Only 0.4% of Lower Mainland sales made by foreign buyers: report

Just 0.4% of all homes sold in the Lower Mainland in 2010 were bought by owners with a foreign mailing address, according to researchers at Urban Futures. When just condos and apartments were considered, the proportion rose to 0.7%.

While many experts on the Vancouver property market have over the past year pointed their finger at Chinese buyers for causing the latest rise in average prices, the actual affect from abroad might be exaggerated.

“We’re dealing with pretty small numbers here,” said Urban Futures economist Ryan Berlin to B.C. Local News last week.

“There’s very little hard data out there that shows foreign investors are indeed having a significant impact on our real estate markets,” he said.

Report contradicts Chinese findings

Yet those figures seem to contradict a report in the China Daily newspaper, which claimed to quote recent Colliers International data to show a whopping 29% of all homebuyers in Vancouver were from mainland China in the first quarter of this year.

The article said Chinese buyers spent US$200 million through Colliers’ international property department overall, with Canada, the U.K. and Australia topping the list of property destinations for buyers.

Where the China Daily got the data it was quoting is not clear. The Colliers Market Share First Quarter 2011 report pointed out a significant portion of the Asian buyers being cited in Vancouver’s market are actually local residents, not foreigners.

It did not list a percentage of sales to Chinese buyers in Vancouver, but rather questioned media reports of Chinese taking over the market.

“There also seems to be more myths than facts about Mainland Chinese investing,” wrote Colliers President Greg Ashley in the intro.

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