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Foreigners Quickly Scooping Up some of Canada’s Hottest (and Most Expensive) Properties

22 April 2013

What do you do if you’re a Syrian, Egyptian, or European with millions and you want to keep it safe? You choose Canada’s softening real estate market to park it in! That is at least, according to Sotehby’s International Realty.

The real estate agency says that they’ve seen greatly increasing numbers over the last several months in “very significant transactions” in areas such as Oakville and North Toronto. These areas are largely envied by Europeans who wanted to make the move overseas, and first thought that the U.S. would make a prime destination. After visiting Canada though, or even just learning more about our country, they then fall in love with it and see that it’s better to live over here than over there, according to Ross McCredie, CEO of Sotheby’s.

Meanwhile, the Westmount neighbourhood in Montreal, a very affluent one at that, has seen a large increase in the number of Syrians and Egyptians that want to live in Canada, and that have millions of dollars to do it with. These refugees, just like those from Europe, are not only seeking a safe haven for their cash, but for their families too.

Sotheby’s Toronto office alone has arranged more international deals in the last 18 months than they’ve done in the last 6 years, says real estate agent, Andy Taylor, of Sotheby’s.

He also says that while these practices may be a boost for the Canadian housing market, it can actually make things more difficult for the agent. This is because, seeking privacy and exclusivity, these foreign clients want deals that often aren’t advertised on MLS.

Taylor says, “The lack of inventory is a big problem in the high-end market,” and that agents typically need to pound the pavement looking for those big deals and big listings themselves. He also stated that sometimes these deals are made through a corporate purchase, also limiting who has access to them.

The last time it looked as though our housing market might start to cool, foreign investors from China were heavily relied upon, especially in areas such as Vancouver where prices were high and interest slowly disappeared. Now are we going to start relying on Europeans, Syrians, and Egyptians?

With tens of millions of dollars at their disposal, and the opportunity to offer a refuge and safe haven for these buyers when they need to leave their own homeland, it seems as though it’s a case of everyone winning, doesn’t it?

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