Foreign Buyers Snatch Up 5% of Vancouver Homes, Government Says

Foreign Buyers Snatch Up 5% of Vancouver Homes

Foreigners make up about 1 in 20 buyers of homes in Vancouver, Canada’s most expensive housing market, according to British Columbia’s finance department.

The province, seeking to gather more data as it warns offshore capital is pushing up local prices, issued its first report on the topic Thursday. It said foreign nationals -- those who said they aren’t Canadian citizens when filling out a tax form -- accounted for about 5 percent of transactions and 6.5 percent of the total value of deals in Vancouver, with the majority of them involving Chinese citizens. The data was compiled using property transfer forms from June 10 to June 29.

“There’s certainly a presence,” B.C. Minister of Finance Michael de Jong told reporters in Victoria. “It is real, it is actual, it is factual and it is beyond conjecture, theories and speculation. I attach importance to the data and we’re going to approach it with an open mind.”

The province released the report amid backlash from politicians, residents, international groups and analysts who point to foreign buyers as a factor in driving up home prices to record highs. In Vancouver, the benchmark home price jumped 32 percent from last year as the average price of a single-family detached home skyrocketed 39 percent to C$1.6 million. The city’s real estate board expects prices to set fresh records this year.

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