foreign buyers november

Photo: Ruth Hartnup/Flickr

Metro Vancouver home sales dropped significantly this past November, but new BC government data shows that the same can’t be said for foreign purchases of residential real estate.

Released January 6th, the stats show that in November foreign buyers were involved in 204 of Metro Vancouver’s 1,974 residential real estate deals. That works out to 4.1 per cent of transactions, up slightly from 3 percent in October, 1.8 per cent in September and 0.9 per cent in August.

Foreign-buyer activity was highest in Burnaby and Richmond, where nearly 9 per cent of homes bought in November went to foreign buyers. By comparison, only 4.4 per cent of residential real estate deals in Vancouver involved foreign buyers that month. The Globe and Mail points out that in Vancouver and Richmond, but not Burnaby, foreign buyers bought more expensive homes than locals.

The BC government began tracking foreign purchases of residential real estate in the province on June 10th, and found that from then until August 31st, just over 13 per cent of Metro Vancouver home sales involved foreign buyers. To curb that activity, it introduced a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers on August 2nd.

BC Premier Christy Clark has said that the tax is having the impact that the government intended. “My hope is that many of those units that would have sold to foreign buyers, will now be sold to British Columbians,” she commented in September.

And while the number of Metro Vancouver deals involving foreign buyers has been slowly increasing since the tax was first introduced, experts seem to agree that it’s continuing to work as it should.

Speaking to The Vancouver Sun about November’s data, Andrey Pavlov, a real estate finance specialist at Simon Fraser University, said, “[t]here is a huge drop. There may be some seasonal variation, like there normally would be on all transactions, but the drop is so significant that it couldn’t possibly be explained by seasonal variation.”

Since it was instated, the tax has generated $48 million for the BC government, with $24 million of that amount coming in November. All proceeds are being put toward affordable housing initiatives.

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