As home sales in Toronto and Vancouver continue to rise, real estate agents are looking for alternatives to hit up the market. Emma May, a real estate agent hoped Vancouver’s foreign buyers tax would help her sell some languishing Calgary homes. But despite her best effort to attract Chinese buyers over the past year, she hasn’t seen much interest in Calgary properties. “We got lots of attention, but it just hasn’t happened yet.” Said May.
Vancouver, which placed a 15 per cent tax imposition on foreign buyers last July has been driving off foreign buyers away whilst Ontario is contemplating a similar measure.
Charles Real estate, which May Co-founded, saw Calgary as an investment and decided to help Calgary property owners. To attract foreign buyers, it advertised on an online Chinese website called Juwai.com and hired a Chinese micro-site and created mobile advertising. It also hired a real estate agent in Hong Kong.
“There are two types of Chinese investors. There’s the Chinese investor who buys a really big house here and moves his family here and the kids go to school and they commute. Right? And then there are the people investing in larger projects, really just the speculative type stuff,” May said. But unfortunately for her and the Calgary clients looking to sell, she wasn’t able to sell any Calgary properties to Chinese buyers.
May said that she is completely aware of the impact foreign investment has had on the great cities of Toronto and Vancouver.
“It definitely hurt those markets in a way that has a social impact above and beyond just getting the house sold, that said, we were in a middle of a recession last year and in 2015. We were sitting on quite a bit of product. We have an obligation to do the best thing for our sellers. If local people aren’t buying, what do we do?”