn’t be surprised if, in the meantime, the provincial government considers other measures to cool the market. This could include requiring higher down payments for first-time homebuyers or a gradual increase in interest and mortgage rates.
“This cycle will come to an end, but affordability will worsen,” he said. “Someone once said ‘they don’t make land anymore.’ We will see more renters than we do today, largely because of the unaffordability.”
High house prices are crushing the young demographic’s dreams in this province
Paul Kershaw, associate professor at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, said interest rates should be increased. They are helping to fuel the sluggish economy, he said, but the availability of cheap cash is driving up housing prices across B.C.
He and UBC’s Thomas Davidoff have a more controversial suggestion to cool the market: increase taxes for older homeowners — most likely seniors — who have paid off their homes and accumulated wealth in those properties.
The idea concerns North Saanich Mayor Alice Finall, who said many of her residents are already “house poor” and “a higher tax may make it impossible for them to stay in their home.”
Kershaw acknowledged such a tax may be unpopular, but said people over 55 can defer taxes until they sell.
Meanwhile, it would take the average young person in Metro Vancouver 15 years to save enough for a down payment, and that would likely only be enough for a condo.
“High house prices are crushing the young demographic’s dreams in this province,” he said.
He also suggested the province should cut income taxes, provide more rental accommodation and reduce the cost of child care, parental leave and transit so that young families aren’t having to take out a second mortgage to care for their children.
Davidoff, meanwhile, said the province should go beyond Vancouver’s vacancy tax and insist that all B.C. homes that are not used as a primary residence face a higher tax. Politicians also have to get tougher with zoning practices, he added noting that they hold public hearings for one-off rezonings and end up bowing to residents who want to keep luxury single-family homes in places like Vancouver’s west side, which results in renovictions in other places where there is weaker opposition, such as Vancouver’s east side.
Davidoff added the province should also dictate to municipalities how many apartments, townhouses and single-family houses they need, so municipalities can set “targets” for themselves, as well as tell developers what to build.
“Over time, this challenge isn’t going to go away, it’s going to be exacerbated.”
Home sales in British Columbia are expected to hit a new record this year as soaring demand pushes the cost of a home to a new high. That’s the forecast from the British Columbia Real Estate Association on Thursday, which predicts residential sales to climb 12.3 per cent in 2016.
Here are five things of note from the BCREA forecast:
1. B.C. residential sales are forecast to reach more than 115,000 units this year, which is well above the 10-year average of 83,000. The previous record was in 2005, when just over 106,000 units were sold. Frenetic consumer demand is driving the numbers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, where population growth continues to be fuelled by migration. Weaker economic conditions in Alberta combined with robust employment growth in Metro Vancouver is contributing to an increase in net inter-provincial migration.
2. The report says housing demand across the Lower Mainland-Southwest region of the province has increased significantly during the past 12 months. Sales activity in the Fraser Valley and Chilliwack are mirroring Vancouver’s breakneck pace of transactions. The association says residential sales are projected to rise nearly nine per cent to 47,000 units this year, while home sales are projected to soar to more than 21 per cent in the Fraser Valley and nearly 19 per cent in Chilliwack to 24,300 and 3,725 units, respectively.
3. All those sales and an imbalance between supply and demand are going to continue the current trend of prices rising, with the association predicting that the average cost of a home in B.C. will go up a whopping 20.4 per cent in 2016 to $766,600 and a further 3.4 per cent to $792,800 in 2017. In Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, those numbers are higher. The average home price is expected to increase between 22 and 25 per cent in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, and nearly 16 per cent in Chilliwack this year.
4. The average cost of a single detached home in Metro Vancouver in 2015 was $1,454,277. That number is forecast to jump by 30 per cent in 2016 to $1,890,000. In 2017, the association expects the market to cool a little with prices rising only 4.8 per cent to $1,980,000. An average townhouse in the Metro region cost $631,201 and is projected to go up 21.2 per cent to $765,000 in 2016. An average condo last year cost $481,399 and the cost this year is expected to go up 16.1 per cent to $559,000.
5. Strong housing demand and a lack of inventory has not gone unnoticed by home builders. Total housing starts in the province are forecast to reach 37,800 units this year, the highest level of production since 2007. However, the lengthy time lag between a housing start and its completion means that markets experiencing the most severe supply droughts, like Metro Vancouver, will likely remain in sellers’ market territory for the foreseeable future
Every month, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) does a small poll of its realtor members.
The survey basically asks agents to describe their most recent buyers. For example, 226 realtors sampled in April reported that more than 24 percent of their clients were first-time home buyers.
Another class of almost 24 percent were property owners moving to other, comparable, homes.
In addition, more than 22 percent of buyers were local or domestic investors. Coming in fourth at almost 11 percent were owners of either condos or townhouses who were moving into detached homes. Also, almost six percent of buyers were owners of detached homes who were downsizing to condos.
Foreign investors made up four percent of buyers, according to this latest REBGV survey.
Based on the association’s polling going back two years, from April 2014, the pattern hasn’t changed. First-time purchasers, homeowners transferring to similar properties, and local investors are the most active buyers. The level of participation by foreign investors over the past two years hovered between 1.5 percent and six percent.
REBGV president Dan Morrison has been in the realty business for 25 years. According to him, most of his clients are locals who are either going to live in the homes they’re buying or are purchasing for investment.
Morrison said the provincial government’s move to collect citizenship information from buyers, starting in June this year, is a sound call.
“Everybody is looking for one reason why the market is going crazy, and, you know, there is no one reason,” Morrison told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “There’s many different reasons, but the more facts we can get about it, the more we can better understand it.”
According to Morrison, B.C.’s good economy and low interest rates are among the factors behind the active real-estate market.
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Our marketing has generated so much interest we need more condo's to sell at Vantage.
Brokers concerned about real estate offers made with no conditions
VANCOUVER — Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Apr. 11, 2016 9:55PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2016 9:35AM EDT
The breakneck speed of real estate transactions in British Columbia has some brokers so concerned, they are suggesting agents have clients sign a form spelling out that they understand the risks when offers are made with no conditions.
Sotheby’s International Realty has sent a notice to its agents with a new form asking for official client acknowledgment that there could be serious consequences to an offer that includes nothing that makes the purchase subject to financing or property inspection.
“Something I’m concerned about is a bank then saying, ‘I’m sorry, we’re not going to appraise the property for that price,’” said Polly Cordwell, Sotheby’s managing broker, who drafted the new form.
People who can’t get financing risk losing their substantial deposits. They could also get sued.
Ms. Cordwell said close to 100 per cent of the buyer offers that the agency is seeing lately – as prices have spiralled to unheard-of heights, not just in Vancouver but throughout the region – are being made without conditions.
The Sotheby’s form asks buyers to recognize that “lenders may not approve financing if the property appraisal, conditions of the lands or building or any other factor pertaining to the property is not acceptable to the lender, even if a financing pre-approval has been obtained.”
It also warns them that making an offer without a building inspection could lead to unexpected and expensive repairs later
Dustan Woodhouse, a mortgage broker who mainly serves clients in the Tri-Cities area, said he had eight sets of clients in the first half of last week who all wanted to make subject-free offers.
He said he’s just finished talking to a lawyer about a similar form warning them about the risks.
“I am contemplating an indemnification agreement to make it crystal clear that at no time can I ever possibly advise any client that they are 100-per-cent safe to go subject-free,” he said. “The greatest danger in the market is the consumer walking around with a ‘pre-approval’ and failing to understand that it is little more than a ratehold.”
Although Mr. Woodhouse is doing well financially in the current market, he said he thinks the region’s real estate market has become dangerous. “These are very problematic conditions right now. I do not like this market, I do not believe this market is healthy. A little more rational behaviour would be nice.”
The Mortgage Brokers Association of B.C. is not yet seeing a stampede of brokers toward new forms advising buyers of risk. But CEO Samantha Gale said she is definitely hearing concerns from the association’s 1,500 members – who are among the province’s 3,200 brokers – about the high number of offers they’re seeing that are subject-free and have unrealistic completion dates.
None of those contacted by The Globe and Mail has yet heard of a bank or credit union turning down a buyer because the offer is deemed to be much higher than the value of the property. That’s largely because, as prices keep rising, an offer that is far above the official assessed value is still being considered as reasonable in current market conditions.
“But it’s something we need to be aware of as a possibility,” Ms. Cordwell of Sotheby’s said.
Realtor Ian Watt said the region is “overdue” for some fallout from the no-condition offers.
“We know somebody’s going to get sued.” It won’t happen immediately, as long as the market is hot, he said, but as soon as there’s a slight downtown, that will become a possibility.
The region is going through one of the most unusual bursts of spiralling prices that many people in the real estate industry can remember. Until a few months ago, the stories of skyrocketing prices, sales for hundreds of thousands over asking and no-subject offers were largely confined to certain hot spots, such as the west side of Vancouver and the North Shore.
We recently listed and sold this lovely condo for over asking price. Congratulations to our happy sellers!
Another record setting sale over asking price! Contratulations to our sellers!
Just sold our happy buyers into 2528 Maple Street Vancouver. Congrats on your awesome new home!
Congratulations to our happy sellers!
March sales set an all-time record
Metro Vancouver home sales eclipsed 5,000 in March for the first time on record.
Residential property sales in the region totalled 5,173 in March 2016, an increase of 27.4 per cent from the 4,060 sales recorded in March 2015 and an increase of 24 per cent compared to February 2016 when 4,172 homes sold.
Last month’s sales were 56 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.
"March was the highest selling month the REBGV has ever recorded,” Dan Morrison, REBGV president said. “Today's demand is broad based. Home buyers are active in neighbourhoods across our region."
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 6,278 in March 2016. This represents an increase of 5.2 per cent compared to the 5,968 units listed in March 2015 and an 8 per cent increase compared to February 2016 when 5,812 properties were listed.
The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 7,358, a 40.5 per cent decline compared to March 2015 (12,376) and a 0.8 per cent increase compared to February 2016 (7,299).
“Strong job and economic growth in our province, positive net migration and low interest rates are helping to drive this activity," Morrison said.
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $815,000. This represents a 23.2 per cent increase compared to March 2015.
Sales of detached properties in March 2016 reached 2,135, an increase of 24.8 per cent from the 1,711 detached sales recorded in March 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 27.4 per cent from March 2015 to $1,342,500.
Sales of apartment properties reached 2,252 in March 2016, an increase of 38.4 per cent compared to the 1,627 sales in March 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 18.8 per cent from March 2015 to $462,800.
Attached property sales in March 2016 totalled 786, an increase of 8.9 per cent compared to the 722 sales in March 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 20.1 per cent from March 2015 to $589,100.
The following letter was issued to The Vancouver Sun for publication on March 22, 2016:
Letter to the editor:
I am concerned about information presented in Lori Culbert’s March 19 article “Flipping on the rise, but still a small portion of sales.” The article listed the “top 10 most lucrative house flips.” Our analysis through the MLS® system found that seven of these ten homes were not “flipped,” but instead rebuilt and re-sold. In some cases, a laneway house was also added to the property.
The implication that these homes were re-sold as-is for a quick profit is false and it misleads your readers.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, and the 12,500 REALTORS® we represent, encourage an open public discussion about today’s real estate market. We believe, however, that the information that informs this discussion must be presented factually and in proper context.
Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
Published Friday, March 4, 2016 11:15AM PST
Last Updated Friday, March 4, 2016 11:40AM PST
In a red-hot real estate market where inventory is low, prices are high and competition is fierce, the seller holds exponentially much more power than the buyer.
Multiple offers have become the new normal in the Vancouver market, with many properties selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking price.
Those bidding wars have buyers going to extraordinary lengths just to get a chance at getting into a market that’s really out of control.
CTV Vancouver has compiled a list of expert tips to help you get the property you want, if you’re faced with a multiple offer situation.
1. Unconditional offer
Gone are the days where offers can be subject to financing, inspection or lengthy waiting periods. The key to winning a bid now is going in with zero conditions attached. That means having your financing in place well ahead of even going to see properties. It can also mean having a bank draft deposit in hand to present to the realtor and homeowners.
Realtor Gary Serra says it can also help to make sure that deposit is bigger than your competitor’s.
“I think in some cases people are coming in with a higher deposit because, again, if you want to stand out compared to other offers – obviously people will notice that,” he told CTV Vancouver.
2. Do your home inspection early
It used to be that you could include a home inspection in a conditional offer, but that practice all but gone by the wayside in this frantic market. Many potential homeowners are now opting to take their home inspector with them to open houses, where dozens of other buyers are doing the same thing.
“It’s really crazy,” said home inspector Shawn Anderson. “I was just in one recently where it was so packed it was like they were giving away free wine.”
With some people putting in bids on multiple properties before actually winning a bidding war, this can add up to thousands of dollars in extra costs during house hunting.
3. Write a personal letter
Although it’s far from a requirement to pen a magnum opus to the current owner of the home, Metro Vancouver realtors say it’s worth the effort in a bid to make a personal connection to the seller.
Serra said explaining why you want the home can give interested parties an advantage over others.
“We want to appeal to the seller and make sure our offer stands out over someone else’s,” he said.
In its tips for writing a letter, Realtor.com says homebuyers should use flattery whenever possible, and compliment the current owner on the condition or décor of their home. In a market like Vancouver, where many heritage homes are torn down to make way for newer buildings, it can help to mention if you’re planning to keep the home intact.
4. Appeal to the seller’s timeline
Your needs should come last when it comes to the real estate sale, says Serra. Home sellers don’t want to be bogged down while interested parties secure a mortgage or sell their current home, so try to make things work in the timeline they want. They may have purchased another property and don’t want to wait around to get out of their current residence.
New buyer Kyle Gould says he’ll take any advice he can get. Just moving to B.C. from Ontario, Gould says he has been hit by “sticker shock” and a big reality check about the market.
“It kind of smacked me in the face that it’s a wild game out here,” he said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Scott Roberts
The New Yorker Magazine Feb 22, 2016.
On a crisp Sunday morning in November, Weymi Cho picked me up at my hotel, in downtown Vancouver, in her new car, a white Maserati GranTurismo with a red leather interior. She had slept only two hours the night before. A new karaoke machine had been installed in her apartment, a four-million-dollar condo with a view of the city’s harbor, and she and some friends had spent the night singing and drinking Veuve Clicquot. Weymi is twenty years old and slim, with large eyes and waist-length hair that cascaded, on this occasion, over a silk Dior blouse. She has a reserved, almost aristocratic air. It was a little past ten, and we were going shopping.
Holt Renfrew, Vancouver’s equivalent of Barneys, is one of Weymi’s customary weekend haunts, though she is aware of its limitations. “It doesn’t compare to Vegas, where there is obviously a better selection,” she explained as we drove there. Weymi speaks English with a subtle but noticeable accent, and was relieved when I switched to Mandarin. Her speech was punctuated by European brand names, which functioned as a kind of currency. A maid’s monthly wages, she said, were probably the price of a pair of Roger Vivier satin pumps. A night out can cost half a suède Birkin bag. On Weymi’s last birthday, in March, she’d spent more than two Fendi totes—around four thousand dollars—on drinks in less than an hour.
In the store, Weymi spotted a former classmate from a Vancouver fashion institute, who was now working as a salesgirl there. She talked about the attitude of Chinese customers. “They treat this place like a supermarket,” she said. “A three-thousand-dollar outfit is like a carton of milk.” Another salesgirl joined in and lamented that such profligacy negated any sense of exclusivity. Weymi agreed. “I can’t even look at Chanel bags anymore,” she said at one point. “Everyone and their auntie now has a boy bag.”
Weymi moved to Vancouver at the age of fourteen, to attend boarding school. Her family owns a successful semiconductor business in Taiwan, where she grew up, but her parents are from the mainland. She and her sister attended an international school, which prepared them for studies abroad, and she spent summers travelling in America or Australia. “My dad always wanted our English to be strong,” she told me. “The plan was always to send us out West.”
The West is the plan for many of China’s new rich. In the past decade, they have swept into cities like New York, London, and Los Angeles, snapping up real estate and provoking anxieties about inequality and globalized wealth. Rich Chinese have become a fixture in the public imagination, the way rich Russians were in the nineteen-nineties and rich people from the Gulf states were in the decades before that. The Chinese presence in Vancouver is particularly pronounced, thanks to the city’s position on the Pacific Rim, its pleasant climate, and its easy pace of life. China’s newly minted millionaires see the city as a haven in which to place not only their money but, increasingly, their offspring, who come there to get an education, to start businesses, and to socialize.
The children of wealthy Chinese are known as fuerdai, which means “rich second generation.” In a culture where poverty and thrift were long the norm, their extravagances have become notorious. Last year, the son of China’s richest man posted pictures online of his dog wearing two gold-plated Apple Watches, one on each front paw. On Web forums, citizens complain that fuerdai are “flaunting what they haven’t earned” and that “their grotesque displays are a poison to the work ethic of Chinese society.” President Xi Jinping has spoken of the need to “guide the younger generation of private-enterprise owners to think where their money comes from and live a positive life,” and the government recently held an educational retreat for seventy children of billionaires, who were given a crash course in traditional Chinese values and social responsibility.
Yet fuerdai continue to fascinate. Some of the most popular Chinese TV dramas in recent years—such as “Noble Bride: Regretless Love” and “Ice and Fire of Youth”—have plots centering on fuerdai, whose love lives enhance or endanger the family fortune. There is also a fuerdai reality show: “Ultra Rich Asian Girls of Vancouver,” in which Weymi features.
The show, filmed in Mandarin and English, is broadcast online and is watched avidly by Chinese people worldwide. It follows the lives of half a dozen young women in disorienting, whip-fast edits of bling and scornful gazes. The women spend wildly to prove their status, but affect disdain for the ostentation of others. Season 1 ends with a woman being accused of ghastly crimes—attempting to pass off fake Hermès bags and wearing non-designer attire. Season 2 picks up in L.A., where two of the women are scoping out luxury houses.
Contempt for the nouveau riche is hardly limited to China, but the Chinese version is distinctive. Thanks to the legacy of Communism, almost all wealth is new wealth. There are no old aristocracies to emulate, no templates for how to spend. I asked some of the women on “Ultra Rich Asian Girls” about being the objects of both envy and censure. “In Web forums about the show, people are always, like, Why do they have to show off like that?” Weymi said with a shrug. “I don’t think I’m showing off. I’m just living my life.”
After shopping, Weymi and I went to the filming of the show’s second-season finale, in an upscale Thai restaurant that had been cleared for the occasion. We arrived early, and I chatted with the show’s creator, Kevin K. Li. Kevin, who is thirty-seven, was born in Vancouver to a Cantonese-speaking family and has worked for various broadcast networks in the city. He told me that he had envisaged the show as a mashup of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” his favorite program growing up, and the “Real Housewives” franchise. He said, “I figured, if I wanted to know the kind of deluxe lives these kids led, so would people in Canada and the U.S. and Asia.”
Casting the show was easy. Kevin shot a short promotional video in which a friend of a friend displayed a collection of bags and rode around in a Lamborghini. “It just went viral after a local media outlet picked it up,” he told me. People began bombarding him with requests for interviews. “The subject offuerdai was just ripe for the time. Everyone is curious and everyone has something to say.”
Gradually, other members of the cast arrived at the restaurant—a parade of Helmut Lang, Alexander McQueen, and rose-gold iPhones. There was Diana, an economics and Asian-studies major at the University of British Columbia, who is twenty-three and has lived in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and Hong Kong. A friend of hers from the university, Chelsea, was the only married woman in the cast. She had recently had her first child but seemed remarkably slender, and wore a pink baby-doll dress so elaborately feathered that, in combination with her towering Gucci heels, it gave her the appearance of a tottering baby ostrich. Ray, a finance student at U.B.C., had brought her boyfriend, who is also a fuerdai. Pam, at twenty-six, was the oldest of the group and the most reflective. As the women waited for the filming to start, they inspected one another’s outfits and accessories in forensic detail, but there was warmth as well as competitiveness in their manner, as if a life of continual consumption had fostered a kind of intimacy.
In this episode, Kevin would be onscreen, leading a roundtable discussion of the women’s experiences during the season. Contention arose about whether an actual round table was desirable. Chelsea was concerned that it covered up too much of the clothes—“We could just be wearing p.j.s underneath”—but Kevin’s eye was on the composition. “I know what look you are going for,” he said, nodding sympathetically. “But we have six pairs of legs, and it’s just going to look messy.”
The episode began with a champagne toast, after which Kevin posed a series of softball questions: How did Diana’s experiment living on a low-income budget for one day go? (Not well.) How was house-hunting in L.A.? (Nice mansions but all in the wrong areas.) Kevin asked the women about the potential difficulties of dating outside their class. There was a slight pause before Diana ventured, “It can be hard. I’ve done it before and it’s just”—she took a second to smooth out her bangs—“just awkward and uncomfortable for everyone.”
It was one of the few discordant moments in the discussion, but off-camera exchanges were more revealing. At one point, Diana announced, to no one in particular, “I am going to fix my face.” She’d heard about a recent Korean innovation in plastic surgery called 3-D molding. It was noninvasive, and involved a variety of braces and other devices designed to give the face the oval shape valued in Asian culture.
Weymi chimed in, saying, “Last time, when I went to Korea with my parents and my sister, I wanted to do it but my parents wouldn’t let me.”
“It’s a high-tech thing,” Diana said nonchalantly. “And very natural. Recovery can take only eight months.”
When I asked why she would endure such a process so young, Diana looked at me with a perplexity that bordered on pity.
“For a more beautiful face, of course,” she said.
About a third of China’s wealth belongs to just one per cent of the population. While China’s poor still inhabit a developing-world economy, a recent report found that the country now has more dollar billionaires than the U.S. does. “What is happening in China constitutes one of the most rapid emergences of wealth stratification in human history,” Jeffrey Winters, a politics professor at Northwestern University, told me. Winters, the author of the book “Oligarchy,” pointed out that China is one of a small number of countries—Russia is the other notable example—where extreme wealth stratification was eliminated in a Communist revolution and then later reëmerged. As in Russia, the sudden formation of a new oligarchy in China means that there are many super-rich people who are unfamiliar with the ways in which more entrenched aristocracies quietly protect their wealth. “No matter the culture or age, old money knows from long experience that it is far safer to be secluded and less seen,” Winters said. But new money, as Thorstein Veblen theorized, asserts itself through conspicuous consumption.
“I’m used to him finishing my sentences, but now he starts them, too.”
A study by the Bank of China and the Hurun Report found that sixty per cent of the country’s rich people were either in the process of moving abroad or considering doing so. (“Rich” was defined as being worth more than ten million yuan—around $1.5 million, a considerable fortune in China, though not stratospheric.) The Chinese are currently transferring money out of the country at a rate of around four hundred and fifty billion dollars a year. Most of that money has gone into real estate. According to the National Association of Realtors, Chinese buyers have become the largest source of foreign cash in the U.S. residential real-estate market.
Moneyed people leave China for various reasons. Some are worried about pollution. Others want to secure a good education for their children. Zhou Xueguang, a sociology professor at Stanford who received his bachelor’s degree in China, told me, “The competition in the Chinese school system is known to be brutal.” He went on, “There are only so many slots in good schools, and, at a certain level, it doesn’t matter how much money you have—you won’t be able to get in.” But, for affluent Chinese, the most basic reason to move abroad is that fortunes in China are precarious. The concerns go deeper than anxiety about the country’s slowing growth and turbulent stock market; it is very difficult to progress above a certain level in business without cultivating, and sometimes buying, the support of government officials, who are often ousted in anti-corruption sweeps instigated by rivals.
John Osburg, an anthropologist who spent years studying successful businessmen in Chengdu, told me that “there’s always a fear that, if the officials to whom they’re tied are brought down in an anti-corruption campaign, it could bring trouble for them, too, and lead to the seizure of their assets. There’s also a concern that business rivals who may be better connected to people in the government could use their ties to the party-state to bring down their competitors.” Some people he knew considered being on Forbes’s annual list of the richest people in China a curse. “The people on that list, for several years in a row, within a year or two of appearing, would be the target of some kind of criminal investigation or they’d be brought down in a corruption scandal,” he said.
In Vancouver, Weymi mentioned the pervasiveness of such anxieties: “Some of my relatives in Shanghai who are officials—all clean ones, of course—have told me stories about their friends who are fretting about the recent corruption crackdown. In China, it’s not just about what you did but what your network of relationships is.”
This is the first time that China’s rich have sought to emigrate in significant numbers. For thousands of years, the ruling class was proudly isolationist. “People now refer to China as an emerging economy, but it was the world’s dominant economy for two millennia, until 1810,” Shamus Khan, a sociology professor at Columbia who specializes in élites, told me. “Before that, the Chinese élite were very reserved and almost snobbish in their view of foreigners. They thought of the European élite as backward people who wanted to acquire culture from China.” Westerners made hazardous journeys to obtain prized commodities—porcelain, tea, silk—from the Middle Kingdom, which considered itself the center of the world.
Only in the nineteenth century did it become evident that the West had outstripped China, especially in the field of military technology. The Opium Wars, which were fought over China’s trade imbalance with Britain, resulted in a humiliating defeat and, ultimately, the end of the Empire. “China’s first encounter with globalization led to its collapse, one from which the country has never completely recovered,” Khan said. “The emergence of a new Chinese élite is China’s second moment of encounter with these global processes, and it’s interesting how certain dimensions are reversed.”
A party followed the filming, and went on until the early hours of the morning. Ray and her boyfriend pointed out a man who they said knew everybody. He owned an Aston Martin, they said—not in itself a distinction, as they were each considering buying one, but this particular car was modelled on the one that appeared in the latest James Bond movie, and was the only one of its kind in British Columbia.
This was Paul Oei, a loquacious fifty-year-old with bristly silver hair. When I introduced myself, he immediately took a selfie of us and posted it to Instagram—his usual manner of salutation, it turned out. Then he presented me with three business cards. The first identified him as the founder and C.E.O. of Organic Eco-Centre Corp., a composting company that is also a sponsor of the show; the second as the chair of the Miss Chinese Vancouver Pageant; the third as the head of Canadian Manu Immigration & Financial Services. Manu, which Oei founded a decade ago, provides advice on immigration strategies, investments, and assimilation for Chinese nationals moving abroad. For fuerdaiseeking to establish themselves in Vancouver, he is the go-to fixer and an unofficial ambassador.
Oei said that so many Chinese want to move to Vancouver that Manu has many more potential customers than it can accommodate. “They buy properties without hesitation,” he said. “It’s very cheap in comparison to, let’s say, New York, L.A., Hong Kong, or Japan. First, it’s very economical to buy properties, and then, second, these folks have so much money, they want to diversify and put it in a country that is safe.”
I asked him if the people he works with could be considered China’s one per cent. “I wouldn’t say that they are the one per cent,” Oei replied. “More like between the one and two per cent.” His clients tend to have prospered in regional manufacturing cities, whereas the very wealthiest people are from Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. “The tippy top of the pyramid have political backing or connections,” he said. “They don’t need to export the wealth.”
A few days later, Oei took me to dinner at a Chinese restaurant that had opened recently in downtown Vancouver. Bentleys and Range Rovers in the parking lot and the expansive waterfront view gave me a good idea of the clientele, as did the Peking duck, which was eighty-eight dollars. Over aromatic shiitake soup, poured from tiny clay pots, Oei expanded on the aims and the attitudes of Chinese families who decide to put down roots in Canada. Early on, they often think of it as a temporary arrangement. “When they come, in the first month or two months they want to go back,” he said. “It’s too boring in the new world.” The turning point generally comes after a year and a half. “It’s usually the children, who graduate, and they say, ‘I love Canada. This is like heaven—I don’t want to go back.’ ”
The owner of the restaurant, Hu Yan, stopped by our table to say hello to Oei. A woman in her mid-forties, with weatherbeaten cheekbones and an efficient demeanor, she had been a successful restaurateur in the northern city of Xi’an and had come to Vancouver two years earlier. When I asked her how she had made the decision to move, she smiled and shook her head. “My husband was in Vancouver on vacation, and his buddies dragged him to a few open houses,” she said. “The next thing I know, we are signing the deed to property in the city.” Even though it was an expensive purchase, she didn’t feel that she was making a commitment to the city. It just seemed like insurance against the vagaries of the Chinese economy.
What made her think about staying was her eleven-year-old son. She told me that he was currently in L.A. for a junior golf tournament and that she was making plans to gradually move East for him. With some pride, Hu explained her plan to open restaurants in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and, ultimately, New York. I asked her why New York, and she looked at me with surprise. “For my son, of course. The Northeast is where all the best universities are, and that’s where he’ll be living one day.”
Hu’s priorities are typical of her generation, China’s first wave of entrepreneurs. Having amassed vast amounts of capital in the transition to a market economy, they can afford to bring up their children in a new atmosphere of privilege, and the legacy of the one-child policy gives the beam of parental expectation an especially tight focus. Furthermore, the memory of poverty and backwardness is ever-present in the collective consciousness. I remembered something Ray had told me: “The poorer your parents were when they were young, the more they want a better environment for their kids.” The desire to have a Western-educated child is spurred by considerations of prestige as much as by practicalities. Also relevant is Oei’s observation that his clients aren’t the richest or the best-connected people in China; they want their children to have access to the cultural and political capital that is unavailable to them. Underpinning the discussion of fuerdai in China is a national apprehension about the future élite of a country that is just coming of age.
ile in Vancouver, I met up with Andy Yan, an urban planner who has done extensive studies of the city’s real-estate market. We drove out to West Point Grey, one of the most expensive areas, which overlooks an inlet. (In general, the most desirable real estate is in the west, toward the ocean, and the influx of international money has pushed longtime residents inland.) It was a bright, cool afternoon, and, as we drove down block after leafy block, the only other vehicles we saw were maintenance trucks. “It feels a little like a movie set,” Yan said. The houses we passed, palatial properties with views of the water, represented a cut-and-paste approach to Old World European glamour: there were French windows flanked by Corinthian pillars and topped by Tudor roofs. Yan pointed out the lion statues that stood beside many of the security gates: “That’s a dead giveaway the owner is Chinese.”
Yan was born in Vancouver and his family has been in Canada for nearly a century. He studied urban planning at U.C.L.A. and then got a job in the office of the prominent architect Bing Thom—a Vancouver native whose family is originally from Hong Kong—monitoring the impact of the city’s property boom. In a recent study, Yan found that about seventy per cent of the single-family homes sold in three high-end west-side neighborhoods were bought by Chinese. Many occupants of these properties described themselves as housewives or students—twenty-seven per cent of the respondents in homes with an average value of $3.05 million. The finding led Yan to speak of so-called “astronaut” family arrangements. The home buyer, typically the husband, lives and works in Asia, where cash can be made fast, while establishing his family members in Canada in order to move the money to a place of social and political stability. Yan has coined the term “hedge city” for places like Vancouver: they are a hedge against volatility at home.
In the past six years, the value of single-family homes in Vancouver has risen seventy-five per cent, to an average of $1.9 million. At the same time, the median household income has barely budged. The disparity is not lost on locals. Last year, an indignant twenty-nine-year-old woman tweeted a selfie with the hashtag #don’thave1million. Hundreds of other Vancouver residents followed suit.
David Eby, who represents Vancouver-Point Grey in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, told me that he recently met with the district’s residents’ association. “All the talk was about mainland money. There is a lot of anxiety, and a sense that mainland buyers purchase houses but don’t contribute to the community or take part in it.”
Under pressure, the mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, has proposed a tax on luxury homes and a tax on income from property speculation. He has recommended raising the tax on vacant investment properties and called for “far better tracking” of international investment and absentee owners. But it seems unlikely that such measures will be implemented. As prices have risen, ordinary Canadians have found that their homes represent more and more of their net worth. Many people in the federal government, including the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, have advocated caution when it comes to steps that would depress property values. Besides, rich international buyers mean higher tax revenues. “The state is addicted to the revenue,” Eby told me.
I asked Bing Thom about the changes. The property boom has, of course, been good for the architectural profession, but Thom, who is now in his early seventies, is troubled by what is happening to his home town. “By all accounts, I have done pretty well in my business, but I made more money from sitting on my Vancouver property than I made by working an entire lifetime,” he said. “That tells you something.”
Thom was alarmed that consumption has effectively replaced production as Vancouver’s growth industry. “The city has become a hotel,” he said. He was opposed to what he called “selling citizenships”—the practice whereby countries including Canada and the U.S. grant residency in exchange for investment. “I think any country should be against that, because you’re not buying the best people,” Thom said. “They don’t invest in their country. There’s no belonging. But it’s a worldwide trend. It’s happening in England. It’s happening in France. It’s happening in Australia. Everywhere.”
There is a common conception that the fuerdai are being groomed to inherit their parents’ businesses, but this isn’t necessarily the case. One of the women on the show told me, “My daddy doesn’t want me to kill the company he has worked so hard to build. He told me, ‘If you don’t have the ability to take over, it’s better for you to collect a monthly income and give the reins to someone else.’ ” Parents often provide their children with money to start a small venture, to test their business acumen. Weymi’s parents promised her half a million dollars to launch a bilingual luxury-life-style magazine, which will be distributed free at high-end stores, in order to foster a sense of exclusivity. “I don’t plan on making a huge fortune from it,” Weymi said. “But my friends all agree: this project is so Weymi.” Ray’s boyfriend, who has yet to graduate from college, is going to open a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant in downtown Vancouver, with a sizable parental stake. “I plan to have menus on iPads, and there will be a video-game component to the ordering,” he told me.
Of all the women I met from the show, the only one who had a job was Pam, who was cheerfully squeezing three gigs into seventy-hour workweeks. She was a producer on the show, worked at a Vancouver auction house owned by an uncle, and ran her own modelling agency. One morning, I accompanied her as she flitted from one job to the next. We met in a clothing store with a makeshift runway, where she’d been casting models for an upcoming charity event, and then took a car to the auction house. She clearly enjoyed this kind of juggling. “Doing a nine-to-five, it’s too boring, and you don’t get to meet people,” she said, laughing. “My biggest flaw is that I have trouble finishing boring tasks.” She cited a Chinese proverb about beginning with the ferocity of a tiger and ending with the anticlimax of a snake’s tail.
Pam is uncommonly energetic. Her speech, alternating between slangy English and proverb-laden Mandarin, puts one in mind of a human split screen. She came to Vancouver, from Harbin, to attend middle school. By the age of fifteen, she was renting a place of her own. She told me, “If I had stayed in China, I think I would have been very sheltered. Being so far away from my family has made me more appreciative of their sacrifices.” Pam recalled a moment in college when she was waiting for a fifteen-thousand-dollar wire transfer to arrive. After a few days, she called her mother, who said that there were some minor bank clearance issues. Later, a relative revealed that her mother’s business had been close to bankruptcy. “It was, like, the first real moment when I saw how far my mom was willing to go to spare me the worry. It made me shudder to think how careless I’d been.”
We pulled into a strip mall and parked in front of a sign that read “VANDERFUL AUCTION INC.”—a pun on “wonderful” and “Vancouver.” Pam led me into a display room filled with brush-and-ink landscape paintings, porcelain horse statues, and intricately carved rosewood tea tables. She is the firm’s marketing director and, as the sole English speaker in the business, had spent the past two months translating the auction catalogue from Chinese. On a tour of the warehouse, Pam pointed at a small curved bamboo plank in a glass vitrine, which she said was for calligraphers to rest their arms on. “What do you call this?” she whispered, and then said sheepishly that she had ended up rendering it in English as “Elbow Lifter.” “This business of translation,” she sighed. “It’s harder than people realize, and there isn’t the vocabulary in English for everything.”
The lament was one I heard often in Vancouver, and it seemed to express something about the dislocation that comes with an enviable international existence. As we paused before an exquisite Qing-dynasty armoire, I asked Pam if she ever thought about working in China. As she considered the question, she ran her fingers over a phoenix carved on the cabinet’s front panel.
“The thing is, I’m not sure I’d fully fit in there now,” she said slowly. “I lack my parents’ Chinese business know-how. Westerners are all about being straightforward and direct. But, when you negotiate a deal in China, it’s all about what’s unsaid, simultaneously hiding and hinting at what you really want. In China, I’m treated like a naïve child, and sometimes I feel like an alien.” Pam and many of her friends, having emigrated in their teens, exist between two cultures. Canadians, and the West generally, could be inscrutable. The cultural capital that their parents had hoped would be theirs was elusive. But having been away from China during years of dizzyingly rapid change made them foreigners there, too.
Weymi and I had dinner one night. For once, she was dressed casually—a knee-length wool cardigan, sensible flats, no makeup—and we headed to a no-frills Chinese restaurant called Little Szechuan, in Richmond, an enclave of Canadian-born Chinese, not unlike Flushing, Queens. As Weymi drove, I asked whether she preferred Vancouver to Asia, and she said she did. She tapped the steering wheel and said, “It’s like this: when I am driving here and need to make a turn, I turn on my signal light and do it. It’s the most normal thing in the world. When I first drove in Asia, I flashed my signal and immediately people, instead of slowing down, all sped up to cut me off. It was so maddening, and then, after a little while, I became like everyone else. I never signal when I turn in Asia. I just do it. You don’t have a choice.”
Little Szechuan was bigger than its name suggested. Almost everyone there was Chinese, and Weymi waved to a table of rowdy young men as we entered. “In this town, everyone knows each other,” she said absently. After we ordered, she asked, “Do you want to see my pic with Justin Trudeau?” She scrolled through her phone. “He wasn’t the Prime Minister then, and I just asked him for a photo. I like Justin. I like most Canadian politicians, actually.” But she said that Westerners were too liberal on issues like marijuana and the death penalty. (China executes more people than any other country, more than a thousand people each year.)
As we ate, the conversation turned to inequality, and the extent to which it is visible in China and Canada. “Have you been to East Hastings?” she asked, referring to a neighborhood that contains Vancouver’s equivalent of Skid Row and is bordered by fashionable bars and million-dollar condos. “That’s where you see it the most. But for the most part everyone’s life is O.K. here.” She paused. “A lot better than in China, at least.” She recalled a visit to Shanghai when she had strayed into a shantytown of migrant workers from the Chinese countryside, and then spoke of the impoverished rural region of Yunnan, in southern China, from which her mother came. “When I was little, my mom would tell me stories about how poor they were,” she said. “It was a kind of poverty that makes you fearful the rest of your life.” Weymi’s grandmother and aunt took in laundry to make a living. “She didn’t want to be like her mom or older sister, always gossiping about those in the village a smidgen better off than themselves.” Weymi put down her chopsticks. “It’s that kind of typical provincial pettiness, but that was her entire life if she had stayed.” She shook her head and drew a breath. “I mean, can you just imagine?” ♦
The annual BC Assessment numbers are in, and the data shows a staggering growth in real estate values across the province.
The total assessments in Greater Vancouver grew from $546.7 billion in 2015 to $636.2 billion in 2016, a 16% growth in 12 months. A sample of East Vancouver single-family homes saw the greatest growth at a 28% increase in value, outpacing the pricey West Side neighbourhoods which still made a strong leap at 23%.
Other neighbourhoods where sample assessment values grew over 20% included the Hamilton area in North Vancouver, the West Vancouver waterfront, Garibaldi Highlands in Squamish, Capitol Hill and Buckingham in Burnaby, and Westwood Plateau in Coquitlam.
“The 2016 assessments are indicating significant increases from 2015,” says Assessor Jason Grant. “Increases of 15-25 per cent will be typical for single-family homes in Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, Tri-Cities, New Westminster and Squamish. Single-family market movement in Whistler, Pemberton and the Sunshine Coast is less dramatic, with typical increases in the zero to 15 per cent range. Typical strata residential increases throughout the region will be in the five to 10 per cent range.”
BC Assessment says owners of more than 500,000 homes in Greater Vancouver will be receiving their property assessments for 2016 in the mail this week. The numbers reflected in the assessments show market value as of July 1, 2015.
“Property owners can find detailed property information on our website including answers to many assessment-related questions, but those who feel that their property assessment does not reflect market value as of July 1, 2015 or see incorrect information on their notice, should contact BC Assessment as indicated on their notice as soon as possible in January,” says Grant.
Assessment values provide data to determine how much property tax owners must pay each year. Those who experience a larger increase in their property values will be required to pay more tax in 2016.
The total number of homes on the BC Assessment list this year reached 1,996,112 and were valued at $1.34 trillion, an increase of 11.1% from 2015.
If you’re a homeowner, you may be newly eligible for property tax relief – the homeowner grant threshold has been raised to $1.2 million for 2016.
According to the B.C. government, raising the threshold means more than 91 per cent of homes in the province now qualify for a property tax reimbursement of up to $570 on an owner’s principle residence.
The grant threshold was $1.1 million last year. Homes that fall above the new number may still qualify for a partial reimbursement, especially if the owners are low income. For every $1,000 of assessed value above the threshold, the grant is reduced by $5.
An additional grant of up to $275 is available for senior homeowners aged 65 and above, have disabilities, or receive war-veteran allowances. The northern and rural home owner benefit provides an additional $200 property tax relief to those outside of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
That means certain homeowners could qualify to receive back more than $1,000 worth of property taxes.
Additionally, qualified homeowners who are having trouble keeping up with rising property values can defer a portion or all of their property taxes.
The grant is available to both landed immigrants and Canadian citizens who live in B.C.
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Home sales reached near record levels in November even as home listings began the traditional year-end decline.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in *Metro Vancouver reached 3,524 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in November 2015. This represents a 40.1 per cent increase compared to the 2,516 sales recorded in November 2014, and a 3.3 per cent decrease compared to the 3,646 sales in October 2015.
Last month’s sales were 46.2 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month and rank as the second highest November on record for residential property sales.
“November is typically one of the quietest months of the year in our housing market, but not this year,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “The ratio of sales to home’s available for sale reached 44 per cent in November, which is the highest it’s been in our market in nine years.”
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 3,392 in November. This represents a 12.5 per cent increase compared to the 3,016 new listings reported in November 2014.
The total number of properties listed for sale on the real estate board’s MLS® is 8,096, a 35 per cent decline compared to November 2014 and a 15.4 per cent decline compared to October 2015.
“Demand remains strong and there are housing options at different price points throughout the region,” McLeod said. “It’s important to work with your REALTOR® to understand your options before you embark on your home buying journey.”
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $752,500. This represents a 17.8 per cent increase compared to November 2014.
The sales-to-active-listings ratio in November was 43.5 per cent. Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio declines below the 12 per cent mark, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it reaches 20 per cent, or higher, in a particular community for a sustained period of time.
Sales of detached properties in November 2015 reached 1,335, an increase of 31.9 per cent from the 1,012 detached sales recorded in November 2014, and a 44.2 per cent increase from the 926 units sold in November 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 22.6 per cent from November 2014 to $1,226,300.
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,553 in November 2015, an increase of 47.6 per cent compared to the 1,052 sales in November 2014, and an increase of 60.3 per cent compared to the 969 sales in November 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 14 per cent from November 2014 to $435,000.
Attached property sales in November 2015 totalled 636, an increase of 40.7 per cent compared to the 452 sales in November 2014, and a 49.3 per cent increase from the 426 attached properties sold in November 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 11.3 per cent between November 2014 and 2015 to $536,600.
- See more at: http://www.rebgv.org/news-statistics/housing-demand-remains-strong-despite-diminishing-supply#sthash.loc6VuNw.dpuf
November 26, 2015
Commercial sales in the Lower Mainland registered a five-year third-quarter high between July and September of 2015 thanks to increased demand for land and office and retail properties, according to data from Commercial Edge, a commercial real estate system operated by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
There were 550 commercial real estate sales in the Lower Mainland in the third quarter (Q3) 2015. This is a 16.8 per cent increase compared to the 471 sales recorded in Q3 2014, a 13.2 per cent increase from the 486 sales recorded in Q3 2013, and a 14.8 per cent increase from the 479 sales recorded over the same period in 2012.
The total dollar value of commercial sales in the region was $1.9 billion in Q3, a 33.6 per cent increase from Q3 2014.
“We’ve seen steady demand in our commercial real estate market throughout 2015,” Darcy McLeod, REBGV president said. “Commercial activity in the Lower Mainland is benefiting from the strength of our provincial economy, which has outperformed the rest of the country for much of the year.”
Q3 2015 activity by category
Land: There were 192 commercial land sales registered with the Land Title and Survey Authority of BC (LTSA) in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2015, a 28.9 per cent increase from the 149 land sales in Q3 2014. The dollar value of land sales in Q3 2015 was $839 million, up 47.5 per cent from $569 million in Q3 2014.
Office and Retail: There were 215 office and retail sales in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2015, a 16.8 per cent increase from the 184 office and retail sales in Q3 2014. The dollar value of office and retail sales in Q3 2015 was $512 million, a 6.2 per cent decline from $546 million in Q3 2014.
Industrial: There were 112 industrial land sales in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2015, which is unchanged from the 112 industrial land sales in Q3 2014. The dollar value of industrial sales in Q3 2015 was $242 million, a 49.1 per cent increase from $162 million in Q3 2014.
Multi-Family: There were 31 multi-family sales in the Lower Mainland in Q3 2015, which is up 19.2 per cent from the 26 sales in Q3 2014. The dollar value of multi-family sales in Q3 2015 was $283 million, a 123 per cent increase from $127 million in Q3 2014.
- See more at: http://www.rebgv.org/news-statistics/commercial-real-estate-sales-reach-five-year-high-third-quarter#sthash.MrAZCmQn.dpuf
Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
Published Monday, November 2, 2015 8:52AM PST
Last Updated Monday, November 2, 2015 8:53AM PST
A new study is backing up the theory long held in Vancouver: that the red-hot housing market is being fueled by Chinese buyers and a wealth of offshore money.
Researchers analyzed 172 new home sales on the city’s West Side from August 2014 to February 2015, including posh neighbourhoods like West Point Grey and Dunbar, and found that 66 per cent were purchased by foreign buyers primarily from China.
The study identifies the properties as “some of the most expensive single family home properties in the City of Vancouver.”
Eighteen per cent of those properties sales have no mortgage – and were bought outright with cash. The figure equates to about $100-million in property sales.
Perhaps the most startling study finding was the owner’s occupations: 36 per cent were listed as housewives or students, with little income.
Nearly one-third of occupations of West Side home buyers were listed as housewife or homemaker, at 32 per cent, followed by business person, at 18 per cent, students and managers, at six per cent, and four per cent identified as self-employed.
The homes have an average value of around $3.06-million.
Because Canada doesn’t track foreign ownership, researchers used name analysis to get their data.
City planner Andy Yan said that nearly two-thirds of buyers had “non-anglicized” Mainland Chinese names.
“A non-Anglicized Chinese names may be an indication that an owner may be a recent immigrant to Canada and that an Anglicized Chinese name is an indication of a long time immigrant or non-immigrant and/or multigenerational Canadian of sole or mixed ethnic Chinese ancestry,” the study said.
Authors say the case study is intended to be a snapshot and shouldn’t be interpreted as a representation of all ownership patterns in every Vancouver neighbourhood.