International Block Buster

The median home price in Vancouver soared nearly 40% percent between mid 2015 and mid 2016. What happened? Vancouver is a nice place, but what could possibly explain the massive price increases that city has seen in recent years? (Spoiler alert: the answer is not that millions of California liberals rented U-Hauls and headed up Highway 101 after the presidential election.) As MoJo explains, Vancouver — like several other cities around the world — is seen as a safe place for international investors to park their money in uncertain times. And “for wealthy Chinese, Vancouver has emerged as the perfect ‘hedge city’ — scenic, cosmopolitan, with good schools, a long-standing Chinese community, and an undervalued (by global standards) real estate market where capital can be sheltered against mounting economic and political uncertainties back home … So popular is Vancouver among hedgers that local real estate firms send Mandarin-speaking recruiters to Chinese cities to entice buyers to take bus tours of Vancouver’s upscale neighborhoods.” Vancouver is a hotspot, but its story is not all that unique in the global economy. So if you live in a place with soaring real estate costs, it’s fair to ask: Is Your City Being Sold Off to Global Elites?

+ And a very interesting piece from the NYT from the other end of the home-buying spectrum: How Homeownership Became the Engine of American Inequality.

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