China is buying Canada

China is buying Canada: Inside the new real estate frenzy

How China’s affection for Canada’s real estate is reshaping the nation’s housing market well beyond Vancouver

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 2.45.26 PM

Paul Shen can tick off the reasons Mainland Chinese people buy property in Canada as surely as any fast-talking B.C. realtor. Some long to escape the fouled earth and soupy air of their country’s teeming cities, he explains, while others are following relatives to enclaves so well-populated by other Chinese expats they hardly feel like foreigners.

The richest, of course, regard homes in the West as stable vessels for disposable cash, but Shen lays no claim to such affluence. Last spring, the 39-year-old left behind his middle-management advertising job in Shanghai to seek the dream of home ownership he and his wife couldn’t afford in their home city. “We just followed our hearts to begin a totally different life,” he tells Maclean’s, adding: “We can make the house dream come true in Canada.”

The starting point was one-half of a modest duplex near downtown Victoria, close to the university where his wife is seeking a master’s degree, and priced about right for their limited means. Selling points ranged from the quiet of the street—perfect for their six-year-old son—to the stunning Vancouver Island vistas all around. High on his list, though, was Victoria’s comfortable distance from the bustling Chinese communities of B.C.’s Lower Mainland. As Shen—betraying his limited knowledge of pre-settlement Canadian history—puts it: “We wanted a place that would allow us to live with the natives.”

It’s hard not to smile at his idealism. Substitute any one of two dozen nationalities, after all, and you have a chapter in Canada’s cherished narrative of migration, settlement and shared prosperity.

But as a Chinese newcomer with a buy-at-all-costs resolve, Shen also personifies a phenomenon dividing those “natives” he’d like to call his neighbours. In the past five years, the flow of money from mainland China into Canadian real estate has reached what many consider dangerous levels, contributing to a gold-rush atmosphere in the nation’s leading cities, while stirring anger among young, middle-class Canadians who feel shut out of their hometown markets.

Its impact on Vancouver’s gravity-defying boom is the best known—and most hotly debated—example, as eye-popping price gains leave behind such quaint indicators as average household income, or regional economic activity. “We’re bringing in people who just want to park their money here,” says Justin Fung, a software engineer and second-generation Chinese-Canadian who counts himself among those frustrated by Vancouver’s surreal housing market. “They’re driving up housing prices and simply treat this city as a resort.”

(…)

‘In Vancouver, there are lots of kids of corrupt Chinese officials. Here, they can flaunt their money’

Andy Guo, center, and his twin brother, Anky Guo, with the red Huracan Lamborghini they co-own, at a dealership reception in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, March 19, 2016. Vancouver is home to many wealthy Chinese, whose presence some say has caused an affordable housing crisis. (Ruth Fremson/The New York Times)

‘In Vancouver, there are lots of kids of corrupt Chinese officials. Here, they can flaunt their money’

Andy Guo, an 18-year-old Chinese immigrant, loves driving his red Lamborghini Huracán. He does not love having to share the car with his twin brother, Anky.

“There’s a lot of conflict,” Andy Guo said, as a crowd of admirers gazed at the vehicle and its vanity licence plate, “CTGRY 5,” short for the most catastrophic type of hurricane.

The $360,000 car was a gift last year from their father, who travels back and forth between Vancouver and China’s northern Shanxi province and made his fortune in coal, said Andy Guo, an economics major at the University of British Columbia.

Vancouver real estate website gives Chinese-language speakers an advantage

[Screengrab of Vanfun.com’s home page]

Chinese-speaking real estate investors are getting a bit of a jump on buyers using the public Multiple Listing Service (MLS) website thanks to a Shanghai-based website posting Vancouver listings from the realtor MLS up to a few days before they’re publicly available.

In Canada, licensed realtors get the opportunity to see new listings 48 hours before they hit the public MLS site. But Dan Morrison of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver told Global Newsthat the Chinese-language Vanfun.com skirts that process.

“It’s pretty frustrating. It’s taking our copyrighted information and using it against our rules,” Morrison told the news outlet. “If they are getting access to our information on our system, if someone is giving them those numbers…that’s clearly against our rules.”

Although the website, owned by Shanghai Ruiying Internet Technology, doesn’t seem to have ties to any Vancouver real estate agencies, it offers tours, splits commissions with local realtors, and claims to be working with major banks.

Chinese-Canadian community honours Vancouver’s Modernize Tailors, pioneer family

Chinese-Canadian community honours Vancouver’s Modernize Tailors, pioneer family

Tailor shop opened in 1913 by Wong Kung Lai and has supplied suits to people like Sean Connery

By Gavin Fisher, Elaine Chau, CBC News Posted: Apr 09, 2016 4:42 PM PT Last Updated: Apr 10, 2016 10:46 AM PT

A 1946 photograph of Wong Kung Lai (bottom, second from right) with his children, and brother-in-law Chu (bottom, in uniform) who introduced him to his wife.

A 1946 photograph of Wong Kung Lai (bottom, second from right) with his children, and brother-in-law Chu (bottom, in uniform) who introduced him to his wife. (Courtesy Maurice Wong)

Close

Modernize Tailors, Wong family honoured for contribution to Chinese-Canadian community in Vancouver 6:57

External Links

(Note: CBC does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external links.)

In 1911 Wong Kung Lai was chosen by his small village in China to go and settle in Canada, with the village paying for his passage across the Pacific as well as the $500 head tax at the time.

“They probably saw him as the boy most likely to succeed,” said his son Maurice Wong, who added that as a young child his father used to walk for hours to bring to market the bok choy his family had grown.

VANCOUVER: Chinese national Yue Hui Wang accused of going five times the speed limit in a crash that seriously hurt a teen

Man accused of going over 250km/h in Vancouver crash

by SONIA ASLAM

Posted Mar 30, 2016 11:19 am PDT

Last Updated Mar 31, 2016 at 7:58 am PDT

A Mercedes that was involved in a single-vehicle crash on SW Marine Drive in Vancouver on April 12, 2015. The driver is accused of going 250km/h (Courtesy Vancouver Police)
SUMMARY

Chinese national Yue Wang accused of going five times the speed limit in a crash that seriously hurt a teen

‘Nothing short of insanity,’ says VPD of crash at 250km/h that left a teen with head trauma, broken bones

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A driver accused of going of 250 kilometres an hour before crashing in a residential Vancouver neighbourhood nearly a year ago has been charged.

The accused was driving his 17-year-old passenger, an acquaintance, from Richmond back home to Vancouver, when at 57th Avenue and Southwest Marine Drive, he lost control and crashed onto the property of a home.

Vancouver Police Constable Brian Montague says it took an hour before the pair was found.

“This is a fairly remote part of Vancouver. The houses are very large and the properties are very large. ”

(…)

Montague has been an officer for more than two decades and is amazed no one else was hurt.

“We are very lucky, I think, that we didn’t pull two dead bodies out of this vehicle. Clearly he’s not thinking. We have someone behind the wheel of a car who has total disregard for others using the road and for his passenger. There’s nothing other than stupidity that I can use to explain his driving at that time.”

 

(…)The passenger suffered serious injuries including several fractured facial bones, brain swelling and possible eye damage.

The 19-year-old driver, a Chinese national, left the country after the crash but returned to Vancouver for a citizenship ceremony last week.

“Whether or not he knew there was a warrant out for his arrest, I’m not sure,” adds Montague, who points out the accused missed the ceremony.

Yue Hui Wang has been charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm. He has been released from custody until his next court appearance.

He has had his passport revoked and isn’t allowed to drive.

Chinese cemetery remains a cornerstone of Kamloops history

The main gate to the Chinese Cemetery in Kamloops.
(JENNIFER STAHN /InfoTel Multimedia)
March 26, 2016 – 11:30 AM

KAMLOOPS – When Chinese Consul-General Liu Fei encouraged Kamloops’s Chinese community to explore and preserve their heritage in the city in 2013, Elsie Cheung went right to work on the most egregious omission — searching for the records from the Chinese Cemetery, the final resting place for many of the community’s earliest settlers.

The cemetery is also the final remnant of Kamloops’s historic Chinatown, a once bustling community which made up roughly one-third of the city’s population in 1890. Trouble is since the late 1970s, all the gravemarkers were accidentially removed. After no luck with the city’s records or at the library, Cheung went to the museum and the city’s archives and eventually found burial records from the city’s early days to 1970. She set out to find as much information as she could, going through the pages one at a time to find the lost names.

“I know that the names would be there, it was just to find them,” Cheung says. “I had to sit there. I took pictures. Every time I saw ‘Chinese Cemetery’ I took a picture, then I downloaded them and read over them (later).”