WATCH: Realtors say there is a growing number of offshore buyers setting their sights on the Victoria real estate market but some worry that’s forcing house prices up. April Lawrence reports.
A property on Cadboro Bay Road just sold for $400,000 over the asking price to buyers from Mainland China.
It’s a growing segment of the Victoria real estate market.
“At least half of the interest that we’re getting is from Chinese buyers,” said RE/MAX realtor Tony Joe.
Joe is one of several realtors sending out flyers offering to connect sellers with Chinese buyers willing to pay ‘top dollar’.
“They are seeing Victoria as a viable alternative because first of all, economically, our properties are still quite a bit less expensive than Vancouver,” he said.
But for as many new clients as Joe’s foreign buyer campaign is bringing in, it also has plenty of critics.
“We’ve even today had emails from people saying we’re selling out Victoria and making it very difficult for people to buy [for] their kids or family,” Joe said.
But he insists it’s not just Chinese buyers pushing up the market.
“It takes two to tango”, Joe said. “I have not had a single local Victorian here saying they would agree to take less money from someone who is not from China.”
Realtors who cater to foreign buyers insist what’s happening in Victoria is very different from what has happened in Vancouver.
“I don’t see anybody flipping properties trying to drive the market upwards,” said Pemberton Holmes realtor May Lee.
“The majority of people are just like you and I who want to love this place, live in here, bring up their children, and be part of the community,” she said.
The Victoria Real Estate Board’s statistics for the first quarter of 2016 show only 0.8% of buyers are from Asia.
But that may not be accurate — buyers are simply asked to self declare where they are from, so if you already own property in Vancouver or Victoria for example, you could be counted as a local.
Starting in June, new regulations will require all real estate buyers to mark their country of citizenship so the B.C. government can better track where they are coming from.
While there’s little doubt there is growing Chinese interest in the Victoria housing market, local realtors insist it’s families, not investors, setting their sights here.