Are you pushing Chinese buyers away with your real estate marketing efforts?

Principal Consultant , David Allison Inc.
  • Nov. 1, 2011

There’s no doubt that demand from Chinese investors is the strongest it’s ever been in Canada. In Vancouver, Chinese demand pushed the average price of a home up 12% in 2010 and that number is expected to rise another 3% this year, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. We’d be fools not to pursue this market! But are we in fact pushing away prospects by being too Asian-friendly? Where do we draw the line when it comes to ‘lucky lanterns’ and auspicious number eights?

I remember participating in a focus group a few months back that included a handful of Mainland Chinese buyers. All sorts of insights came to the fore in this meeting – most notably, the notion of an “Asian ghetto”. To them, a home with too many Chinese influences in a community made up entirely of Chinese businesses was like segregation.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

If I moved to Beijing and all anyone tried to sell me was maple syrup, beaver figurines and paintings of snow-capped peaks, I’d run!

Lay off the red and gold colour schemes.

Image credit: Jason Schneid

Sure, new rules in China make it harder to own property there. But out of all the places in the world these buyers could choose to live, they’re choosing here. From March 2010 to March 2011, Chinese buyers accounted for 23 per cent of international sales in Canada, according to the National Association of Realtors.

And no wonder. We’ve got a lot to celebrate in Canada – good schools, beautiful scenery, moderate weather (ok, maybe that’s more of a Vancouver thing). People (from anywhere) are moving here because of what we have, not because of what they left behind.

It all comes back to marketing journalism – tell your stories, tell them well and make sure you’re being inviting to everyone and making things easy. Be sensitive, ask questions, provide information in an easy to consume format, but lay off the lucky dragons and red/gold colour schemes. You want round pegs in round holes and square pegs in square holes. Best way to do that is to assess your situation, explore the facts and sell the truth.



David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting…

Read more

David Allison works with executive teams in real estate development and other industries to craft the early-stage vision and brand for projects of all kinds. He crystallizes the most interesting…

Read more




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