More foreign investors on the way

It looks like Canadian investors will have to continue to compete with foreign investors, as China passes a new program that allows Chinese buyers to export more capital from the Asian country.

“While there’s been a lot of talk about Chinese buyers being responsible for the high cost of homes, it’s a free market and it’s one of the major cities in the world,” Layla Yang, an agent with Re/Max, told CREW's sister publication REP. “The market is not overpriced and if it is, it’s not because of Chinese people.”

The debate over foreign investment ranges on. Recently, the B.C. Real Estate Association called for more data on foreign investment to be made available to bridge the knowledge gap. This will be important if policymakers want to maintain a stable Canadian housing market.

Many experts also believe that many foreign investors will pull out of the market when prices head south, which could dramatically impact the likelihood of a housing correction. The BCREA has consistently held that Vancouver's constrained geography and limited supply of detached homes are the reason for high house prices – a sentiment to which Yang agrees.

She adds that before the Canadian federal government ended the immigrant investor program in 2014, she was doing quite well with people from mainland China looking to invest in Canada, specifically Vancouver. At the time, it was nearly 90 per cent of her sales.

But now, a new program in China, which could see the Chinese government lift the limit of Chinese currency an individual can take out of the country each year, is bringing back optimism for Yang, who has maintained her status as one of Vancouver’s top agents.

“I’m optimistic that China will relax currency laws but I’m also doubtful at the same time," she says. "I don’t believe they will and will have to have a very good reason, but if they do it could mean a lot of agents in B.C."

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