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Could the arrest of Huawei's CFO affect Vancouver's real estate market?

Last Updated Dec 12, 2018 at 7:38 am PDT

FILE - A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, June 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward

Report quotes industry analyst: Chinese migrants may 'consider shifting migration patterns to more friendly climates'

SFU researcher not predicting Meng's arrest will directly lead to decline in sales, but may have caused concern

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Despite her release on bail, the arrest of Huawei’s CFO could have repercussions in Vancouver. Some experts say it likely sent a message to Chinese investors, which could have a chilling effect on the real estate market.

According to global business journal Barron’s, Meng Wanzhou’s arrest could kick off a decline in foreign cash coming into the real estate market. The report quotes an industry analyst as saying Chinese migrants may “consider shifting migration patterns to more friendly climates.”

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A local researcher argues this case is an example of why we need stricter rules. SFU’s Andy Yan has been researching the impact of Chinese money on Vancouver real estate.

Yan isn’t predicting Meng’s arrest will lead directly to a decline in sales, but admits it will have caused some concern for some would-be foreign buyers. That’s because, he says, the move signals that Canada will arrest people and adhere to international treaties, such as the extradition treaty it has with the U.S.

“They will do this to anyone, when asked, because it’s what they are obliged by in international treaty.”

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“I think it’s a message not only to communities abroad, but even our community — for us, in Vancouver — of a statement of who we are,” Yan added.

At minimum, he thinks the case tells the world something about how Canada does business. “There is this ongoing relationship that Canada does have with other countries … it will enforce its international obligations.”

He says Canada is a country where the rule of law and due process are respected and that’s the message being sent with Meng’s arrest.

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Meng’s family owns two Vancouver homes — one in Shaugnessy and another in Dunbar. It was revealed in court those houses are worth a combined $30 million and mortgaged to the tune of $7.5 million.