The market for Vancouver housing is being driven to high prices by foreign Chinese buyers, argues a paper by Simon Fraser University’s Josh Gordon, entitled Vancouver’s Housing Affordability Crisis: Causes, Consequences and Solutions. The author states that foreign buyers are identified as “this is where the evidence points, not because of some anti-Chinese animus.”
He further says that Chinese investors have raised prices in Toronto as well, and cites “the coincidence of capital outflows from China with rising prices” as evidence of foreign investment causing inflated prices. As the paper argues, “Vancouver has become one of the most sought after destinations for investment and migration from Mainland China,” and as such has become a recipient of large sums of Chinese-originating money into the housing market. Looking south of the border, foreign money, “especially from China,” is said to be a driver of prices in Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.
It should be noted that, to date, this appears to be one of the few academic analyses conducted on the potential scope of foreign Chinese real estate investment in Canada. As identified in a China Institute occasional paper on Chinese foreign investment, more data-based analysis – and as such, more publicly available data – will be needed to contribute to a constructive conversation on the topic. Further, as in previous cases, the China Institute would add that, absent proper data collection by government, partial or speculative data collection can also carry the risk of fuelling criticism of Canadians of Chinese ethnic origin. The solution is to collect proper data.