The implementation of foreign home buyers’ taxes in Vancouver and Toronto has invited much industry speculation and commentary of Montreal and Calgary being the next big housing investment destinations.
However, market players and local brokers have noted that so far, initial interest—as expressed in pre-purchase queries and online searches—has not seemed to translate into actual transaction volume.
Real estate developer Brad Lamb stated that he encountered difficulty in stimulating Chinese interest in Edmonton and Calgary (the latter of which is currently labouring under an overabundance of unsold condos) through posting listings of developments in these cities.
“They’ll have their kick at Montreal and maybe Calgary, but they’ll never be as big as Vancouver or Toronto,” Lamb explained, as quoted by The Globe and Mail. “I gotta tell you, it’s been a gigantic waste of time.”
And while Montreal and Calgary have facilities and post-secondary schools that might prove attractive to foreign families and students, both cities’ Asian populations are not that large. In particular, Montreal’s requirement of fluency in English and French for full participation in the city’s civil society and economic system stands as a significant barrier to entry.
Montreal-based agent Yu Li primarily works with Mandarin and Cantonese-speaking clients, but he explained that while many of them have indicated interest in the city’s luxury homes and newly-built condo high-rises, he still does not see a significant upward trend in the proportion of Asian investors in the near future.
“I don’t see a bubble forming. It’s going to take quite a few years yet before it becomes a true sellers’ market balanced out with buyers,” Li said, adding that most of his clientele are more attracted to the Montreal housing market’s affordability.