British Columbia

Low dollar enticing American property buyers in B.C., real estate agents say

American buyers enticed by the low Canadian dollar are scooping up B.C. properties, according to several luxury market real estate agents.

Real estate agents say anecdotal resurgence of American buyers

Malcolm Hansam, a luxury real estate agent, says he's noticed more American buyers who are interested in B.C. properties. (CBC)

American buyers enticed by the low Canadian dollar are scooping up B.C. properties, according to several luxury market real estate agents. 

Jonathan Cooper, vice-president of operations for the Macdonald Realty Group, says he has anecdotally seen a resurgence of Americans interested in Vancouver homes. 

"There was activity from all nationalities around the Olympics, but especially because of our proximity to Washington state, a lot of Americans were here at that time... talked to agents, went to open houses," he says. 

"They're high net-worth families who have heard about Vancouver, love how beautiful it is ... and yeah, it's a second home for vacation purposes."

And now they're coming back, said Malcolm Hasman, another real estate agent based in Vancouver. 

"Most of the Americans buying are using the property for two to three months a year for the summer months and coming during the winter to go to Whistler ... that market is increasing," he said. 

"This year has been a very good year if you look at January, February, March ... where we are in April ... I can tell you my luxury market is having one of its best years in the last 10 years."

Different rules for foreign buyers

Still, Cooper says foreign buyers play by different rules.

"American or other offshore buyers need to make sure the funds for the down payment are on shore or within a Canadian bank 30 days before closing which isn't a requirement Canadians face," he says.

However for property owners putting their homes on the market, the takeaway is that whether it's an American buyer or a local, they need to appeal to a wide market. 

"You just simply don't know if your buyers are going to be coming in from the United States, coming in from Asia."

With files from Tamara Baluja and Jeff Harrington

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