More Chinese buyers than ever looking for real estate in Canada, research shows

An increasing number of real estate investors from China are looking to buy property in Canada with cities like Vancouver and Toronto proving popular, new data suggests.

According to the latest research from property search engine Juwai which lists real estate around the world for Chinese buyers, inquiries for properties in Canada have increased by 134% in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015.

A Juwai survey of real estate agents who work with mainland Chinese buyers found that 55% expected international property purchases to increase as people sought a safe haven for cash.

Canada, particularly the cities of Vancouver and Toronto, has long been among the top targets for property investors from the Asian country.

‘Barring any big changes in the environment, we expect Chinese investment in Canadian real estate to increase in 2016, and the impacts of that investment to be spread more widely as these buyers move into new markets,’ said Charles Pittar, Juwai’s chief executive officer.

In Vancouver, where the average home price has jumped almost 40% in five years, Chinese demand is concentrated in the luxury market, according to real estate agents.

The data from Juwai also shows that the total value of all Canadian properties that Chinese made inquiries for almost tripled to $14.9 billion in 2015 from $5.6 billion in 2014.

The top city by total value of properties searched was Toronto where inquiries more than tripled to $7.4 billion. In Vancouver, the second most in demand city, inquiries more than doubled to $2.5 billion and Quebec had the biggest jump in interest, with $764 million searches, more than triple the number recorded in 2014.

Chinese investment also has soared in countries such as Australia and the United States. The number of Chinese buyers completing on sales for commercial and residential property in Australia has doubled to US$18.4 billion in the 12 months to June 2015, according to the country’s Foreign Investment Review Board.

In the United States Chinese buyers have surpassed Canadians as the top foreign buyers of homes, with $28.6 billion of deals in the 12 months to March 2015, according to figures published by the National Association of Realtors.