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This huge factor is drawing Chinese homebuyers to Canada
By Juwai, 18 October 2017
132,345 Chinese students were enrolled in Canadian schools and colleges as international students in 20161, up 9.9% compared with 2015.2
That increase made China the biggest source of international students in Canada, where they made up 31.9% of all international students last year.1
Education has long been a prime motivation for property investors from China to buy homes abroad, and Canada is one of their perennial favourites, as its world-class education system hold massive appeal for Chinese students and parents for several reasons.
In fact, according to our ‘China to Canada: International Home Buyer Insights’ joint report with Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, education is a key reason why Chinese real estate buyers are snapping up homes in Canadian cities like Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary. Here are a few reasons why.
Canada tops global education quality rankings
Canadian schools grabbed some of the highest scores in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s survey of global education standards – the Programme for International Student Assessment.3
Canada’s fifteen-year-olds got some of the best scores in OECD’s survey, which put them fourth out of the 70 countries in the survey for science and technology, and second in the world for reading standards.4
Canada’s education system also leads the world in education standards due to high government investment, rigorous, ongoing training for its teachers, tailoring of teaching styles to the needs of the country’s diverse ethnic base, and better pay and facilities.5
With Chinese being a huge stickler for top grades and quality, Canada’s education is certainly right up their alley.
Canadian education is more affordable and accessible
Canada’s three universities in Times Higher Educational Rankings6 plus their relatively cheap study costs compared to other nations, make attractive targets for Chinese students.
University tuition fees in Canada were 42% cheaper than in the US in 2016, on average, according to Unicurve.7
Canada’s colleges and universities are a big draw, but Canada’s education appeal extends much wider beyond just that.
For example, places in Canada’s secondary schools are seeing a huge increase in demand from Chinese families, in part due to lower costs, but also because Canadian universities require lower IELTS scores8 than other locations, such as the US and UK, so Chinese parents want their children in the Canadian system as soon as possible.
It’s factors like these that have driven sustained growth in Chinese students’ enrolment in Canadian education institutions over the past six years.
Appealing visa policies for students in Canada
Canada’s visa policies add an even more compelling facet for Chinese buyers and students alike.
Canada’s government updated its points-based visa rules in November 2015, giving graduates of Canadian universities 15 to 30 extra points when applying for Canadian Permanent Residency (PR)9, thus giving Chinese students even more incentive to study in Canada.
What’s more, Canadian visa rules also offer tax breaks on property purchases in some provinces, such as in the British Columbia (BC) province.
Home to Vancouver – one of the top picks for real estate buyers from China – international graduates from local universities in BC who qualify for a post-graduation work permit can be exempted from the local government’s foreign buyer taxes, thus opening up a cost-effective way for Chinese students and their families to invest in local real estate.10
Put education at the core of your product offering
With 83% of China’s HNW population keen to send their children overseas for their education11, which in turn drives them to look for homes overseas for their children, it’s clear to see that Canadian agents, brokers, and developers targeting the Chinese market must take steps to cater to Chinese buyers’ education aspirations. We share 4 pointers below to help you:
#1 Outlining the options
Detail local schools, colleges, and universities close to your featured properties. In fact, go for as much detail as possible because Chinese buyers will want to know about fee levels, class sizes, and curriculum – to name a few factors – while weighing their investment plans.
#2 Assisting with applications
Direct your client to agencies and officers who can assist with school applications, and if your client is touring the area, introduce them to school admission liaison teams so that they can look more closely at the education options.
#3 Verifying visa processes and entitlements
With so many perks attached to permanent residency visas and work permits, and with variation across regions, give your client that little bit extra by doing your homework on visa rules and entitlements. This way, they can get the full picture on what is required and what they are entitled to.
#4 Presenting the process
It’s hard for some Chinese buyers to understand overseas markets, so help them out by showing the stages of a property purchase and education application. Steps like these can be invaluable to a Chinese client and can not only win their trust, but also garner you potential referrals from them to their friends and relatives back in China.
Canada is already prominent in Chinese buyers’ sights, and with education resonating so strongly with Chinese investors’ aspirations, you need to put this front and center in your pitches.
Seeing that Chinese residential investment was worth $37.1 billion over the border in the US last year12, it’s simply an unmissable market, so be sure to put these factors and strategies into play to achieve better success with your Chinese buyers.
Sources: 1. Canada Immigrants: Canada International Students by Source Country 2016; 2. Canada Immigrant: Canada International Students by Source Country 2015; 3. OECD: PISA 2015 Results in Focus; 4. CBC: Canada’s 15-year-old students among best global performers in science, math; 5. Reuters: What we can learn from Canadians; 6. Times Higher Education: World University Rankings 2016-2017; 7. UniCurve: Comparing tuition fees by Country; 8. WSJ: Canada, eh? Chinese students flock to Canuck high schools; 9. Government of Canada: Notice to Express Entry candidates; 10. CTV News Canada: No foreign buyers tax for people with work permitsl 11. Hurun Report: Immigration and the Chinese HNWI 2015; 12. National Association of Realtors (NAR): 2017 Profile of International Activity in U.S. Residential Real Estate Report;
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