There has been much speculations and commentaries over the implementation of foreign home buyers’ taxes in Vancouver and Toronto that led to the thought that Montreal and Calgary could be the next big housing investment destinations.
So far, as noted by market players and brokers, initial interest – as expressed in pre-purchase queries and online searches – hasn’t seemed to translate into actual transaction volume.
Brad Lamb, real estate developer stated that he encountered difficulty in stimulating Chinese interest in Edmonton and Calgary 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 and Toronto”, Lamb explained, as quoted by the Globe and Mail. “I gotta tell you, it’s been a gigantic waste of time”.
Montreal and Calgary’ Asian populations are not that large even though they have facilities and post-secondary schools that might prove attractive to foreign families and students. 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.
Yu Li, a Montreal-based agent 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 attached to the Montreal housing market’s affordability.