Montreal is now attracting more interest than Vancouver on China’s most popular international property website, Juwai.com.
So far this year, there have been more searches for Montreal on the site than for any other Canadian city except Toronto, according to a report released by Juwai.com.
It’s a change that appears to have taken place in recent months — in 2016, Montreal ranked third, after Vancouver, among Canadian cities searched for on the site.
That increase in searches comes as the number of Chinese buyers in Montreal is growing.
“We’re feeling it for sure,” said Angela Langtry, a real-estate broker at Century 21 Immo-Plus.
She believes that taxes on foreign buyers in Vancouver and Toronto are behind the growth, she said.
It’s not just people from China, Langtry said. She’s also seeing a large number of buyers coming from the United States.
“We’re feeling a surge in foreign buyers,” Langtry said. “All eyes are on Montreal. People are hearing about the affordability of it.”
The number of foreign buyers in the region rose 40 per cent between January and April, when compared with the year-earlier period, according to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
The share of those buyers coming from China is increasing even faster, rising from 10 per cent during the first three months of 2016 to 17 per cent during that period this year, a 70-per-cent increase.
“The strongest growth was recorded in the number of buyers from China. This suggested a possible slight shift in demand from Vancouver to Montreal after the introduction of the foreign buyers tax on housing in Vancouver,” according to a report issued by the CMHC this month.
Still, foreign buyers are playing a relatively small role in Montreal’s residential property market — even with those large percentage increases. Foreign buyers were involved in fewer than two per cent of all property transactions in the Montreal region between January and April, making 235 purchases.
Jacob Serebrin, Montreal Gazette