The government of China has stepped into the B.C. teachers’ strike and that is raising concern about a major source of lucrative international…more
BY TRACY SHERLOCK, CHUCK CHIANG AND ROB SHAW, VANCOUVER SUN SEPTEMBER 12, 2014
The government of China has stepped into the B.C. teachers’ strike and that is raising concern about a major source of lucrative international students for B.C. school boards.
Officials from the Chinese Consulate in Vancouver met recently with Education Ministry officials to express concerns about the teachers’ strike, which has delayed the start of the school year by nearly two weeks, with no end in sight.
Several Chinese parents asked the consulate to intervene, consulate officials said. They added that they met with B.C. officials on Friday to “relay the concerns of the parents to local administrators.” Continue reading →
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
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 →
IAIN MARLOW - ASIA-PACIFIC CORRESPONDENTThe Globe and Mail
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 →
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Thursday, August 14, 2014 4:47PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 14, 2014 5:32PM EDT
Students at York University are expressing anger after racist posters were distributed around the campus and to nearby homes Wednesday.
The posters were found Wednesday at York’s Keele Street and Steeles Avenue campus and in mailboxes of nearby homes where many students live. The posters contain anti-immigrant messages that decry the shrinking majority of “White Canadians” on university campuses. Continue reading →
Brampton is an ever-growing city with a very diverse community. But that community is being threatened by anti-immigrant flyers.
The most recent one was put in people’s mailboxes just yesterday. A few months ago the same thing – a flyer questioning Canada’s mandate on diversity and whether Canadians and Europeans should accept their fate of becoming a minority group in places like Brampton.
Residents in the area say flyers like this are appalling and do not reflect the sentiment of the community. Continue reading →
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 →
With its twisted sculptural design, the “iconic” $500-million Vancouver House is being marketed across Asia as a symbol of Vancouver’s future.
The 52-storey Westbank project alongside the north end of Granville Bridge is slated to open in 2018 and is being aggressively marketed in Asia, with up to half of the owners expected to buy from outside Canada.
According to the South China Morning Post, two sales offices were opened in Hong Kong in June.
Sales agents then visited China’s largest cities in search of buyers. And in July, Vancouver House units were marketed in Singapore. According to Singapore publications, Vancouver House condos were reserved for overseas buyers.
This week, Singapore-based website Property Guru reported there was an “overwhelming response” to the launch of Vancouver House, one of “Canada’s iconic buildings.”
“Vancouver House … saw more than 30 units transacted — far more than expected,” according to Property Guru.
“The response surprised us and surprised the developer,” an “excited” Singapore agent was quoted telling Property Guru, which reported a second “showcase” event was planned this week in Singapore. In mid-July The Business Times reported that of “388 units in the 52-storey tower, 30 units are reserved for the Singapore market, said Westbank’s marketing director Michael Braun.”
Westbank spokeswoman Jill Killeen said an initial September date to start selling to locals had been brought forward after Westbank received its disclosure statement last Thursday, ”making it legal to sell.”
“Our tracking indicates that more than 50 per cent of buyers will come from the Vancouver marketplace,” Killeen said in a prepared statement. Sales for local buyers will begin this week. Killeen said Westbank had been marketing to locals through print and television and had hosted an arts event under the bridge to generate interest.
In a story featuring an interview with Vancouver House developer Ian Gillespie, the South China Morning Post noted the building will have an “asset management”program for absentee owners, with staff periodically turning on taps and appliances in unoccupied units.
Gillespie said Vancouver House will be the most expensive building ever in Vancouver and units will be for art-collector-like buyers looking for “live-in sculpture.”
Vancouver House’s star architect, Bjarke Ingels, suggests the building — which will include revitalizing the space under the Granville Bridge at the 1400-block of Howe Street — is symbolic of “a giant curtain, at the moment of being pulled back to reveal the world to Vancouver and Vancouver to the world.” Continue reading →
Xenophobe Brad Saltzberg has been on a bit of a media tear lately, as spokesperson for what can only be called a hate group for modern times, Putting Canada First.
Saltzberg and his cronies are largely dismissed by city councils and mainstream news media, but I would argue we need to take this group seriously as dangerously divisive and hateful. We should find their invocation of “Canada” and “European Canada” to be disturbing and hateful for the fictions such terms attempt to make of our multicultural, settler society.
Putting Canada First has powerfully worked to align the narrative of our hard-earned tax dollars to that of the greedy migrant. Saltzberg’s interviews attempt a dispassionate view of multiculturalism veiled as a waste of taxpayer resources, telling a Shaw Continue reading →
In my [Murray's] small community, in December of 2009, the local branch of the Sierra Club, “Sierra Quadra”, held a demonstration in front of the post office at the Q. Cove shopping plaza. Demonstrators carried placards urging delegates at the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change to come to a meaningful and effective agreement.
A few days ago, July 11, 2014, was “World Population Day“, where people across the world tried to raise awareness about the need to address this most serious emergency of world overpopulation. Guess what? No Sierra Club demonstrators were to be seen either here on Quadra Island, or in front of B.C. Sierra Club headquarters in Victoria, or in any branch of the Sierra Club in Canada. How could these climate-obsessed “environmentalists” remain silent about the primary underlying driver of all environmental problems: overpopulation?
For the founder of Earth Day, Gaylord Nelson, overpopulation was a key constituent of environmental degradation. This relationship between environmental degradation and population growth was accepted by every one of Nelson’s allies, including long-time Sierra Club director David Brower. In fact, the IPAT equation, developed by Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren, was the foundational formula of the environmental movement as it emerged in the 1970s. “I” (environmental impact) = P (the population level) x A (per capita consumption) x T (technological change). Some believed that post-World War II production technologies were the main reason for environmental deterioration, but Ehrlich and Holdren insisted that population size was the most important IPAT factor. Continue reading →
Canada’s West Coast hub, Vancouver, is home to a Chinese immigrant population so large that the city has earned the nickname “Hongcouver” and the title of“most Asian city” outside of Asia. The city’s Chinese have enriched the culture and created employment opportunities, but recently the growing number of Chinese-language signs and advertisements has sparked protests from some non-Chinese residents.
Brad Saltzberg, a North Vancouver resident, told the Vancouver Sun he takes issue with targeted Chinese advertising for real estate agents, financial planning and other products because it undermines “traditional English and French Canadian identity.”
Saltzberg is also the spokesperson and regional director for Putting Canada First, a nonprofit “dedicated to the maintenance and advancement of traditional Canadian identity, history and language.” It appears that Saltzberg isn’t the only one who has a problem with the increasing use of Chinese in public. Last week, stickers that said “Please Respect Canada’s Official Languages” covered Chinese-language advertisements in West Vancouver’s bus stations. Continue reading →