Chinese investors, facing new regulations, shift focus from Vancouver to Toronto

Chinese investors, facing new regulations, shift focus from Vancouver to Toronto

A crackdown on foreign buyers in British Columbia has Chinese investors looking east for other opportunities in Canada, with Toronto emerging as a prime destination for commercial investment.

As Chinese investment in foreign real estate retreated globally in 2018, Vancouver saw a particularly sharp drop-off as a series of new taxes kicked in, Bloomberg reported. Meanwhile, Toronto saw a slight increase in investment from Asia as a whole, beating Vancouver for the top spot according to data from CBRE, which includes only known buyers.

Chinese investment in Vancouver “had always been predicated on land, placing bets on land, whether it’s old shopping centers or office buildings even — they see underlying development and land value,” Avison Young’s Bal Atwal told Bloomberg. “They’re looking at Toronto now because they’re seeing a better arbitrage on that than they are here.”

CBRE, which has been heavily involved in bringing Chinese investment to Canada, is now planning to shift more of its focus to Toronto. The city’s booming tech and financial services market is seen as another potential draw for investors.

“That spells money because young people have to consume, they’re growing families,” CBRE executive vice president David Ho said. “That’s a huge advantage against the Vancouver market, which is more of a retirement market.” 


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