Chinese real estate investment slowdown likely short-lived | Vancouver Sun

The Chinese government crackdown on capital flight from that country has combined with the 15 per cent foreign buyers’ tax on residential properties to dampen buyer demand in Vancouver’s sizzling real estate market.

But two senior executives at Macdonald Commercial, a real estate brokerage firm that monitors Chinese investment in Canada, say that the Chinese real estate investment slowdown will likely be a short-term trend.

“My sense is that it’s more of a struggle for Chinese investors to send funds from China now, but we are still seeing some significant income and land deals being done in Metro Vancouver,” says Tony Letvinchuk, managing director of Macdonald Commercial.

As an example of China’s abiding interest in our region, China Minsheng Investment Group recently purchased Grouse Mountain ski resort for an estimated $200 million. An unidentified banker said that Minsheng had been searching for a year throughout Canada for investments.

As well, several other significant state-related Chinese companies have set up shop in the city over the past year and are quietly buying up real estate around the province, despite the official policy, says Dan Scarrow, head of the Canadian Real Estate Investment Centre and Macdonald Commercial’s representative office in Shanghai.

Chinese foreign investment outflows — which have fallen from nearly $1 trillion in 2016 to $126 billion so far in 2017 — will continue to play a key role in Vancouver real estate in the long term, he said.

He noted that despite attempts to control capital flight, the Chinese government is simultaneously nudging the country into economic superpower status, a process which necessarily involves diversification of global investment over the long-run.

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As Vancouver’s housing market cools, commercial property sales soar | The Globe and Mail

Claire Wyrostok, owner of popular Vancouver vegetarian restaurant Black Lodge, wonders how long it will be until Vancouver’s hot real estate market pushes her out of business. In the four years that Ms. Wyrostok has been at her current location, on Kingsway just off Fraser Street, many of the buildings in her strip have been sold and property values have more than doubled. Since Ms. Wyrostok’s three-year lease came up for renewal in March, she says the landlord is allowing her to rent only month to month.

“Every day I don’t know if I am going to get a notice with 30 days to get out,” Ms. Wyrostok says. “Our business is done,” she adds. “You develop a business to make it bigger, but we can’t expand, and we can’t sell our business. Our business has no value on paper, because the asset is the lease.”

While the residential real estate market in Vancouver is cooling, sales of commercial properties in the region have skyrocketed. The Re/Max Commercial Investor Report says there was a 94-per-cent increase in the total dollar value of Lower Mainland sales in the first half of 2016 compared with the first half of 2015, to $7.1 billion from $3.7 billion. The number of commercial property sales in the first half of 2016 was 1,464, compared with 1,138 in the same period last year.

And some, including Tony Letvinchuk, managing director for Macdonald Commercial Real Estate Services, believe that the foreign-buyer tax on residential purchases will play a role in driving the market, which is generally perceived as a balanced mix of local and foreign buyers.

“There’s no question that the additional 15-per-cent property purchase tax will motivate foreign entities – being those who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents – to consider purchasing commercial properties located in Greater Vancouver, where such transaction tax does not apply,” he says.

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