Vancouver has been a top destination for Asian immigrants for decades, helping make it Canada’s most expensive housing market and one consistently ranked as North America’s least affordable. Houses and luxury condos in the Vancouver area have been the investment of choice for both well-heeled new arrivals and China-based investors putting money abroad.
But with the Vancouver market looking pricey, many of these investors are seeking other opportunities. They range from hotels and golf courses targeting Chinese tourists to berry farms, mineral water sources, and wineries that export to Asia.
“The days of parking capital in five houses in Vancouver have passed,” said Richard Kurland, a local immigration lawyer.
While provincial agencies and industry associations contacted by Reuters do not collect figures for foreign investment in commercial property, there are threads of data that support the anecdotal evidence.
Hotel sales to buyers with ties to China increased to four in 2014 from just one in 2011, according to sales information provided to Reuters by global hotel consulting firm HVS. And reports of rising demand for wineries and farms has coincided with a 60 percent jump in the value of British Columbia wine exports to China from 2010 through 2013, and a doubling in the value of agricultural food exports to China in that same period.