Foreign investors may be buying majority of west-side Vancouver homes

by Ryan Smith

A recent academic study shows that the majority of single-family homes purchased in Vancouver’s tony west-side neighbourhoods were likely bought by foreign investors.

An academic study by city planner Andy Yan found that 70% of buyers of single-family homes in Vancouver west-side neighbourhoods were likely from mainland China.

The study used methodology commonly employed in public health, political science, and Asian-American studies to identify the origin of names, with “non-Anglicised Chinese” names suggesting Chinese nationals or newer immigrants.

“There may be some miscategorisations as an Anglicized Chinese name could be someone who is a new immigrant and a non-Anglicized Chinese name could be a locally born citizen, but after an external review, we feel this is minimal,” Yan writes in the study.

An even more surprising statistic also came out of the study: of all self-declared occupations among owners in the study – in which the average home cost $3.05 million – 36% were homemakers or students with next to no income.

Many tax experts are concerned that offshore investors may be exploiting tax loopholes to evade GST and capital gains taxes, according to a report by the National Post. Housewives and students can live in Vancouver for a brief time, claim a home as a primary residence, and flip properties tax-free. The real home buyer, meanwhile, lives and works in China while funneling money through relatives into Canada to store wealth, the National Post reports.

“When you see all the homemakers and students on the titles buying $3-million homes with mortgages, it really supports the idea that money from somewhere else is coming in,” David Eby, the NDP MLA for Vancouver-Point Grey, told the Post.

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