Category Archives: Asian community

VANCOUVER: Chinese buyers fuelling seismic spike in Vancouver’s luxury housing market, realtors say

A wealthy Chinese immigrant family inspect a villa in the high-class neighboorhood of West Vancouver. Realtors say Asian buyers accounted for roughly 90% of sales of properties costing $5 million and more. Getty Images

 

 

Foreign buyers are fuelling a seismic spike in Vancouver’s luxury housing market, realtors say

 | September 11, 2014 | Last Updated: Sep 11 12:56 PM ET
More from Reuters

VANCOUVER — Chinese investors’ global hunt for prime real estate is helping drive Vancouver home prices to record highs and the city, long among top destinations for wealthy mainland buyers, is feeling the bonanza’s unwelcome side-effects.

(…)

The latest wave of Chinese money, linked in part to Beijing’s anti-graft crackdown, is flowing into luxury hot spots. But it has also started driving up housing costs elsewhere in a city which already ranks as North America’s least affordable urban market.

Happiness is arriving in Vancouver

For decades Vancouver, along with Hong Kong, Sydney and Singapore and more recently New York and London has been attracting Chinese and other Asian buyers.

(…)

“In the last year there’s been the corruption crackdown in China and a lot of people have seen their wealth evaporate over there because of that,” said Dan Scarrow, a vice president at MacDonald Realty.
“So they want to put it somewhere they perceive as safe and there’s nowhere safer than the west.”

My market, the luxury real estate market, is primarily Asian buyers — mostly from mainland China

Andy Yan of Bing Thom Architects found that values for detached homes in the $2-5 million range have risen by 49% since 2009, making it the fastest growing segment in Vancouver’s housing market. Home values in a handful of luxury enclaves in Vancouver’s west climbed more than 50% over  that period, driving city-wide values up more than 35%.

Realtors are saying that more than half of buyers in prime markets are mainland Chinese.

“My market, the luxury real estate market, is primarily Asian buyers — mostly from mainland China,” said realtor Malcolm Hasman, a partner at Angell Hasman and Associates. Hasman said Asian buyers accounted for roughly 90% of sales of properties costing $5 million and more.

The impact of the latest inflow of foreign cash is particularly acute for Vancouver, its market already tight because of limited building space and a decade-long nationwide property bull run fuelled by low borrowing costs.

Condo towers are now built without a fourth floor, as that number is unlucky in Asian cultures, and wok kitchens are standard in most new homes Continue reading

Toronto lawyer Meerai Cho arrested in condo fraud totalling $12.4-million

Police laid 75 charges against Meerai Cho, 63, related to condo fraud totalling $12.4-million in expected losses from deposits on units at 5220 Yonge St.

Toronto lawyer arrested in alleged condo fraud totalling $12.4-million

KAT SIENIUC

The Globe and Mail

Published 

Last updated 

A Toronto lawyer was arrested Tuesday after at least 25 people came forward alleging they paid deposits for a condo in north Toronto, only to learn later that the land had been sold, the developer had fled and their money was gone.

Police laid 75 charges against Meerai Cho, 63, related to condo fraud totalling $12.4-million in expected losses from deposits on units at 5220 Yonge St.

(…)

At a time when construction is booming in Toronto, the alleged fraud calls into question whether strong enough safeguards exist for condo buyers in the city. While real estate lawyers and authorities say a crime of this nature is rare, others say the new-sale market needs more oversight.

“This wasn’t something that somebody met them [victims] down the back alley. This was a condo development, they were dealing with a lawyer at this time, and the purpose of the trust account is to hold the monies in trust, they are not supposed to be moved,” Det. Constable Devereaux said.

The victims’ losses vary from $40,000 to $700,000 in deposits, according to police. Continue reading

VANCOUVER: Art Bridge competition’s Western category open to Chinese-Canadian artists only

Art competition builds bridges for Chinese artists in Canada

Participants could win cash, recognition

By Chuck Chiang, Vancouver Sun August 20, 2014

Vancouver’s Chinese arts community is putting on a one-of-a-kind arts competition this fall.

Organizers launched the inaugural Canada Chinese Art Bridge competition Wednesday at a news conference Chinatown’s International Arts Gallery. It is one of the first large-scale Chinese arts competitions featuring specifically Canadian artists.

“Like the name of our organization says, we want to be the bridge between cultures,” said Katherine Chan, president of the Canada Chinese Arts Bridge Association. “This is our first project. Hopefully it will lead to other projects and opportunities to promote the understanding between cultures, but right now, we will wait and see.”

The competition, supported by the federal government, will accept applications and submissions to three categories of competition: Chinese paintings, Western paintings and calligraphy. The Chinese painting and calligraphy competition is open to all citizens (and permanent residents) of Canada, while the Western painting category is open to Chinese-Canadians only. (Organizers say this is to encourage artists of different cultural backgrounds to learn about styles different from their own.)

The deadline to enter Sept. 15, and the winners will be announced in November. Prizes include $3,000 cash for the winners of each category (cash prizes and other costs are supported by fundraising and donations to the Bridge Association).

(…)

“We don’t see many events like this in Vancouver,” said Chow, who immigrated to Canada 34 years ago. “There are many fellow Chinese artists here, but we don’t do this very often because, let’s be honest, we artists like to be in our individual creative environments. We like to paint at our own leisure, in our own private space, for our own gratification. So an opportunity like this is very, very rare.”

Organizers say the idea came from the recent inroads made by Chinese language programs through a similar bridge association — something the Arts Bridge would like to emulate in bringing attention to Canada’s Chinese art and artists. Continue reading

Vancouver mayoral candidate Meena Wong: “Everyone should have access to city services without fear of being troubled about their citizenship status.”

by STAFF on SEP 5, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Meena Wong.
STEPHEN HUI

COPE mayoral nomination candidate Meena Wong delivered the following speech today (September 5) at the launch of her campaign:

I’d like to recognize that we are on the unceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples.

I’m here today to announce that I will be seeking COPE’s nomination for Mayor of the City of Vancouver.

I am running for COPE because COPE has helped to shape the Vancouver that we love today. Since 1968, COPE has fought for a just city that is based on compassion, respect, and duty to all.

COPE helped to create much of the affordable housing across the city. Our city’s bike lanes and community garden programs owe their existence to COPE.

And no party has taken a stand to protect public schools like COPE. Thirty years ago, COPE’s school board was fired for refusing to implement the cuts, and that’s the principled spirit we need today more than ever.

As Mayor, I want to work with you all to make Vancouver the most compassionate city. Compassion means that if your family member is sick, you’re going to care for them. That goes beyond our families to our neighbourhoods, to the city as a whole.

I see everyday that people in poverty suffer the most. Everyone should have a decent place to live, and no one should be forced to sleep on the streets.

Compassion also means that we are welcoming. Vancouver is a city of immigrants. Everyone should have access to city services without fear of being troubled about their citizenship status. That’s how we make Vancouver a Sanctuary City. Continue reading

OTTAWA: Chinese restaurant fined after rice served sent six children to hospital

27 people at Tian Tian Chinese Summer Camp, 17 others got sick after eating rice

CBC News Posted: Aug 22, 2014 4:26 PM ET Last Updated: Aug 22, 2014 4:33 PM ET

A west Ottawa restaurant has been fined by Ottawa Public Health after rice it served made dozens of people sick and sent six children to hospital from a summer camp.

Paramedics were called to St. Cecilia School the afternoon of July 31 after several children and adults from the Tian Tian Chinese Summer Camp reported feeling ill.

Six children suffering from vomiting, dizziness and diarrhea were taken to hospital with suspected food poisoning. They were all released later that day.

Ottawa Public Health said in a statement Friday they inspected three restaurants that provided food for the camp that week. Two of those restaurants passed but the third, Lotus Chinese Food Takeout on Fallowfield Road, did not.

After interviewing more than 90 people from the camp, Ottawa Public Health said a total of 44 people felt sick after eating a fried rice dish from Lotus.

Analysis showed the presence of Bacillus cereus, a bacterium that releases toxins causing symptoms reported by those who got sick, in the rice and a noodle dishes from Lotus.

“Although this type of bacteria was found in both the rice and the noodle dishes prepared, the bacteria in the rice dish was at a level consistent with levels known to cause food-borne illness,” the statement said.

Inspection records show Lotus was found in compliance with regulations on Aug. 1, but had a “critical” food safety issue on Aug. 19 related to keeping food protected from contamination.

Lotus has been fined for operating a food premise maintained in a manner permitting a health hazard, and operating a food premise maintained adversely affecting sanitary conditions. Together, the offences carry a maximum fine of $600.

TORONTO: Vivian Wong, Leo Zheng and Thomas Ma lost money in condo development deal

Police investigating after condo deal falls apart

Toronto police confirm they are investigating a number of complaints from prospective buyers in the condo development who say they have lost money.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Reddit this!
Vivian Wong, Leo Zheng and Thomas Ma are among the prospective buyers who say they lost money in a condo development deal that fell apart.  Toronto police are investigating.

TARA DESCHAMPS / TORONTO STAR Order this photo

Vivian Wong, Leo Zheng and Thomas Ma are among the prospective buyers who say they lost money in a condo development deal that fell apart. Toronto police are investigating.

By:  Staff Reporter, Published on Fri Aug 22 2014

When a group of retail and condo buyers purchased units in an up-and-coming Yonge and Finch building also featuring a hotel, they envisioned packing up their current homes and moving into new ones where they would raise families, grow old and make memories together.

Instead, they say they’ve been subjected to almost nine months of anguish as they fret over what happened to the condos they were expecting and the millions they collectively spent on units at 5220 Yonge St. Continue reading

Vancouver flooded by immigrants from mainland China

Vancouver housing data reveal Chinese connection

IAIN MARLOW - ASIA-PACIFIC CORRESPONDENTThe Globe and Mail

Published 

Last updated 

(…)

Macdonald Realty Ltd., which has over 1,000 agents and staff in B.C., said 33.5 per cent of the 531 single family homes sold by its Vancouver offices in 2013 went to people who the company said were a mix of recent immigrants and Canadian citizens.

Those buyers, the company added, tended to spend more money, too, with the average cost of a house sold to these clients topping $2-million, compared to $1.4-million on average overall.

The figures did not include Macdonald’s sales in suburban areas such as Richmond, Burnaby or North Vancouver.

(…)

The information is based on reports from the firm’s sales, anecdotes from its agents and Mr. Scarrow’s own experience working with mainland Chinese clients, and it’s a glimpse into the influence of mainland Chinese money on Vancouver’s real estate market, which is considered among the most expensive in North America.

Vancouver has been flooded in recent years by tens of thousands of investor-class immigrants from mainland China, who have seen the west coast city as a stable – and picturesque – place to park their capital in luxury property.

That has helped drive up the average price of a single-family home in Vancouver to around $1.2-million.

Mr. Scarrow, who noted the firm does not query buyers about immigration status, believes that investment flowing from mainland China into Vancouver real estate is a quantifiable phenomenon, but has not personally seen much of the more controversial type of buyer: Those from abroad who buy for investment purposes but never live in the city. “We still see very few pure investors from China who have no connection to Vancouver,” he says.

Getting a handle on foreign buyers is difficult and Macdonald’s survey is far from exact – though one major property developer in Richmond said “that sounds about right.” The federal government does not collect meaningful data on the number of foreign buyers purchasing Canadian real estate, leaving industry participants to debate the impact of foreign capital on the local market. And that debate has gotten heated recently, with some developers accusing others of racism and criticizing those who want to slap curbs on foreign investment. The issue is complicated by the fact that some of Vancouver’s ethnically Chinese-Canadian citizens with ties to Hong Kong view newer immigrants from mainland China with a degree of suspicion, assuming their wealth might have been accumulated in part by proximity to China’s Communist Party, rather than in a free market with the rule of law like Hong Kong.

The lack of hard data has also complicated discussions about the city’s affordability crisis and fuelled a local cottage industry where analysts attempt to decipher the scope of foreign money by looking at things like electricity usage in downtown neighbourhoods where some suspect foreign buyers have bought condos in which they never live. Continue reading

Klaus Nielsen charged with trying to smuggle bacteria into China, Canada-wide arrest warrant issued for Wei Ling Yu

Canadian scientists perplexed why researcher would try to smuggle readily available pathogen to China

 | April 4, 2013 2:52 PM ET
More from Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Scientists familiar with contagions are scratching their heads over the arrest of a former federal government researcher who was allegedly trying to smuggle bacteria into China.

Klaus Nielsen, a former lead researcher with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, faces charges in what police say was a scheme to illegally commercialize a testing device for Brucella bacteria.

The Mounties say Nielsen, of Richmond, Ont., and a fellow researcher, Wei Ling Yu, have been charged with breach of trust by a public officer. Continue reading

VANCOUVER: Jeffrey Chang targeted in drive-by shooting, Mia Deakin injured

By Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun June 11, 2014

Two men targeted in separate weekend shootings in Vancouver are from rival gangs that have been warring with each other across the region for years.

The Vancouver Sun has learned the target of an East Hastings drive-by shooting Sunday that left 28-year-old Mia Deakin wounded was gangster Jeffrey Chang.

Chang, 27, is involved in the Wolf Pack gang alliance and has been the subject of several recent warnings from police about threats to his life, sources said. Continue reading

VANCOUVER: Words like “racism” used as scarecrow when discussing the impact of rich Chinese immigrants on greater Vancouver

In Vancouver, race undercuts the discussion on affordability

IAN YOUNG

VANCOUVER — Special to The Globe and Mail

Published 

Last updated 

It helps to have a thick skin when reporting on the nexus between Chinese money and Vancouver’s sky-high property market. It also might help if that skin, like mine, isn’t white.

Accusations of racism flow thick and fast whenever an attempt is made to connect wealth-based immigration, primarily by rich Chinese, and housing prices here. Since influential condo marketer Bob Rennie delivered a speech to the Urban Development Institute in May, in which he said “sensational” stories making that link were “bordering on racism,” an array of industry figures have lined up to support his proposition.

But now, some in the Chinese community are pushing back. “Guys like Bob Rennie, they are trying to stop full conversation and intelligent conversation by using words like ‘racism,’” said long-time Chinatown activist David Wong. “People are afraid to speak when people start throwing that word around.”

Mr. Wong, an architect who has campaigned on behalf of impoverished Chinese immigrants, said it was vital to have a frank discussion about the impact of rich immigrants on greater Vancouver, where average detached house prices top $1.2-million. “Every time people want to talk about this, they get labelled a racist, especially if they are non-Asian,” said Wong. “That’s nonsense. We’ve got to talk about it. The politicians are gutless because they are afraid they are going to lose the so-called ethnic vote.” Continue reading