Housing prices in urban centers are on the rise worldwide and Vancouver is no exception but that didn’t stop Chinese buyers from purchasing a third of the city’s homes sold last year.
Bloomberg Business reported that Chinese acquisitions made up about C$12.7 billion ($9.6 billion) of Vancouver’s total C$38.5 billion in real estate deals during 2015. Buyers from China also made up a further 14% of purchases in Eastern Canada’s Toronto.
To provide some context for these figures, the average cost of a stand-alone home in Vancouver rose by 30% to $1.8 million. In certain neighborhoods, prices can easily reach $3 million.
In the past few years, China’s wealthiest investors have been snatching up properties across the world. Last year in New Zealand, one Chinese family became the prime minister’s neighbors for NZD$10.1 million.
Another Chinese developer, Wendy Weimei Wu, bought an entire island off the coast for NZD$7.5 million.
Late last year, Wang Jianlin, one of China’s wealthiest people, bought a mansion on London’s “Billionaire Row” for an easy £80 million with plans to spend £50 million more on refurbishments.
However, it’s likely nobody can top Jack Ma’s real estate conquests. The Alibaba co-founder has his name on a centuries-old Bordeaux vineyard, a 28,100-acre stretch of New York’s Adirondacks and the world’s second most expensive home on Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak.
So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of Vancouver’s most expensive homes was sold to a Chinese businessman? Chen Mailin, owner of an investment company, bought a 2.7 acre property in the city’s Point Grey neighborhood for nearly C$52 million.
The Canadian government’s housing agency is researching the impact of overseas buyers like Chen who often leave their newly-purchased homes empty, causing local real estate prices to inflate beyond the budgets of locals like it has for some of Hong Kong’s low income population.
Still, there are many Chinese who do call Vancouver home, including the children of the super-rich home-owners. These fuerdai have even started a reality show on YouTube called “The Ultra Rich Asian Girls of Vancouver.” You can read more about their “fascinating” lives in this great profile from the New Yorker.
Another, perhaps just as infamous, resident is Su Bin, a 50-year-old Chinese multimillionaire who pleaded guilty in a California court this month to hacking into the U.S. military for China.
By Matthew Patel