Toronto draws Chinese cash into commercial property

Business | 10 Apr 2019 4:09 pm

Chinese investment in Vancouver commercial property from companies such as Anbang Insurance Group has slumped amid a flood of regulations, with investors looking to Toronto instead, Bloomberg reports.

Asian investments in Vancouver fell to almost C$350 million (HK$2.05 trillion) in 2018, a drop from the C$1 billion-plus that hit the market in each of the two prior years, according to data from realtor CBRE.

In contrast, Toronto took in C$526 million of Asian investment last year, up slightly from 2017, including a C$256 million purchase of an office building by Chinese private investor Tigra Vista.

In Vancouver, Asian investment dropped off even more last year due in part to a series of new taxes instituted by the government, including a speculation and wealth tax on homes.

“You have policy changes on a snap, on a whim,” said David Ho, executive vice president at CBRE. “Investors typically look at stability in a market and this is not stability.”

In total, Asian capital flows are projected to take up less than 20 percent of Vancouver’s commercial market, said CBRE broker Tony Quattrin, compared to over 25 percent in the past three years. Last month, Blackstone Group and Hudson Pacific Properties teamed up to buy Anbang-owned Bentall Centre in Vancouver.

The Chinese firm has been ramping up efforts to offload assets after being temporarily seized by the nation’s regulator.


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