TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 7, 2017) - A report released today by and Sotheby's International Realty Canada reveals new insight into prospective homebuyers from mainland China, including trends in target pricing, motivation, and levels of interest between conventional and top-tier real estate in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

China to Canada: International Home Buyer Insights is based on Canadian property enquiry data submitted by potential real estate buyers from China on in 2016, qualitative research on users from the largest centres of mainland China, and local market insights from Sotheby's International Realty Canada. The report also notes differences in the impact of the recently introduced 15% provincial property transfer tax on foreign buyers in Metro Vancouver.

According to Charles Pittar, CEO of, "Barring unforeseen circumstances, we expect Chinese real estate investment in 2017 to come close to matching that of 2016. There is no firm data, but National Bank of Canada hypothesizes that Chinese invest around $38 billion annually in Canadian property. That's a tremendous boon for the country and is more than double the $16.4 billion annual value of Canada's number one export to China, agricultural products."

"As political and economic headwinds drive people from around the world to seek lifestyle and financial oases, Canada's major cities are becoming increasingly attractive real estate destinations," says Brad Henderson, President and CEO of Sotheby's International Realty Canada. "This report sheds new light on emerging trends in the motivation, influence and interests of Chinese homebuyers so that future market activity can be better anticipated."

Highlights and Sotheby's International Realty Canada data and market insights revealed the following key trends:

Education and personal use, rather than investment and immigration, lead interest from China: data and Sotheby's International Realty Canada market insights clearly indicated that personal use was an implied or explicit motivation for Chinese interest in Canada's largest cities:

  • Education was the most commonly cited motivation for Chinese interest in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, cited by 41%, 44% and 46% of property enquirers respectively. This was followed by "own use" at 37%, 25% and 34%.
  • The single highest motivation for property enquirers interested in Calgary real estate was "own use", at 62%.
  • 27% of Toronto and Vancouver enquirers, and 23% and 21% of Montreal and Calgary enquirers, indicated that investment was a motivation.
  • Immigration was the least frequently cited motive.

Demand for conventional housing outweighs luxury demand:

Chinese homebuyers have been credited as an influential segment of purchasers within the Canadian luxury real estate market; however, data dispels the notion that their interest is limited to the high-end segment. Property enquiry data from indicates:

  • 57% of property enquiries in Vancouver, 67% in Calgary, and 68% in both Toronto and Montreal fell below $655,050 ($500,000 USD) in 2016.
  • The median prices for property enquiries -$590,200 in Vancouver, $531,115 in Calgary, $458,928 in Toronto and $488,012 in Montreal- were within the range of, and in some cases, significantly below the average sale price of residential real estate within the market.

Metro Vancouver foreign buyers' tax shifts market sentiment:

The implementation of a 15% provincial property transfer tax on foreign nationals, corporations and trusts buying Metro Vancouver real estate introduced local consumer uncertainty and accelerated market moderation. The impact of the tax on property interest in major Canadian cities was swift:

  • Vancouver listings enquiries on fell 81% year-over-year in July 2016, the month the foreign buyers' tax was announced, and 78% year-over-year in August when the tax took effect.
  • Interest from prospective real estate purchasers redirected into other major Canadian markets in the months immediately following the tax's implementation.
  • Sotheby's International Realty Canada experts observed that increased interest from Chinese property enquirers did not result in matching surges in sales activity from this cohort in alternative markets.

Interest in $1 million-plus real estate comparatively resilient to policy shifts:

Interest in real estate over $1 million was less elastic to changes in policy than in the conventional real estate market:

  • In Vancouver property enquiries for real estate over $1 million fell 67% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2016 in the month the 15% foreign buyers' tax was implemented, but rebounded with an 18% year-over-year increase in the last quarter.
  • Toronto properties over $1 million experienced only a nominal, 2% year-over-year uptick on in the third quarter of 2016 following the implementation of the Metro Vancouver foreign buyers' tax, before ending the fourth quarter with enquiries up 18% year-over-year.
  • As in the case of the conventional real estate market, rising interest in luxury real estate in Toronto, Calgary and Montreal did not result in matching gains in sales activity.

For more information on China to Canada: International Home Buyer Insights and Sotheby's International Realty Canada, please contact Maxine Jakubke.

About Sotheby's International Realty Canada

Combining the world's most prestigious real estate brand with local market knowledge and specialized marketing expertise, Sotheby's International Realty Canada is the leading real estate sales and marketing company for the country's most exceptional properties. With offices in over 30 residential and resort markets nationwide, our professional associates provide the highest caliber of real estate service, unrivalled local and international marketing solutions and a global affiliate sales network of approximately 850 offices in 65 countries to manage the real estate portfolios of discerning clients from around the world. For further information, visit

About is the number one Chinese international property portal, with more than 2 million visitors from China and other countries, and showcasing 2.5 million listings from 89 countries. was named the top international real estate website in China in both 2014 and 2015 by the country's leading e-commerce body and won the prestigious Red Herring Global Top 100 award in 2015. The company is headquartered in Shanghai and Hong Kong and has regional teams in the UK, the US and Canada and Australia. For further information or to advertise, visit


The information contained in this report references Canadian property enquiry data submitted by potential real estate buyers from China on in 2016, qualitative research on prospective purchasers from the largest centres of mainland China, market insights from Sotheby's International Realty Canada and market data from MLS boards across Canada. and Sotheby's International Realty Canada caution that such research and data can be useful in establishing trends over time, but do not imply causation with sales activity or real estate market performance. This report is published for general information only and not to be relied upon in any way. Although high standards have been used in the preparation of the information and analysis presented in this report, no responsibility or liability whatsoever can be accepted by, Sotheby's International Realty Canada or Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates for any loss or damage resultant from any use of, reliance on or reference to the contents of this document.

Contact Information:

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Maxine Jakubke

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