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Chinese homebuyers continue to favor Canada for real estate investment, according to a recent report by Chinese listings portal Juwai.com and Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. The report, “China to Canada: International Home Buyer Insights,” reveals the demand from and motivations of Chinese homebuyers investing in Canadian real estate in 2017.

“Barring unforeseen circumstances, we expect Chinese real estate investment in 2017 to come close to matching that of 2016,” says Charles Pittar, CEO of Juwai.com. “There is no firm data, but National Bank of Canada hypothesizes that Chinese invest around $38 billion annually in Canadian property. That’s a tremendous boon for the country and is more than double the $16.4 billion annual value of Canada’s No. 1 export to China, agricultural products.”

According to the report, Chinese homebuyers are motivated by “education” and “personal use,” with education interests most prevalent in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver and personal use interests most prevalent in Calgary. “Immigration” and “investment” are less motivating factors.

Demand is not limited to luxury properties, according to the report—in fact, in 2016, more than half of Juwai.com inquiries for properties in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver were for properties valued below $655,050 CAD ($500,000 USD).

The luxury property market in Vancouver, as well—valued $1 million or more—withstood the province’s 15 percent foreign buyer tax, which, generally, applies to Chinese homebuyers. Inquiries for $1 million-plus properties in the province fell the month the tax was implemented (July 2016), but climbed back up 18 percent before year-end.

The non-luxury market in Vancouver, however, was deeply affected by the tax: inquiries dropped 81 percent when it was implemented.

“As political and economic headwinds drive people from around the world to seek lifestyle and financial oases, Canada’s major cities are becoming increasingly attractive real estate destinations,” says Brad Henderson, president and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. “This report sheds new light on emerging trends in the motivation, influence and interests of Chinese homebuyers so that future market activity can be better anticipated.”

Sources: Juwai.com, Sotheby’s International Realty Canada

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