Some few years back, real estate developers, tapped Buss Marketing in Calgary for interest in a high-rise building in that city, especially from foreign investors. According to reports, the real estate marketing and sales company invited brokers from Toronto and Vancouver that maintained connections to foreign buyers, and even appointed an Asian real estate agent with a strong offshore network and sent him to Hong Kong for four months to prospect for buyers. But Calvin Buss, commented “all these efforts were to no avail.”
The real estate industry does not have high hopes in Alberta and Calgary, nothing in these two communities’ fortunes could change. And the 15 per cent tax imposition on foreign buyers is not in any way helping at all. “I do think that foreign investors who want to invest in Canada will shift to Calgary, lured by the most attractive returns in the country,” says Buss. Meanwhile, Alberta is still recouping from a major downturn, and as a result, property prices are cheap compared to other regions. In comparison, the market in the cities are seemingly a threat to foreign investors whilst the provinces are still shaky and a few more buyers from abroad could have much benefits. “They’d actually be welcomed here in Alberta,” says Todd Hirsh, chief economist at ATB Financial.
Furthermore, Hong Wang, a real estate agent in Calgary stated, “our market needs support from foreign money.” But perhaps the most appealing aspect of the province is that prices are cheap compared to Toronto and Vancouver. According to one study, $300,000 will buy 926 square feet in Calgary and 1,176 square feet of property in Edmonton- but only 520 and 339 square-feet in Toronto and Vancouver, respectively.
Local real estate agent, Kirby Cox, says “for the investors who don’t have as much money, they’ll probably come and look at Calgary as an alternative,” he said. “If you can put a building that was 25 per cent more expensive three years ago and the dollar is also down, that’s a windfall situation if you’re willing to hold on to it.”
After the recent tax increment in Vancouver, Juwai.com, an online platform for foreign buyers in China, published a blog post stumping for Calgary, claiming that a new direct flight offered by Hainan Airlines between the city and Beijing will bring “an influx of Chinese in the future” and that many could “purchase a home there should they fall in love with Calgary.”