Vancouver realtor explains why newcomers from Hong Kong, other Asian cities can afford Canadian homes

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      Vancouver realtor Winfield Yan says locals shouldn’t be surprised about one thing regarding people who are moving here from Hong Kong.

      It doesn’t matter whether they’re Canadian expatriates returning for good or new immigrants from the former British colony, especially if they are homeowners in the special administrative region of China.

      Yan notes that they are well positioned to buy property in Vancouver or anywhere else in Canada.

      “Hong Kong is very expensive. So if they sell their homes, they should be able to buy some very, very nice homes in Vancouver,” Yan told the Straight in a phone interview.

      In June this year, the Canadian and Hong Kong offices of the CBRE Group, Inc. released their mother company’s “Global Living Report 2020”.

      In the report, the Dallas-based global real-estate-services and investment firm profiled the residential markets of 39 global cities.

      Five of the top 10 most expensive cities are in Asia, with Hong Kong at the number-one position.

      Using American dollars, the CBRE report states that the average property price in the Chinese city is $1,254,442.

      To complete the top five, also in U.S. funds, is Munich in second place with $1 million, Singapore at $915,601, Shanghai with $905,834, and Shenzhen at $783,855.

      Sixth place is Beijing, at $763,498; Vancouver comes seventh at $754,617; Los Angeles weighs in at $717,583; Paris makes ninth with $650,555; and New York takes 10th spot with $649,026.

      London, at $624,225, and Toronto, with a $617,942 price, didn’t make the top 10 cut but came in 11th and 12th, respectively.

      Hong Kong is also the third most expensive places to rent.

      The CBRE report stated that the average monthly rent in the Chinese city is $2,682.

      The report lists the Top 10 most expensive cities to rent as follows: New York, $2,870; Abu Dhabi, $2,838; Hong Kong, $2,682; Singapore, $2,604; Los Angeles, $2,310; Dublin, $2,260; Jeddah, $2,212; Dubai, $2,038; London, $1,887; and Riyadh, $1,759.

      Vancouver ranks 21st in the list of 39 global cities with an average monthly rent of $1,107.

      The Straight spoke with Yan back in 2014 following the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong called the Umbrella Revolution.

      During that time, Yan was helping Canadian expatriates of Hong Kong origins with residential purchases as they were intending to settle back in Canada because of the political situation in the Asian city.

      China critics say Beijing is tightening its grip on the city.

      It has been a year since the Chinese government imposed a national security law on Hong Kong, on June 30, 2020.

      The law punishes crimes like secession and collusion with foreign forces with up to life imprisonment.

      Yan and his family moved from the former British colony to Canada in 1970 when he was a boy. He’s deeply connected with the local Hong Kong community.

      Speaking now, Yan said that he knows of a family from Hong Kong who arrived in Vancouver on July 1 this year, and they are settling here for good.

      There are two siblings in this family, and one has been living in Vancouver for some time. The other sibling, who was previously based in Hong Kong, has a condo property in Vancouver that has been rented out. This latter sibling brought her parents with her to Canada on July 1.

      “The parents have the money, so they would decide to maybe buy a house, and all of them can live in the house together because the condo she bought was two bedrooms,” Yan said.