Chinese buyers of B.C. real estate in June just 3%

Foreign investment in B.C. real estate lower than many might think

Only three per cent of the residential housing sales in a three-week period in June were to foreign investors, the bulk of whom were from China, according to new survey data released by the Ministry of Finance.

For the first time ever, the B.C. government has been able to provide hard data on how much Vancouver’s red hot housing market is being stoked by foreign investment.

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In June, the government began requiring proof of citizenship on all property tax transfer forms.

Data released July 7 is but a snapshot, and a small one at that. It covers all residential home sales between June 10 and 29.

“That is a very limited period,” said Finance Minister Mike de Jong. “There is a very healthy sample size, but chronologically it is not even a month. It is barely three weeks. So in terms of drawing absolute conclusions about what is taking place in the market, I offer that caution.”

There were 10,148 transactions between June 10 and 29 throughout B.C., half of which was in the Lower Mainland. Only 337 of those sales – 3.3% – involved foreign nationals. So, about 97% of home sales in that three-week period involved either Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

The bulk of the foreign buyers were from China: 258, or 2.5%. But those foreign buyers, in general, paid a lot more for the homes they bought.

The average value of investments in the June transaction for Canadian citizens and permanent residents was $735,000. The average investment for foreign nationals was $1,157,000.

The data suggests foreign investment may not be as significant a factor in inflating Vancouver residential real estate prices as many people have assumed. To date, there has been little reliable data based on actual citizenship. The province only began requiring buyers to declare their citizenship for real estate transactions in June.

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