West Vancouver house prices stumble as Beijing hails currency crackdown a success

By Amy Chen

West Vancouver house prices fell in August as China’s government declared its crackdown on illegal foreign currency outflow a success.

Metro Vancouver’s most expensive community’s benchmark price dropped by 4.8% overall to $1,346,400 compared to August 2016[1]REBGV Stats Package August 2017, as tight currency controls turned China’s capital flows positive in the first half of 2017, reversing two years of record outflows[2]https://www.ft.com/content/5e692f82-7b45-11e7-9108-edda0bcbc928.

The controls seems to have hit hard West Vancouver single family detached house prices, already reeling from the foreign buyer tax which came to effect on August 2, 2016, sending them tumbling 6.3% year-over-year to $3,189,500.

Market watchers have been waiting for the statistics from August 2017 to compare against August 2016 – the first full month affected by the foreign buyer tax – to obtain a fair year-over-year comparison.

Foreign buyers accounted for nearly a quarter of the value of the housing market prior to the foreign buyer tax coming into force.[3]Foreigners bought almost 24 per cent of West Vancouver real estate.

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) tried to downplay the news calling the market “balanced”.

“Detached homes have entered a balanced market,” Jill Oudil, REBGV president said. “This means there’s less upward pressure on prices and that buyers have more selection to choose from and more time to make their decisions.”

Meanwhile, the wealthy property developers from China are now looking closer to home amid the currency crackdown, with mergers and acquisitions in the country’s real estate sector hitting a new high of 94 billion yuan (US$13.98 billion) in the the second quarter of 2017[4]http://www.scmp.com/business/article/2105838/chinas-property-investors-target-domestic-mas-amid-capital-curbs.

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