The Vancouver housing market is expecting a boost from the Hong Kong crisis over the planned extradition bill to China.
If protests worsen and if the extradition bill is ultimately passed, a substantial number of the estimated 300,000 Canadians currently living in Hong Kong could easily make a quick return to Canada, especially to Metro Vancouver.
The potential influx could prompt a resurgence in the Metro Vancouver housing market. In fact, within just the last few weeks, there has been a visible increase in interest in local homes from Hong Kong buyers.
As the potential buyers from Hong Kong are Canadian citizens, and for the most part dual citizens of Canada and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), they are exempt from the foreign buyers’ tax and will not be subject to the new speculation and vacancy tax that normally affects overseas property investors.
Housing is in high demand in Hong Kong, and as a result Canadian homeowners there could theoretically sell their property quickly and move their capital to the Vancouver housing market to buy real estate.
The proposed extradition bill amounts to the early disintegration of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle that provides Hong Kong with limited autonomy, separate from Mainland China and the Communist Party in Beijing. This system of governance, lasting for 50 years until 2047, was secured by the British government as a condition of Hong Kong’s 1997 handover to China.
Anyone in Hong Kong – local citizens and visitors – accused of committing a crime by the Chinese government could be sent to Mainland China to face trial under Chinese law, which is known for its arbitrary nature – used as a tool to control political dissent.
Due to the public uproar, the Hong Kong government made a decision earlier this week to temporarily pause its work towards the passing of the extradition bill, which was expected to go through its final reading this month. But the proposed law is far from dead, with political analysts fully expecting the bill to make a return later this year.
It seems likely that many will leave Hong Kong to avoid the proposed extradition bill, and the Vancouver housing market will be one of the main destinations.