House Hunting in … Canada

In Greater Vancouver, rising prices prompted the government to increase taxes on investors and foreign buyers, resulting in a softer high-end market.

Comments: 9

  1. Unless you're an 'investor" it's a lot easier and cheaper to simply rent.

  2. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of rental properties in Vancouver

  3. This story came to me a year ago from a former student, a Canadian, who's experienced the Vancouver rental market. Perhaps someone here can vouch for its accuracy.

    To rent an apartment in Vancouver, the apartment seeker hires an "apartment finder" and describes what's wanted and affordable and authorizes the finder to sign a lease. Upon locating a property, the finder signs the lease on the spot. Apparently, the time it takes to call the seeker to come look at the apartment is too long--the apartment will be already rented out.

  4. I live here and I have never heard of an 'apartment finder'. Some real estate agents may know of houses and condos for rent now that we have an empty homes tax.

  5. A little secret is Point Roberts Washington, a fluke of history. It is a peninsula cut off from the rest of the US and is just south of Vancouver. The only way to get to the rest of the US is through the Canadian Border unless you have a plane or a boat.

    The place has a smallish year round population but could be a good deal for Americans who want to have a place near Vancouver. Zip Code is 98281. It is about 25 miles from Stanley Park and about 20 from the Airport. Ocean on 3 sides.

  6. I've had several friends describe Point Roberts as "the ultimate gated community." Biggest issues seem to be easy access to basic facilities such as major hospitals, repairs services etc. and the feeling of not being in either country.

  7. I wish that California would also institute a foreign buyers tax and Empty Homes Tax! Foreign buyers, mainly from China, are greatly exacerbating the housing crisis (especially in the Bay Area where the inventory is already slim as it is). Housing prices are even listed to target foreign buyers - so many homes listed at $888,000 or some variant ending in 8 since it is a “lucky” number. We would do well to follow Vancouver’s example!

  8. And the quicker the better re implementation taxes or policies to combat this problem! Because it has created a huge affordability problem for locals who cant compete with foreign monies. Houses have been treated like commodities and has attracted speculators and even dirty laundered monies to the detriment of the locals. Housing prices have skyrocketed but wages haven't thus causing an outcry that forced a change in government.

  9. The 3% foreign ownership is very understated.

    According to Statistics Canada

    "In the Vancouver CMA [census metropolitan area], non-residents owned 4.8% of residential properties... non-resident ownership was most concentrated in the City of Vancouver (7.6%),"

    But foreign ownership is higher still, because it is routinely hidden behind numbered companies, offshore or domestic trusts, corporations and local straw purchasers. There are many people who own expensive homes in Vancouver who give their occupation as "student" or "homemaker".