Seattle Sees Foreign Buyer Surge from Vancouver
The July 2016 announcement of British Columbia's 15 percent transfer tax on foreign buyers sent ripples through the Pacific Northwest's real estate market. Those ripples seem to be shifting into waves in Seattle's favor, however. In the following months many articles and blogs were released stating that Seattle has become the new Vancouver. The shift began immediately and Vancouver saw a year-over-year reduction in selling volume in the year 2016; and by year's end, the number of sales over $1 million CAD were 16 percent lower than 2015 [source].
Meanwhile, a blog published on the Realogics Sotheby's International Realty (RSIR) website reported that, "The numbers of Chinese immigrants to Seattle have been growing in recent years. Figures from Migration Policy Institute (MPI) show that from 2011 through 2015, King County welcomed 52,600 new resident immigrants from China." These arrivals corresponded with sales in some of the Seattle Eastside's neighborhoods that are popular with Chinese buyers. The shift from Vancouver buying to Seattle buying has happened quickly and dramatically. Home values in Seattle are still on the rise and Chinese wealth-reporting group Hurun reversed findings from 2015 that showed Vancouver as third-ranked destination for wealthy Chinese immigrants and Seattle ranked fifth; and now data from findings in 2017 show Seattle is ranked third and Vancouver shrank to sixth place.
RSIR Owner and CEO, Dean Jones, "Spotted a plausible shift of overseas buyers from Vancouver to Seattle long ago, as documented in Jones' East Meets West video released in April 2015." To see a full timeline of overseas-buyers shifting trends, please visit the RSIR blog post, The Seattle Pivot Begins.