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Seattle to benefit from end of Canadian immigration program

High-end real estate is often snatched up by wealthy immigrants

SEATTLE (NEWS1130) – Seattle could benefit from the Canadian government’s decision to put an end to the immigrant investor program. The initiative had allowed millionaires to lend the government $800,000 for five years in exchange for permanent residency.

Seattle realtors believe wealthy foreigners could very well opt to park their money in the Emerald City.

Becky Lee is a broker with Seattle’s Realogic Sotheby’s Realty and has spent over 30 years in the business.

She expects rich Chinese nationals, who would have normally come to Vancouver looking to plunk down money on real estate, to now consider Seattle.

“Some of them will come to Seattle, because we are close to each other, our climates are similar, and our property is much cheaper than yours and rentals are much higher than yours,” she explains.

She points out being able to take out residency in countries such as Canada or the US is very important for wealthy Chinese nationals.

“The Chinese government is very heavy-handed. Chinese nationals are not allowed to own property. Their property reverts back to the government after 70 years. There are pollution problems and poor living conditions. Once they have money, they travel to the west coast of North America. It’s heaven to them.”

The US has a similar immigration investment program, whereby foreigners who invest at least $500,000 are issued a green card.

Lee admits one thing Seattle doesn’t have is a suburb like Richmond with its wide variety of Chinese shops and cuisine.