Photo: James Bombales

When it comes to making an investment in Canadian real estate, 51 per cent of Chinese buyers are concerned about a property’s rentability, according to a new report from and Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Whether or not they plan to rent the property themselves, Chinese buyers want to ensure that it is rentable because it’s an indication of the quality of the property,” Juwai North American head of sales Byron Burley tells BuzzBuzzNews.

Burley says that, in the minds of many Chinese buyers, established neighbourhoods make for highly rentable properties. School quality, safety, and proximity to transit are all things they take into account when making an investment in the Canadian real estate market.

Also high on the list? Low cost per square foot, which 79 per cent of buyers surveyed listed as one of their main considerations when buying a property.

“There has been a lot of focus on Chinese buyers purchasing luxury properties, and that’s just not as much the case anymore,” says Burley. “For years we were seeing buyers from cities like Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai spending millions of dollars. Nowadays, you’re seeing Chinese parents from smaller markets, who have less money to spend but want to secure a property for their children, spending hundreds of thousands.”

Those same families may be taking their smaller budgets and looking beyond the popular Vancouver market . Last summer, the BC government introduced a 15 per cent foreign-buyers’ tax for Metro Vancouver. Burley says the tax, coupled with Vancouver’s steep prices, are pushing Chinese buyers to consider other Canadian markets.

“Chinese investment in Canadian property is growing nationwide,” he says. “Markets like Calgary, Victoria and Montreal are becoming more appealing to buyers who want to make an investment, but may be priced out of Vancouver.”

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Similarly, although new build properties remained the preference of buyers surveyed, scoring 8.33 out of 10 on a scale of consumer sentiment, there was increasing interest in resale properties, which scored 6.57 out of 10.

“Again, when you’re looking at smaller budgets, sometimes a resale property can offer a lower price, which is attractive to these families,” says Burley.

Finally, proximity to schools remained a top concern of many buyers looking to purchase property for their school-aged children. A total of 47 per cent of respondents listed it as an important factor when purchasing a property. Last year, over 132,300 Chinese students were enrolled in Canadian schools and colleges, up 10 per cent from 2015.

“Chinese students have been coming to Canada for an international education since the turn of the century, with their numbers growing every year,” CEO of Carrie Law told BuzzBuzzNews in an email statement.

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