B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong outlines new findings on real estate transactions Thursday in Victoria.

Foreigners bought 5.1 per cent of Metro Vancouver homes sold in June

Preliminary numbers shed first glimmer of light on prevalence of foreign buyers of real estate in Metro Vancouver

Foreign nationals, mainly Chinese, bought 5.1 per cent of the homes sold in Metro Vancouver in a three-week period of June, according to the first release by the B.C. government of data on the impact of offshore real estate investment.

Speculation has swirled for years about the effect of offshore buyers, particularly from China, but the province only began tracking the citizenship of home buyers in June.

Buyers are now required to declare on their property tax transfer form if they are Canadian citizens or permanent residents, or else provide their country of citizenship.

Of the 5,118 property transactions in Metro from June 10-29, there were 260 deals with foreign buyers and 234 of those or 4.6 per cent declared Chinese citizenship.

No other country accounted for more than 0.1 per cent of transactions, and Korea, Taiwan, India and Romania were the next highest sources.

A total of 337 purchases by foreign nationals were made province-wide.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong noted the average purchase price paid by foreign buyers was significantly higher at $1.1 million, compared to $735,000 for the average Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

As a result, the homes bought by foreign nationals accounted for 6.5 per cent of the Metro Vancouver total by value, or $350 million worth of property.

In Surrey, foreign transactions made up three per cent of the total but accounted for five per cent of the value of homes sold.

Foreign purchases were most prevalent in Richmond, where they made up 14 per cent of the total counted, followed by 11 per cent in Burnaby and four per cent in Vancouver.

De Jong said he doesn’t want to draw major conclusions until more data comes in, but said the province will finally have real evidence to base policy on.

“It is actual, it is factual and it is beyond conjecture,” de Jong said. “It is beyond theories and speculation. I attach importance to the data and we’re going to approach it with an open mind.”

RELATEDVancouver’s real estate tale poised to end badly: SFU profCooling off period urged to protect hasty home buyers after use of home inspections plungesVancouver rental market too pricey for young workers: reportVancouver luxury real estate sales soared in first half of 2016

The province also released statistics showing 108,000 new housing units are at various stages of development within six Metro Vancouver cities.

They include 30,000 in Burnaby, 25,500 in Vancouver, 20,000 in Surrey, 16,500 in Richmond, 10,500 in New Westminster and 5,500 in Coquitlam.

“In the purchase market and the rental market there is a vast number of housing projects on the books that if they were approved would begin to ease considerably some of that pressure,” de Jong said.

De Jong also noted the province’s budget move to expand the exemption for lower priced homes from the property transfer tax is being used – an average of 27 families a day are buying PTT-exempt homes.

The finance minister also said demand for housing in B.C. is being driven by the fact more people want to come to this province than any other, and because B.C.’s economy is strong, leading Canada in job creation.

“It is a challenge virtually every other jurisdiction would like to have because it is a challenge associated with a growing economy,” de Jong said, adding that doesn’t detract from the “frustration” B.C. families feel that can’t find a place to rent or a home they can afford where they want to live.

NDP leader John Horgan said the real level of foreign activity is likely considerably higher because the government’s statistics rely on self-reporting by buyers, and fail to include property purchases made through numbered companies or trusts.

Even taking the data at face value, Horgan said, it means Lower Mainland residents were “squeezed out” of $20 million a day worth of property or nearly $400 million over the 19-day period measured.

“It’s outrageous and it has to stop,” Horgan said, denouncing de Jong’s response.

“We should be the envy of the world because of our ridiculous housing prices? That’s absurd.

“British Columbians are not happy about this problem.”

The NDP has previously proposed a speculation tax, similar to one floated by UBC economists.

Horgan wouldn’t say exactly where he thinks Lower Mainland home prices should end up, but said the government must suppress the exponential growth of house prices that have left a growing gap compared to what average residents can afford.

Housing data released by B.C. government for June 10-29 by Jeff Nagel on Scribd

Just Posted

‘Stuff the Sleigh’ event aims to collect 5,000 Christmas toys for Surrey children

The Surrey Central Lions Club event will support the Surrey Christmas Bureau

Call for better security follows fuel thefts at South Surrey Park & Ride

White Rock man says someone used a drill to drain his fuel tank Wednesday

Surrey RCMP seeking help to find man missing since Nov. 7

Hyung ‘John’ Lee was last seen in the 13300-block of Old Yale Road

Surrey RCMP seeking public’s help in finding missing 16-year-old

Police say Micyla ‘Amber’ Havenga was last seen on Nov. 12

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

Paul Bissonnette joins Vancouver Warriors after tweeting he could walk on to an NLL club

Bissonnette will join the Warriors for their final week of training camp at Rogers Arena

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Body found after SUV found fully engulfed in flames in Abbotsford field

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team have been called in

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

Most Read