Foreign property buyer restrictions needed?

Is the Vancouver real estate market being driven by foreign buyers? At least one former city councilor seems to think so:

Peter Ladner says Vancouver’s home prices are out of control, and with China and Australia already restricting foreign ownership, Vancouverites should at least examine whether the idea makes sense.

Tsur Sommerville thinks it’s a non issue:

“If you go back to the 1980s, and the worry about Hongcouver, and all these kinds of things, Vancouver has been through this story before and I think most people think this city is better off now than it was in 1987,” said Somerville.

Full article at the CBC.

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Patiently Waiting
Member
Patiently Waiting

Vancouver slumlords invade tenant's apartment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gV8wo09dOQQ

jesse
Member

I don't see it as a "non-issue" but Ladner should define "foreign". Many if not most of the absentee owners he laments are Canadian citizens.

Polly Pollyanna
Guest
Polly Pollyanna

these videos are brutal – this poor guy is living the vancouver nightmare

NotBlind
Guest
NotBlind
It is probably a good idea to look at some kind of restriction against foreign, nonresident property ownership. Or perhaps an extra level of taxation. It is nonneglibly probable that the anecdotal stories about many foreign buyers are supported by statistics that will show that foreign, specifically nonresident-foreign, buyers are a big cause of the upward swing in prices making housing out of reach for the locals. It is not a healthy city if the buildings are mostly owned by people who do not live here or are not committed to the genuine uniqueness of the place and its people. Other countries have restrictions on foreign ownership. Mexico has restrictions, and probably a good idea, though inconvenient for Norte Americanos. Nonresident foreign owners will not engage in civic affairs, will not plant guerilla gardens or buy local art or go… Read more »
Patiently Waiting
Member
Patiently Waiting

@Polly Pollyanna: I watched all his videos. I hope that guy does well in his schooling and gets a decent place to live. I know people with disabilities and others who work with the disabled in this city. It can be a particularly bad existence here compared to most of Canada, especially with the lowlife slumlords. May none of us have to live like that.

I wonder if that guy feels he's better off than in 1987.

Patiently Waiting
Member
Patiently Waiting

"It came to my attention that it's something that's crippling the business community. Businesses can't hire people because they can't afford to move here," he notes.

http://www.news1130.com/news/local/article/210959

In the end, this is why Ladner is speaking out. The Vancouver establishment no longer supports the bubble and now see it as damaging their business interests.

patriotz
Member

I am against outright restrictions on offshore buyers because:

1. They promote the fallacy that foreigners rather then resident buyers and government policy are responsible for the bubble.

2. They would present an economic opportunity for middlemen to make money acting as fronts for offshore buyers to get around the rules.

Instead, offshore buyers should be charged 10x the property transfer tax at time of sale and 10x the annual property tax. Our governments need money for health care and education, what better place to get it.

Penalty for using a front to try to get around this would be forfeiture of the property.

I also think a heavy capital gains surtax should be placed on RE sales by ALL owners, whether local or offshore, except bona fide owner occupiers.

Polly Pollyanna
Guest
Polly Pollyanna

@Patiently Waiting:

i have had mildly arduous times but nothing like that. most of my problems are of my own design. i don't blame him for video taping everything, how would he be treated if he wasn't taping?

it's difficult to keep body, mind and soul together in vancouver on anything less than 1500-2000 a month.

Boombust
Guest
Boombust

"In the end, this is why Ladner is speaking out. The Vancouver establishment no longer supports the bubble and now see it as damaging their business interests"

Exactly.

Keeping An Eye On Th
Guest
Keeping An Eye On Th

There is no need for government intervention; the bubble is not supported by foreign investors.

What we should do is supply lawn chairs and sleeping bags for the dolts who want to line up overnight to buy condos.

The odd foreign investor represents a puny drop in an ocean of home grown idiots.

fellowe
Guest
fellowe
but why is Peter Ladner speaking only now, and why is he suggesting THIS solution? for many years, metro vancouver has been a terrible place to try to start or run a business, if it's not connected to real estate; you'd be far better off to innovate about 225 km to the south in this little place called seattle. in vancouver, you face high taxes and a cost of living that makes it nearly impossible to attract and retain top talent. to anyone with capital and an appetite for risk, real estate development also has the appearance of being much easier; why make the effort and take on the risk to build a better widget when you could just build houses (or subdivisions and condos, if you prefer a larger scale) and make easy money that way? if Ladner wants… Read more »
patriotz
Member

and I think most people think this city is better off now than it was in 1987,

Now there's a real Tsurism for you. No claim that can be tested against reality, just "I think most people think".

What I think is that the city is actually worse off than in 1987, and that will become apparent soon enough.

whydoItry
Guest
whydoItry

I'll take Vancouver in 1987 rather than today.

But I'd check if Gordon Campbell was the Mayor first?

Vancouver was a better city when it wasn't world class.

Polly Pollyanna
Guest
Polly Pollyanna

@whydoItry:

you should've seen it before it was a city

there is a great little pamphlet from the 70s or 80s floating around called "Old Vancouver Streams" – check it out.

another one that's good is the "Historical Atlas of Vancouver and the Fraser Valley" by Derek Hayes – i think rather than foreign ownership restrictions, this atlas should be required reading before being allowed to get out of the airport.

Polly Pollyanna
Guest
Polly Pollyanna

@whydoItry:

Gordo was too busy having the mayor's office renovated, wasn't he?

Runawayscreaming
Guest
Runawayscreaming
Unless you own a business selling home staging services or grow-op supplies it is no longer possible to operate a normal business in Vancouver. It's impossible to get good employees to live in a city with such a poor housing situation. It's also prohibitively expensive to pay the enormous taxes on industrial property in Vancouver. Industrial property tax assessments are tied to residential property prices and Vancouver has some of the highest mill rates for commercial property in the world (partly thanks to the already small industrial tax base in Vancouver). The net result is commercial property taxes in Vancouver that are out of this world. Indeed there are many local speculators in Vancouver driving the destruction of the city. However, on the west side (half the geographic area of Vancouver) property purchases are being made largely by citizens of… Read more »
Supersogs
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Supersogs

Stumbled across this blog while looking for information on the Chancellor in Metrotown:

http://therunagatesclub.blogspot.com/2011/04/chan

Interesting on the floor information from this blogger. Not sure if he's an active real estate agent or not, but it's even a blog dedicated to only real estate.

Go to the main page and check out some of his other posts. He's got stuff on the Metroplace and Soverign developments on previous posts. Another interesting post is while the Chancellor building is currently at 4860 Bennett, looks like it'll end up being changed to 4880 Bennett.

crabman
Guest

There are roughly 550,000 privately owned residential units in Metro Vancouver. Of those, 4,351 are owned by foreigners. The majority of foreign owners (2,532) are American. The total number owned by Asians is 977, which works out to 0.18%! In fact total foreign ownership is less than 1%!

https://www.landcor.com/market/reports/Metro_Vanc

Maverick
Guest
Maverick

@patriotz:

Agreed on all counts. Further to that, any sale within 12 months of purchase should be subject to full cap gains tax, as well as a higher property transfer tax. Homeowners selling after 3 years should not face any property transfer tax (or a significantly lessened one).

Not that the above would hinder anyone in a falling market.

Frank Grimes
Guest
Frank Grimes

Have we just entered the twilight zone? I am amazed that this was on a mainstream media outlet.

A whole generation is pressured to buy a home: expert

http://www.news1130.com/news/local/article/211769

This article, the G&M article; maybe the tide is finally turning…I'm not counting on it though.

Maverick
Guest
Maverick

@Maverick:

That and legalizing and taxing Marijuana. Ontario is catching on.

vreaa
Member

Global News Switch –

'Real Estate Bubble?' Story Becomes 'Steady Climb' Story

Transcript and stills of two news segments from Global, 12 Apr 2011

http://wp.me/pcq1o-28g

Between Noon and 6pm, the segments 'Real Estate Bubble?' headline has become 'Steady Climb', and AJ Sull's self-stated "25%" becomes voice over "12 to 25%" mentioned by the announcer. The realtor drones on about foreign demand in both segments, using different words but saying the same thing.

Global have, however, in the second segment, introduced the idea of 'patient buyers', which we'll give them credit for. That can't be something the RE industry wants to see. Buyers becoming VERY patient will be part of the coming crash. -vreaa

Sheesh
Guest
Sheesh

There are roughly 550,000 privately owned residential units in Metro Vancouver. Of those, 4,351 are owned by foreigners. The majority of foreign owners (2,532) are American. The total number owned by Asians is 977, which works out to 0.18%! In fact total foreign ownership is less than 1%!

Why did this get voted down? Is that report not legit or something? I thought it was interesting and seems to echo what many have been saying on here all along: that the myth of offshore investors from China is a canard and that it is actually locals driving the market.

cgh
Guest
cgh

@crabman:

True enough. Most "foreign" owners get a Canadian citizenship along with their property (or properties). It's all a part of the basic security package: a safe place to park the money and a stable country in case shit goes sideways back home. I can tell you with confidence that in China, Canada is frequently marketed by immigration consultants as "good for old people", because of our slow pace of life. It is a place to invest, relax and ultimately retire to.

Also the quality of our schools is important. We have a stellar public school system, and the PISA rankings are well-known to the Chinese: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programme_for_Intern

Anonymouse
Guest
Anonymouse

@Sheesh:

"Why did this get voted down? Is that report not legit or something? "

Don't know why it got voted down, but that report is problematic in that it doesn't define "foreigner".

Is it somebody who doesn't live in Canada, somebody who lives in Canada but doesn't yet have PR/citizenship, or what?

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