Canadians in Hong Kong moving back to Vancouver, realtor says

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      Before Hong Kong’s so-called Umbrella Revolution started this past summer, Vancouver-area realtor Winfield Yan had been busy with clients based there.

      “I already made a few deals with Hong Kong people,” Yan related in a phone interview with the Georgia Straight.

      There’s a young couple in their 30s and with kids. They’ve bought a house in Vancouver for almost $1 million. They’re already here and staying for good in Canada.

      Another couple is in their 50s. They’re also looking for a house in Vancouver. They have a budget of about $1 million. When they relocate from Hong Kong, they plan to stay.

      But this isn’t exactly a repeat of the exodus from Hong Kong in the years leading up to the 1997 handover of the then British colony to China.

      According to a bulletin prepared by the Metro Vancouver regional district about the 2001 census, 44,700 immigrants from Hong Kong came to the Lower Mainland between 1991 and 1996. The number fell to 15,700 between 1996 and 2001.

      In a separate interview, Urban Futures economist Ryan Berlin told the Straight by phone that in the last decade, migration from Hong Kong to Canada overall averaged only 450 a year.

      Yan’s clients were actually part of the early to mid-90s, pre-China handover migration to Canada.

      In the case of the young couple, they were raised and educated in Canada, and later went to Hong Kong to work. The older couple, also originally from Hong Kong, came to Vancouver, bought a house, sold it after a number of years, and returned to Hong Kong to pursue their professions.

      “They were already here when they were young, or they were here before,” he said.

      So they’re Canadian citizens living in Hong Kong. Now they’re coming back to Canada. According to Yan, they’d been thinking about it before the ongoing political unrest began in Hong Kong.

      “I think they already noticed something changing,” Yan said.

      Yan was a young boy when his family left Hong Kong for Canada in 1970. He has a natural interest in the affluent territory, and he’s on top of the news about what’s going on there.

      “There’s too many people in Hong Kong,” said Yan, referring to Hong Kong’s seven million-plus people crammed on just over 1,000 square kilometres of land, making it one of the densest areas in the world.

      “They want more space,” Yan said about his clients. “Hong Kong is already so small.”

      That means pressure on services like transit and education.

      “Education is also a problem because a lot of mainland Chinese go to Hong Kong and they take up the seats, and the younger kids have problems finding schools now, like even kindergarten or elementary, school, high school, university they have problems finding seats,” he said.

      There are also economic reasons. Rich mainland Chinese are also buying up precious real estate in Hong Kong, edging out some locals from the market.

      “Everything is very expensive to live in Hong Kong,” Yan said.

      So even before China began to face a challenge from Hong Kong protesters about its decision to vet candidates for the territory’s next leader in 2017, a number of Canadians with roots in Hong Kong have started coming back to North America, according to Yan.

      Yan has observed this happening “just within the last year”, and he expects more to come.

      Yan said: “I think people are fed up with what’s happening in Hong Kong.”

      As for other Hong Kong residents, Yan said that it’s difficult to say whether they’re also thinking about Canada.

      “Not for the new immigrants because I think right now, for immigrants, it’s very hard to get into Canada,” Yan said. “It’s mostly the ones that came before. I see there’s limited numbers, even though there were lot of immigrants who came to Canada before.”

      Comments

      23 Comments

      Biker Bob

      Oct 9, 2014 at 2:39pm

      Who know Canada was actually a hotel rather than a country.

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      Mark

      Oct 9, 2014 at 2:56pm

      A lot of those who came from Hong Kong in large numbers were simply looking for a Canadian passport in case things go wrong. Most of them never wanted to make Canada their home, and most of them went back after they received their citizenship.

      Canada needs to end the way Passports of Convenience are issued.

      Same thing happened with the Investor Immigrant Program. People simply want good healthcare and education, but the main breadwinner doesn't want to live in Canada full time. This makes them not livable to pay income taxes on their worldwide income, which for many is derived from Mainland China.

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      No Ying to this Yan

      Oct 9, 2014 at 9:51pm

      hmmmmmmmm and I Quote

      "There’s too many people in Hong Kong,” said Yan, referring to Hong Kong’s seven million-plus people crammed on just over 1,000 square kilometres of land, making it one of the densest areas in the world.

      “They want more space,” Yan said about his clients. “Hong Kong is already so small.”

      That means pressure on services like transit and education
      There are also economic reasons. Rich mainland Chinese are also buying up precious real estate in Hong Kong, edging out some locals from the market."

      and don't forget this quote"Yan said: “I think people are fed up with what’s happening in Hong Kong.”

      To Yan; I think people are fed up with what's happening to VANCOUVER.

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      tedo

      Oct 10, 2014 at 2:26am

      why would people move to vancouver From Hong Kong and cripple their career, take a 90% paycut or just be unemployed to live in dead end vancouver

      Johnny Rotten

      Oct 10, 2014 at 7:27am

      "making it one of the densest areas in the world."

      Is it definition number one or two?

      adjective, denser, densest.
      1.
      having the component parts closely compacted together; crowded or compact:
      a dense forest; dense population.
      2.
      stupid; slow-witted; dull.

      OMG

      Oct 10, 2014 at 7:58am

      "But this isn’t exactly a repeat of the exodus from Hong Kong in the years leading up to the 1997 handover of the then British colony to China."

      I'm glad someone finally acknowledged that the 'handover' exodus actually occurred. For some reason left-wing publications always preferred to ignore this obvious fact. Welcome to a world without blinders.

      "Another couple is in their 50s. They’re also looking for a house in Vancouver. They have a budget of about $1 million. When they relocate from Hong Kong, they plan to stay."

      This also acknowledges another point I have brought up repeatedly, that Vancouver isn't really unaffordable. This couple with a million dollar budget is not rare and Vancouver is not a ghost town. Therefore it is affordable, but just not for the people who you want to be living here. Almost all of the initial phases of huge increase in property values were due to this wave of immigration from Hong Kong. It's not their fault and it's not a matter of blaming them. If you were faced with an uncertain future and could afford to move, you probably would.

      It's people wanting to live here that has created the staggeringly high property values, not the politicians. No government is going to be able to prevent people in a free society from buying in whichever area they can afford.

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      Lance

      Oct 10, 2014 at 8:58am

      I have a friend from Vancouver who is now in Michigan....compared to there Vancouver is the friendliest safest greatest climate most welcoming place on earth.

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      @Lance..

      Oct 10, 2014 at 9:35am

      Duh, it's the US and has Detroit. of course lol.

      0 0Rating: 0

      Tim

      Oct 10, 2014 at 10:35am

      OMG, do you work in real estate?

      cd

      Oct 10, 2014 at 10:46am

      seems like Vancouver should end up like hong kong in no time 50.000 x 5= 250,000 in 10 yrs x compounded = ?
      solution stop immigration till economy has become livable in Vancouver
      as in average joe with a job can buy a house again or these people have half the earnings distributed among the people born and raise in bc.
      same goes for foreign companies that wish to extract our resources with strict enforcement on what they do here not like they have it now backwards.

      and harper is pushing a sell out warning your political puppets know this and all for it. tell me they care lol

      exception green party exposing harpers vision Canada
      do your research speak out we will all be better off the Canadian way must not die because of a few people in power who are looking out for there own interests which are not to benefit the people of BC or Canada.
      just saying

      mark my words more and more of us are loosing ability to afford food and shelter
      and most are 1 pay stub away from it daily struggle is becoming the norm just like hong kong if you do not see this you have to much money and do not care anyway and are more than likely part of the problem.

      again just saying