This article by Thinkpol has spread very quickly across social networks for all of the wrong reasons. While accessibility into the housing market and affordability is clearly a major problem in Vancouver, “developer Onni is pre-selling the upcoming 1335 Howe condominium at a Hong Kong fair for prices “cheaper than if bought in Canada,” while boasting about pricing ordinary Canadians out of the housing market.”
You can’t make this stuff up, and the optics for locals are dismissive and appalling. A FaceBook page heralded “Every buyer who has successfully purchased the Onni project at a fair this weekend has a special discount, which is cheaper than buying in Canada. Many people in Hong Kong feel that the property market is not a product that can be bought by ordinary people, and that Canada, Vancouver or Toronto, has now become the preferred choice for many Hong Kong people”.
You can take a look at the internet listing for this new development here. Onni has previously been accused of selling presale units overseas prior to any launch for local buyers. While there is now a foreign buyers’ tax , it does not apply to pre-built condo units, meaning that the units can be flipped prior to occupancy without paying the foreign buyer’s tax.
Meanwhile in China the South China Morning Post reports that five cities in China have implemented policies to reduce housing speculation and moderate a hot housing market. These measures include preventing the sale of apartments for up to three years, as well as restricting the number of properties one person can own. In one case any apartment sale must be approved by the local Governmental Authority. Four of these cities are provincial capitals with populations of over six million people each. While there are solid administrative costs with policy focused upon prohibiting early sales, China is trying to cool the housing market and maintain affordability. Is it time for stronger measures in the Metro Vancouver market as well?