Where will wealthy Chinese park their property investment dollars this year? According to forecasts by Colliers International, Canada should account for the top two spots.
Vancouver and Toronto will remain strong this year, followed by London and Singapore, Colliers says.
At present, 20-40 per cent of all foreign investors in these four destinations are from the mainland.
'Most mainland Chinese investors buy properties in Canada because their children study there,' says Derek Lai, director of international properties at Colliers International.
Vancouver is the mainlanders' first choice, mainly for the purposes of immigration and education.
Their interest has strongly influenced residential property prices, which have increased 9 per cent annually [and 7 per cent in Toronto] for the past six years, Lai says.
According to Colliers' latest Vancouver property report, residential sales in the city grew by 32 per cent last year.
Greg Carros, vice-president and managing broker at Sotheby's International Realty Canada, says these buyers are not just seeking apartments. He is selling some large-lot properties in Vancouver that illustrate this trend.
One example is a six-bedroom, six-bathroom Georgian-style mansion at 6380 MacDonald Street on land of 21,274 sqft that is selling for C$7.78 million (HK$61 million), which is attracting much Chinese interest. 'The appeal is the city centre location and large lot size,' Carros says.
Cam Good, president of Vancouver-based real estate company TheKey.com, says Canada's 'safe-haven' status is another influencing factor. He cites a penthouse in Yorkville Plaza, on the corner of Yorkville Avenue and Avenue Road in Toronto, as the kind of upmarket digs wealthy mainlanders are looking for in Canada.
The 10,000 sqft penthouse has a 2,000 sqft rooftop terrace with spectacular views of the CN Tower and overlooking Toronto's legendary Yorkville village, acclaimed for its sophisticated ambience, designer-label shopping, gourmet restaurants, museums and culture.
'At 31 storeys, this dream home in the sky also features soaring sculpted columns and gleaming floor tiles, indoor and outdoor dining areas, a conservatory and elegant finishings,' says Good, who is selling the property for C$18 million from his offices in Beijing and Hong Kong.