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Hong Kongers Look to Toronto, Vancouver as Protests Continue

Wealthy Hong Kongers looking to move to Toronto and Vancouver as Anti-Govt protests continue. The 2019 Hong Kong protests are an ongoing series of demonstrations in Hong Kong, China, which began with the aim to oppose the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill proposed by the Hong Kong government.

As mass protests continue in Hong Kong, real estate brokers in Canada and the U.K. are fielding a flood of inquiries from investors in the former British colony who are eager to get out, a report in the Financial Post said.

Dan Scarrow, president of Macdonald Real Estate Group in Vancouver, said many of his Chinese agents saw an uptick in interest for both sales and rentals this month from Hong Kong. One of his agents is putting off her planned retirement this year to capitalise on the opportunity, the report added.

A drop in residential property prices is making some Canadian cities attractive. Some other Hong Kongers are looking to move to the U.K, which itself sees specific Brexit related issues, making Canada the preferred destination.

Experts have said that people have begun scouting for properties in cities including Toronto, Vancouver and London as the unease surrounding Hong Kong’s political future grows amid China’s increasing influence.

“Hong Kong money could become a major source of capital,” David Ho, a broker at CBRE Ltd who was quoted on the FP article said. He deals with Asian investments. “People are shocked, given Hong Kong was always branded as a stable, rule-of-law financial hub, and now want to move their capital to other cities to mitigate the risk and also to look for other homes.” He added.

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Vancouver is an appealing choice for many Hong Kong buyers and has seen housing prices fall in the previous year. It could also benefit from the new entrants.

“Changes in Vancouver tax laws have pushed property prices lower since 2018, Knight Frank LLP said in a report, adding that investors will also benefit from currency-adjusted discounts of 17 per cent over the last year. Luxury homes were hit hardest by property tax changes causing the price of mansions to fall in the last few months leading to more incentives for buyers. With the city being home to a large Asian population,”

Toronto is also emerging as a popular choice for commercial and residential property investors due to the strength of its housing market. Many of the Hong Kongers looking to move are young and want a location where they can find jobs in the technology or financial services sector, making Toronto a perfect fit.

London too is seeing some interest from Hong Kongers looking for a new home.

“Thanks to uncertainties around Brexit, including a weak pound and lower prices, London offers the greatest residential price discounts relative to the other major markets reviewed by Knight Frank. Prime residential costs in London are 28 per cent lower for Hong Kong buyers than they were five years ago,” the FP article said.