Chinese investment in the Calgary real estate market isn’t new, but some say the trend is on the rise due to an overheated Vancouver market and bargains caused by soft oil prices.
There are hundreds of listings in Calgary on Juwai, China’s largest international property website for buyers.
According to one Calgary realtor, an increasing number of foreign buyers are purchasing such properties—and they’re not speculators.
“People are buying houses here,” Greater Calgary Real Estate agent Hong Wang said. “They’re not buying a $2-million house and letting it sit empty. There are people honestly wanting to have connections. Already their children are studying here and they are planning to immigrate here and they want to buy a house for their children and buy a house for themselves, things like that.”
Vancouver recently instituted a 15 per cent tax on real estate deals to try to curb a red-hot market driven up by Chinese buyers. But that’s not pushing large Asian capital here, according to some realtors.
Instead, they say smaller buyers are moving money to the city for other options.
The Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) says Chinese investors find Calgary’s market more attractive for several reasons: the prices are a lot cheaper than Vancouver, Calgary has nearby tourist attractions like Banff and the Rocky Mountains and there have been improvements in accessibility to Calgary from mainland China in the last year.
“Three direct flights from China coming in a week now…we’ve become a much more accessible destination for people that are foreign buyers,” CREB president Cliff Stevenson said. “It should be noted that the U.K. and U.S. have been big sources for customers for places like Canmore for quite some time, so to have another country that has direct access…I think it’s safe to say in the future we would probably see some foreign investment from that.”
CREB says there are over 6,000 real estate listings currently on the market—the highest number in the last five years.
Realtors expect more Chinese buyers will come to Calgary in the future, especially if the price of oil rebounds.
With files from Erika Tucker