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Asian real estate summit seeks to remove investment barriers

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s no secret investment from Asia fuels our real estate market and now a meeting is underway in Vancouver bringing together real estate professionals from across North America and the Pacific Rim.

However, organizers of the North American Business and Real Estate Investment Summit question suggestions overseas investment is making our region unaffordable.

“The city has become very expensive, there’s no doubt.  But I’m selling a property, $549,000, in Maple Ridge, a 3,000-4,000 square foot house.  Do you think it’s affordable?” asks Tina Mak, president of the Vancouver chapter of the Asian Real Estate Association of America.

“People, they’re not willing to move out [to the suburbs], because they’re still living in the world that they want to live in the city.”

Mak also worries about the recent tightening of immigration rules and warns now is not the time for Canada to be throwing up roadblocks to foreign money.

“I have people complain and talk about now wanting to come to Canada, [they say] it’s like trying to win a lottery ticket,” adds Mak.

“So, we cannot stop being an immigrant country.  I mean, [the] US is opening for immigration and we’re closing up?  I don’t get that.”

She also points out investing in real estate is not just a Chinese phenomenon.

Mak explains while the Chinese prefer to buy residential properties, South Korea and Singapore actually dominate foreign investment in local commercial listings.

The summit continues today at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Downtown Vancouver.