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Will the next wave of real estate transactions come from abroad?

For as much as locals may love their province, property in Alberta's cities has never received the same attention from foreign buyers as Vancouver and Toronto. Indications are, however, that the trend may soon change. Some people in the know think Alberta may soon start to appear on the radar of many would-be purchasers from outside the country, and foreign-buyer real estate transactions could become more common.

In effort to let some of the air out of an hugely inflated market, the government of BC imposed a 15 percent tax on all housing purchases made by all non-resident buyers. Ontario's government soon followed suit, legislating an identical tax on foreign buyers looking at the Toronto real estate market. Could the lack of such a tax make Calgary or Edmonton suddenly more appealing?

Although the markets in Alberta didn't crash, as was once feared, they did drop considerably, making property much less expensive than it is in some other markets across the country. An economist at ATB Financial believes that foreign investment in Alberta would be welcomed, unlike in other locations where real estate is at a premium. Online searches for buying in Edmonton are up by 50 percent versus last year during the same time on a website aimed at Chinese investors. Direct flights from Beijing to Calgary may also lure potential buyers.

For the person selling a property, any buyer seems like a good buyer. However, real estate transactions with nonresident buyers may require special care. For those faced with an offer from overseas, or over the border, the best choice may be to review the transaction with a skilled real estate lawyer.

Source:, "Is Calgary the next property hot spot for foreign buyers?", Joe Castaldo, May 8, 2017

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