“Vancouver’s Unaffordability Freak Show”

graph_2005-2015_0

“The situation ought to be clear to any reasonable person, boomer or millennial: Vancouver’s real estate market is now a world-class freak show.”

– chart and excerpt from ‘Vancouver’s housing crisis: No, not like before, and not like anywhere else (except Hong Kong)’, at Ian Young’s South China Morning Post blog, 3 Jun 2015 [hattip to Brian]

69 responses to ““Vancouver’s Unaffordability Freak Show”

  1. #SpoilerAlert… #Doesn’tEndWell…

  2. Clearly a significant tranche of income is being under-reported in Vancouver. Current property prices reflect that. Seeing it the other way around (debt-driven) is to fall for a red herring.

    1. Income levels in BC are higher than indicated by most stats. Many new immigrants rely on overseas income to settle in Vancouver. The vast majority of this income comes from legitimate sources but very little of it is declared IMHO.

    2. When a dollar enters the economy it isn’t just an extra dollar in the system. That dollar gets spent over and over again and stimulates the economy. Lower interest rates are meant to do just this – to put more dollars into the system. Vancouver, uniquely, is facing not only low interest rates but also an unmitigated tsunami of foreign capital that is flooding into its economy. The effect of this is further amplified since the source of this foreign capital it is not taxed on entry (nor should it be but that is another discussion). The combination of these two factors make a powerful punch.

    3. Vancouver’s economy is strong. It may not be diversified but it is strong and powered by real estate. That wealth which was triggered by the two factors mentioned above is being filtered through the real economy. Jobs are being created. Homeowners are benefiting. Wealth is being redistributed and passed on to the next generation. All this perpetuates the real estate boom and spurs speculators.

    So what can be done? Any solution has to be politically acceptable and fair to existing homeowners and therefore not devalue property prices. Government cannot implement policies that change a game overnight. That is third world governance stuff and Canada can’t afford to send the world such a signal or housing prices will be the least of our problems.

    A solution may be a temporary Special Property Transfer Tax of say 20% (in the form of a lien) if a property is resold within 5 years. This will keep speculators out of the market which is a much needed first step.

    • This comment is just another variation on the locally-popular, but internationally unsupported, notion that “it’s different” in Vancouver.

      “Vancouver, uniquely, is facing… an unmitigated tsunami of foreign capital… into its economy.”

      It’s not at all clear that Vancouver is unique in terms of capital inflows. Look at Miami, for example. It’s even less clear that this money is going into “the economy” and having the real wealth effects you claim. It is going into housing, where it sits idle, and will evaporate when the market turns. Even when incumbent owners sell and capitalize on the foreign capital that may (or may not) have boosted their property’s value, they are simply re-plowing it into housing. The money is not being invested in new businesses and industries–the true engines of economic growth.

      Meanwhile, Vancouver IS facing an unmitigated flight of human capital (and financial capital, too), as anyone with mobility and a sense of perspective either chooses to leave, or not to go and live there in the first place.

      “…foreign capital it is not taxed on entry.”

      Is this supposed to be exceptional? Foreign capital is not taxed on entry to the U.S., Mexico, or any country I’m familiar with.

      “Vancouver’s economy is strong… powered by real estate.”

      Trading houses amongst ourselves is not a value-creating or economy-sustaining industry.

      • I come back after a couple of weeks and find our old friend El Ninja sharing his two cents. First of all, none of what you say is incorrect, actually I think you are bang on that Vancouver is not at all unique in terms of inflow of international capital. Like you mention, Miami, New York, San Fran, Melborne, Singapore, London, etc etc all probably see more in terms of total volume.

        However, Ian Young is correct in stating that wealth migration in terms of allowing actual Permanent residency of the money, ie. allowing a large amount of rich people to actually settle in your city with residency is unprecedented. His numbers are actually much worse than mine, he estimates that there are 45000 Chinese Millionaires which is greater than my estimate of 30000 that was let in between 05 to 12 and there are an additional about 1500 coming each year through the QIIP (thank you Quebec). 45000 is about 2% of the entire population of Greater Vancouver and about 7% of the entire population of smaller Vancouver. Having permanent residency is very different than me flying somewhere and buying a place and then leaving for investment. I reiterate this, the people that come here are not here to invest in housing, they buy because it is their principal residence and they live here (or at least their spouses and kids do). So this so called flight of international capital has almost no chance of happening (would you sell and ask your kid to go to another country because the house went down 10%?). That is what Ian Young is trying to show us, that Vancouver is exceptional in not foreign investment but actual migration of rich people. Stopping international investment is very easy, just tax foreign buyers. But what Ian Young is saying is that unlike other cities where this might actually work, in Vancouver this has little effect as the buyers are actually all local with PR’s. That’s what makes Vancouver’s situation unique.

        The rest of what you say have very little on the discussion at hand. I am not entirely interested in the social effects of this, I am looking at this from a pure asset perspective. As long as you let in more and more millionaires and give them permanent residency, there is no end to this. Vancouver is very unique in this regard.

      • Brian, great comments. I think many people see the capital that is in Vancouver’s property market as fleeting and they mistakenly believe it will lead to a crash. It is also important for people to distinguish between ‘foreign capital’ and ‘foreign capital that has been permanently moved to Vancouver’.

        As I say in my previous posts, the new wealth here have no where to invest in except in property and their income streams continue to flow in from Asia. We have no statistics to track that flow but you can bet those 45,000 millionaires still have income rolling in that is equivalent to well over 50% of the income of smaller Vancouver’s working population!

      • Never in the history of finance have more-naive words been spoken than Brian’s, “there is no end to this.”

        Neither of you addressed my points convincingly. Nice mutual back-patting, though.

      • Please, do me a favor and tell me, may I remind you that you have been wrong on this matter for what, a decade, what exactly is your point? That Vancouver is not exceptional? If so, please do me a favor and find another city in the World that allowed such a large influx of permanent residents of high net worth. Let’s see, there is Hong Kong, oh, wait, they are even more expensive than we are.. See a link? If you don’t believe me, then watch what will happen when the conservatives get voted out and the IIP get reinstated at some point. I don’t know, giving 5000 millionaires permanent residency each year doesn’t seem like a great recipe to affordability when you only have maybe 100000 homes in total to sell to them. Give it twenty years and they will buy up everything you got. Btw, anyone in the know in this understand the IIP and what are its details, do you even know what that is?

      • One more thing, this is the hilarious bit. There is a large and growing larger movement of people in Vancouver who are concerned about the ever rising price of real estate. In fact, two facebook groups, Vancouverites for Affordable Housing and Foreign investment in Vancouver Housing has been set up to voice such concerns (they have had two rallies in downtown in the last month, both of which failed to attract more people than the famous pot smoking party). Maybe El Ninja, you should go on those boards and assure them that there is a crash coming and they should all put down their resistance and wait silently for this crash that you are so sure will happen. That we all have nothing to worry about in terms of affordability. I really feel like you and these groups need to connect and talk it out. I feel that these two groups need some therapy desperately assuring them that there will be a crash and there is no one, and I mean no one I can think of, that can better assure them of this than you sir since you feel so passionately about this. Btw, there are people who agree with you, they are called realtors and our provincial government who brings out this 5% foreign ownership stat conveniently forgetting that all IIP immigrants are actually local based on their criteria.

      • You lost me at your first sentence.

      • Brian Chen

        Let’s start with something simple that even you can understand. Read the scmp article posted and tell me in what ways is Ian Young incorrect. Here we have a Hong Kong paper and an Australian journalist basically saying vancouver is quite different.

      • “Meanwhile, Vancouver IS facing an unmitigated flight of human capital (and financial capital, too), as anyone with mobility and a sense of perspective either chooses to leave, or not to go and live there in the first place.”

        totally agree, i m a millennial who returned to Asia (Tokyo+HK), jobs everywhere. Whoever thinks Vancouver has “strong economy” is totally out-of-sync with whats really going on globally.

        “Trading houses amongst ourselves is not a value-creating or economy-sustaining industry.”

        Getting into the market because of FOMO and for “investment” is just laughable, sign up a 30yr mortgage, work in a mediocre job then spend 80%-90% of the salary towards housing costs? that doesn’t sound like a life to me.

  3. https://vreaa.wordpress.com/2010/09/11/five-charts-predicting-future-vancouver-housing-prices-with-the-aid-of-technical-analysis/

    can you use your talent to run another chart analysis like this to see when your crash prediction is gonna materialize.

  4. another blast from the past – this posted 11 nov 2011

    just wondering how the author feel now that he/she has time to re-read it.

    https://vreaa.wordpress.com/category/03-changed-my-life/page/3/

    “The interesting thing is that Alex has probably had these thoughts brewing for years. They have now crystalized with the sale of his house. The emotional attachment to the hopeful bullish position has departed, so the thoughts rise up, and become conscious and articulated.
    There exists a super-saturated solution of these thoughts in the minds of Vancouver owners. They know that housing is very, very overvalued; they know that Vancouver is a nice city, but limited in all sorts of ways.
    What will it take for everybody to suddenly realize the truths they already know? What will the seed be around which the realization rapidly forms?
    What will do it is falling prices.
    Unlike Alex, very few will be able to sell before they admit these thoughts.
    The moment prices pull back substantially, RE will look different.
    Owners will realize what they already know: that their $1.1M SFH or $400K condo are very modest structures, very overvalued, with lots of downside risk.
    This realization will bring sellers to market as they attempt to realize their fantasized paper gains.
    Prices will drop further; price drops will beget price drops.
    The irrational strength on the way up will become irrational weakness on the way down.
    This is how markets work, how speculative manias unwind.
    – vreaa”

  5. YVR Housing Analyst (@YVRHousing)

    As long as we can all agree how we’re making our money. It might not last forever.

  6. the talk at UBC and SFU is if you wan’t a real job get out of BC as fast as you can

  7. Vancouver: The Greek bank account of international real estate.

  8. Pingback: “Vancouver’s Unaffordability Freak Show” | Dring Drong

  9. More good research from Ian Young. Need I say more? Remember, his research is focused on wealth migration, these stats are from the IIP program alone. It does not even begin to include the skilled worker classes many of whom are quite rich already. Also, it does not include the QIIP. Like I said before, what do you think will happen to Vancouver’s real estate if these stats keep up year after year.

    http://www.scmp.com/comment/blogs/article/1830484/here-are-immigration-statistics-vancouver-isnt-supposed-see-why

    • What do you mean “if these stats keep up”? They are going backwards.

      From Ian Young’s numbers:

      – Total immigrant landings to BC: Down 19% from 2005 to 2013.

      – Proportion of total from China: Down from 31% to 24% over same period.

      – Number of investor class immigrants from China: Down 40%.

      • Wow, I love this about you, you don’t bother looking at the bigger picture and just nitpick statistics. Again, please refute what Ian Young has said in his previous article based on your understanding of our real estate market. I think he had shown a pretty good case that Foreign money, not people, are at the heart of Vancouver’s affordability crisis, especially for our single family homes.

        Did you not notice what he said about the QIIP, you know the little program in Quebec that leaks a few thousand millionaires to BC each year that no one and I mean no one has official statistics for and is not stopping because Quebec gets all the money while BC gets all the immigrants.

        Of course the numbers are going down, the conservative government is making them go down, they shut the program off. What do you think will happen once we vote them out of power. Not that I am a huge fan of NDP, but at this point we are all getting a little tired of the conservatives. What I am saying is that you have no idea how much money will come to Vancouver from Asia. While I do not have either, I have to say that I have been a little bit more right than you have been on this matter. Also, ever notice that China has relaxed the rules on its richest people investing abroad. And notice that Vancouver is one of the few places where this investment has happened that does not have foreign ownership control measures. If you have followed anything on Vancouver Real Estate you would have noticed that there have been an uproar about this over the last bit.

        Btw, that’s another thing, by your rationale, since foreign ownership is not at all responsible for any of this, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong must all be wasting their time and should just stop with their foreign ownership measures because it’s all locals going insane with low interest rates. I guess all these governments have no idea what they are doing and are only doing this to appease the masses.

      • So now your entire investment thesis has been reduced to “Chinese immigrants sneaking in from Quebec”? This is getting sad.

      • Sad like some genius who has been wrong on this matter for what, the last decade? I wouldn’t comment much further if I was wrong on something for that long. Notice how none of the other bears are commenting anymore? Yeah, I know, it’s lonely out there when you are wrong. I read some of the comments on this board back in 2010, 2009, there is some proper funny stuff there, 50% crash… Sure, I believe in unicorns too.

      • Your personal attacks and attempts to silence reveal more about you than me. Namely, poor etiquette and a weak case.

      • That’s called a personal attack? Don’t believe you have seen one yet. But please, do tell us, what is your case? No one here seems to understand your useless drivel. By all means, present a case and let’s debate it out. If you are so confident in your case, then please, present your case. I have said and I will say it again, present your case and tell me what is wrong with Ian Young’s research. I think it is pretty bang on and it is some of the most pertinent research to answering the question at hand. Not to mention that he, a foreigner btw, bothered to actually understand what is going on in the local market Tell me where I am wrong. It’s a pretty simple question isn’t it? Your refusal to respond speaks volumes about the validity of your position and your general understanding about the Vancouver market.

      • “Let’s start with something simple that even you can understand.”

        – Brian

        “Sad like some genius who has been wrong on this matter for what, the last decade?”

        – Brian

        Yes, insulting someone’s intellect is a personal attack. I’ve only ever questioned your statements, not your persona. But then, I have enough confidence in my reasoning to not resort to such tactics.

        I won’t take your bait and bother to repeat myself here; I’ve described my position many times before on this blog. My view is precisely that expressed by vreaa. Namely, that a decade of artificially cheap money and rampant speculation have inflated Vancouver RE prices to preposterous levels in relation to economic fundamentals. The timing of a correction is never knowable, but its inevitability should be obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of finance and economic history.

        On a final note, this is the last time I will respond to you, Brian. The absolute last. Taunt me and continue mentioning me in your posts all you please — you won’t achieve a response from me. What you will achieve is the impression, on permanent display for all, that you are grasping at straws.

      • You and vreaa’s track record has been on display since the beginning of the blog, I’d rather be right then to be righteous as there is real money at play here. I also don’t need to say anymore as the market will prove itself as it has. But I will enjoy reading some of these comments in a few years as I am enjoying now reading some of the past posts. We really should have a facebook history feature here, there is some real comedy to be had.

      • give it up man…you are losing the battle.

  10. foreign rich people are not living in Vancouver…..they buy the house and leave it empty…..many neighborhoods in the City of Vancouver are ghost towns, ask any old people who lived there for decades

    • So while there is anecdotal evidence of this going on, the government refuses to collect stats on this matter. No one knows the exact percentage. I suspect that it is pretty low though. When people view real estate, they tend to focus on the most glaring markets, so say in Vancouver, you have your Vancouver Westside single family homes. That actually comprises a small subset of the entire market. While it may be true that in some blocks this is happening, it is quite small when compared to the entire real estate market. For every example that you can come up with, I have many clients who are rich “foreigners” who have families who live in Vancouver. So until we get hard stats, it is difficult to comment on the validity of the claim either way.

      Look, there are two things that needs clarification. First of all, they are not “foreign”. Having PR means you are local. What usually ends up happening is that the husband retains the Chinese citizenship while the wife and children gain canadian citizenship. This is what El Ninja fails to understand, it is not foreign investment. It is wealth migration.This money wont’ simply move out of the Vancouver market even if the market goes down. That is exactly what Ian Young is trying to tell us through his research. You can view these buyers as local, it’s as if the local income all of a sudden increased by a large percentage even though the CRA can’t touch this income. That’s why the IIP and the QIIP are so terrible for affordability. I have done some research to find another case in history anywhere around the world whereby this many Permanent Residents have been given out to the mega rich to a city, I can’t find it. El Ninja keeps on bringing up Miami, but the key distinction is that US Government don’t hand this many of this time of PR’s out. By Ian Young’s numbers, they only handed out maybe 10,000 from 2005 to 2012 for the entire country! In Vancouver, we received 36000. This is what makes Vancouver unique. It is wealth migration and the permanence of this wealth that is the issue.

    • ghost town? the bears claimed this to the OV couple years ago…look at it now! oh wait, they are not allowed to get out of the basement.

  11. Brian …what is driving vancouver’s market now and for the future

    • Boy… this could take a while. I could literally go on about this for about an entire day. Let me try to be a bit concise here.

      When you analyze the housing market, you have to first look at who is buying and what are their motives. For the Vancouver attached housing market, this is rather unremarkable. It is simply no different than any other place in the world, it is entirely interest rate driven and most of the buying comes from local buyers just like anywhere else. Frankly, I think if interest rates go up, this market will likely see a drop. In my opinion, there isn’t much of an affordability crisis in this sector to begin with. One of the newest trends is the detachment of prices between detached and attached housing. Historically they have been tied to the hip, however, now they have become separated. That could have been predicted a few years ago.

      The detached market is where it gets interesting. So the first driver is Vancouver’s incredibly low supply of single family homes. For city proper, there is only 47000, Burnaby has about 20000, Richmond has 20000, West Vancouver has 10000 and North Van has something like 10000. That is a total supply of only about 110000 in the desirable areas. This is a pretty small number. Ian Young talked about the IIP and the QIIP. We have let in, by his estimation, something like 45000 millionaire immigrants over the last decade. So by a wealth migration basis, if you were to assume that many of them bought a single family home, the rise in valuations is about what you would expect to see today. That’s just in the investor class alone. His own number tells of a large number of skilled immigrants but for now let’s ignore that because the picture would be even worse with them. Now the IIP has been abandoned for further study. But the QIIP still runs and the Quebec government has no intention of cancelling it. Should any other government than the conservatives get elected in the next election, you may see a return of the IIP with greater restrictions and a higher price tag. This would not bode well for Vancouver.

      The second driver is this. You have had about a decade of local selling to the immigrants. There is an incredible amount of wealth that has been accumulated by locals thanks to this buying. A large number of luxury condos have been purchased by this, but this has also financed many of their children’s rather large downpayments. I have several local friends who have gotten lump sum payments of over 600K from their parents as gifts for downpayments. Large parts of this money comes from selling real estate in the westside to the immigrants. This money is now starting to kick in on the East side and Burnaby. This trend has been happening for about a couple of years now.

      Funny enough, everyone thinks that foreign investment is the culprit for this crisis of affordability. But there is little foreign investment in the vancouver market. This is a segment that I believe will now truly pick up. As China loosens its grip on its money and allow its richest citizens to buy abroad. Vancouver, along with many of the other desirable cities in the world will see large inflow of capital. For a city like London or Hong Kong or New York, this won’t make a dent. For us, this is bad news. I believe this is the third driver.

      These are the current drivers. For the future drivers, I believe that as one of the few cities in the western world (the city with the largest percentage of asian people in the western hemisphere) that speaks mandarin, there is an incredible amount of wealth immigration that is still to come to Vancouver. If the IIP doesn’t get renewed there is still the 10 year visa. People with money will always find a way. I talked to a friend who is Japanese, he remarked that the richest Japanese people stay in Japan, while the wealthiest Chinese like to send their families out of the country. So as China gets more powerful, the amount of wealth immigration into Vancouver will crush our supply of single family homes which as our stats have shown is tiny.

      Finally, as I have said many times before. We actually aren’t that expensive to be begin with. Our downtown apartments are what, averaging 800 dollars a square foot. That is not that bad compared to the city center per square footage prices. For example, Delhi has a higher per sq foot price than Vancouver, and you can’t tell me that Delhi has a higher median income. The reason why our prices look bad is because we keep on mixing in Single Family homes. In many of the world’s biggest cities, you can’t own these things. In Hong Kong, your place is probably 500 sq ft. I think any ratios that people use should be standardized on a per sq footage basis. Then people would see that we aren’t as bad as people think. I saw a study that listed the world’s ten most expensive city centers on a per sq footage basis, we aren’t on that list. Not surprising considering what I just said.

      Finally, if you want to know what to buy. I think the answer is simple, single family homes in Vancouver proper. As long as we continue to speak mandarin, the limited supply will keep on driving the prices higher.

      • thanks for the effort, Brian. they will never get it no matter how clear your explanation is.

      • “I talked to a friend who is Japanese, he remarked that the richest Japanese people stay in Japan, while the wealthiest Chinese like to send their families out of the country.”

        many rich Japanese investors/business owners have moved/planning to move to HK and Singapore. (i live in Japan. 6th yr.)

        “In many of the world’s biggest cities, you can’t own these things. In Hong Kong, your place is probably 500 sq ft.”

        depends, there are many 3br/4br in HK. some are townhouse-like complexes, they still sell like hot cakes, coz it is HK, different ball game.

        i agree your point that the FOMO people in Metro Vancouver are so fixated(due to self-entitlement, social status, comparison to others) to buying a SFH. People rather get tied up with a million dollar SFH in a mediocre city like Vancouver than expanding their lives in a true global megacity like NYC or HK. I guess most people are comfortable with playing in the same league for their whole life, no ambition at all.

  12. I use to come on here and argue against the bears but nowadays I just let the market do all the heavy lifting…

  13. “Hey everyone, wanna get rich without any effort? Just buy Nortel stock. The world has changed. Earnings don’t matter anymore. All that matters is the internet revolution!”

    – Internet stock broker in 1999

    Replace ‘Nortel’ with ‘Van RE’, ‘earnings’ with ‘economic fundamentals’, ‘internet revolution’ with some hollow buzzword like ‘global wealth transfer’, and ‘1999’ with ‘2015’.

    • if you keep comparing nortel with Van RE, you should consider checking riverview…oh i forgot, this place closed. you are helpless. give it up, man!
      remember vhb used to have the analogy of chocolate bar and RE? that genius closed the blog years ago.

      • Fred: the internet equivalent of a mosquito. Same size brain and similarly annoying. Bzzz, bzzz… pop! Oh no, you just blew up in the bug light.

      • El Ninja,
        was that all you could come up with? you sleep with stuffed animals, don’t you! i get it now.

    • For your 1999 example to make sense, I think you mean to replace ‘Nortel’ with ‘Phoenix’ and ‘AAPL’ with ‘Van RE.’

  14. This is awesome, houses are like overpriced stocks, talk about grasping on straws. So why is Vancouver Real estate not like netflix, google, apple, and various other seemingly overpriced stocks. By your rationale, we should all have shorted Netflix at what 300 dollars? Wait, isn’t there this little thing called growth in the way we value stocks? That’s right, cause all growth factors that could possibly drive Vancouver real estate price has been factored in already. Oh, I am sure you already knew this was going to happen months ahead.

    http://www.newsweek.com/2015/07/10/chinas-trillion-dollar-question-348397.html

    Trillion dollars, limited house supply, and the largest percentage of mandarin speakers in any city in the western world. Right, all growth factors have been priced in already.

  15. we know Vancouver is a pathetic backwater
    but i’d like to know what Fred thinks will drive vancouvers market going forward

  16. In the news again is the Beijing business owner of Lode-Tech, PRC national, former Canadian PR (rescinded) cum Richmond occasional resident. BC High Court Judge, Austin Cullen stated that his Richmond house where his wife and children live permanently, has an assessment of $1.827 million and an outstanding mortgage on $$1.186 million.

    He was arrested in his Richmond house last July. Assuming it was purchased a year ago at a conservative $1.5 million, his downpayment was below 20%. He was then still a Canadian PR, but lived mostly in Beijing-Shanghai-Europe. Clearly, this is foreign money since his incomes are/were generated overseas.

    “Lack of RCMP resources should prompt an indefinite postponement of accused US spy’s extradition: lawyer”
    http://tinyurl.com/q62qx9s

    • I don’t get how you go about restricting foreign money. What is your criteria exactly? That all money made abroad not declared through CRA is foreign? So if I go down to the states, work for Amazon for ten years as a non-resident, make a million bucks, I can’t use that money to buy property now? This guy, even though he is crooked, his money is as foreign as the scenario I just described. So when you want to restrict foreign money, there might be more resistance than you think. That’s why wealth migration is such a big issue and why you don’t just give out PR’s like it’s for sale. Because PR and Canadians are treated fairly similarly, so their foreign income is not any different than a Canadian making money abroad. Even worse, they could claim that they made the money before migrating here. When the Chinese government loosens its grips and allows the money to come out of China, it is almost impossible to tell how that money was made.

  17. Still some way to go.

    China already buying OFZ Bonds – not sure how to fit in the picture.

  18. There is this $6 sandwich from YVR,

    and the $1.50 hotdog at Costco foodcourt.
    I’d say Costco has the best value.

  19. in Vancouver it would be $12

  20. Pingback: Experts Expect a Fire Sale of Greek Islands | grandeprairierealty

  21. JWong knows any Asian who actually wants a real career or a life will leave Vancouver or not waste their time there in the first place ….

  22. Welcome JWong to the discussion. As far as I can tell, Vancouver is a terrible place to make money. If you have career ambitions, this is not a great place to be. However, the discussion isn’t about that, it is about the price of real estate. I also know that in places like Monaco is also not a good place to go for career ambitions, yet its real estate is even more expensive. So I don’t neccessarily think that the two needs to go hand in hand. What Vancouver is, is a satelite city for Asia’s elite to send their families, park their money and have a second home. And if this elite class keeps on growing as I am betting it will, so goes the Vancouver real estate, particularly the single family homes. I think one article says it the best, Vancouver may be one of the most unhappy places in Canada, but it is still a lot happier than China.

  23. i have never been to China, is it really that bad? …good job opportunity, Sub-Tropical Climate, how bad could it be

    • well it’s not bad for making money. But quality of life? Put it this way, my mother is from China and I lived in China until the age of 10, when we go back to China to visit, we miss Vancouver within about a week, by the two week mark, we can’t wait to come back. And we do not go back very often.It’s not bad in terms of things to do, there is a lot. But the environment is not comfortable. For example, remember the smog we have a couple of weekends ago? When I woke up that morning, I said to myself, am I back in Beijing? China is like that, all the time. The difference? Whereas that was natural wood smoke, the smog in China is caused by proper pollution of carbon burning fuels. People on the streets have to wear masks all the time. The air alone will shorten your life expectancy. And if that doesn’t kill you, the food will. Ever heard of a type of oil that was extracted from the sewers? Apparently there was a huge issue that street vendors were basically using disgusting recycled oil that were poured down the sewers. Vancouver’s air and water alone is worth immigrating for most Chinese.

    • I m originally from HK, HK is better for foreigners. Traveled to China couple of times it was fun thats about it, never lived there cant comment.

      • I think Hong Kong is better, especially if you are used to the lifestyle already. I wonder though what effect the crackdown on democracy has on these ex-patriot Canadians there.

        But the main issue is that I akin Vancouver to the Monaco of the Asia Pacific. People do not make their money here, they come here to spend it. And because of the natural language advantage that they enjoy here which is not available in most other cities in the world, it is a preferred destination. Most of the immigrant purchases are done by people who have made their millions in China already, they do not come here to make money.

        In 1981 Vancouver was only 8% visible minorities, in 2011, we are 51% visible minorities. In 2015, we don’t have the numbers but I suspect it is higher given the trends. We are basically fast becoming a city of foreigners.

      • btw, one more thing that should be noted is this. In just about every other case in the world, immigration is a bottom up process. Immigrants are always the poorest, start over, make their money, and have a better life. In Vancouver, it is one of the first cases of top down immigration where the immigrants are wealthy. This is one reason why we struggle so much with this, because this has almost never happened before. I can’t name any other cases in history where there was this mass immigration of money (except maybe Monaco?). This is what makes this case unique. Although cities in Australia would argue that they are seeing the same thing.

  24. Another excellent piece by Ian Young. This is actually some great digging that Ian has done. http://www.scmp.com/comment/blogs/article/1843069/millionaire-migration-canada-didnt-fall-after-investor-schemes-axing

  25. Vreaa, please come back.

    The blog has been reduced to Brian talking to himself.

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