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More real estate transactions involve foreign buyers than ever

It has been well documented that foreign buyers, in particular buyers from mainland China, have been a major presence in the Canadian real estate market. While much of the attention has been focused on other locations, there are clear indicators that Alberta is gaining in popularity with this group. Statistics show a vastly increased number of inquiries into the Calgary market, and this may translate into more real estate transactions.

When people talk about Chinese home buyers, the reference is generally to Vancouver, or Toronto. However, since the introduction of a 15 percent foreign buyers tax in Vancouver, interest in that market has dropped considerably. Inquiries about the west coast city at a major real estate website in China dropped by 81 percent the month the tax came into effect.

Shortly thereafter, many potential buyers began to cast their eyes eastward to Alberta. In August, the month after the tax in Vancouver came into effect, the aforementioned website saw an increase in inquiries into Calgary of 1,050 percent versus the same month the previous year. In September, the increase was 420 percent year-over-year. Data shows the majority of buyers are looking for conventional properties, typically under $655,000.

Not all inquiries develop into purchases, of course, but it is not unreasonable to assume Calgary and other parts of Alberta may experience an increase in foreign buyers. Anyone selling a home or other property to an out-of-province buyer may wish to enlist the help of a real estate lawyer. A lawyer's knowledge of the legal aspects of real estate transactions can help ensure a worry-free selling experience.

Source: Calgary Herald, "Most Chinese buyers want Calgary real estate for own use, review finds", March 7, 2017

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