Lots of chatter about foreign buyers out there these days. Not that this is a new topic by any means. Back when HouseHunt started there was already talk about the invasion of HAM (Hot Albertan Money) driving the local market. Since then it’s been alternately Americans, Asians, Aged, Australian, or anyone else that might scare local buyers into jumping in before we turn into Vancouver.
Recently it’s been over the news again, with some nice articles about how Vancouver drives out families, while Victoria is a true paradise ready to welcome them. Even the Oak Bay vanguard are trembling at the hordes supposedly coming from the east.
Data has been scarce so far, with only the Realtor’s buyers survey to go on, and that was quite spotty. However the VREB has recently compiled the statistics on buyer origin for 2015 and 2014* (coming to us via Marko Juras).
So Vancouver Islanders drive over three quarters of the market, and those from Greater Victoria account for the vast majority of those. So if anyone is concerned about buyers driving up prices, we know where to look.
But what of those… others? Well one might be concerned about those rich lower mainlanders. After all 7% of the market is nothing to sneeze at. But if we are worried about 7%, then we should be equally so about those north islanders selling their multi-million dollar houses in places like Cumberland, Gold River, and Port Hardy to distort our little market.
How are things changing? Well we also have data from 2014 and the answer is: hardly at all.
Despite a seemingly large jump in absolute lower mainland buyers from the 367 in 2014 (when the market was dead) to the 600 in 2015, the percentage isn’t that much different. If you’re a 100 mile diet kinda guy, you can rest easy in the knowledge that our market is entirely home made.
So the real question is. If realtors are collecting this kind of data, why in Vancouver do they have to resort to ridiculous methodologies like looking at how Chinese the names of buyers are?
*458 sales were not included because the buyer origin data was either incorrect or withheld by the buyer.