When it comes to high-end homes on Vancouver Island, realtors are looking overseas for high-end clients.
Alex Burns, a realtor with Re/Max and Victoria Homes, recently hosted a swanky open house for a $5-million Brookleigh Road property in Saanich, bringing in top realtors from West Vancouver to view the seven-acre estate on behalf of prospective international buyers.
“We flew them in by helicopter and picked them up by limousine from the airport, drove them to the home where we had a big brunch,” said Burns. “We had a pianist and we put on a small, estate tour for these agents.
“We have a hub connection directly in parts of China and Middle Eastern countries that are involved in facilitating real estate relocation. We invited over these top agents because they’re going to forward this particular property to investors or people looking to move to Canada.”
The open house also included a tour of Greater Victoria, taking in the spa, wine tasting and golf at the Bear Mountain Golf and Country Club, followed by sightseeing in Downtown Victoria, an exquisite dinner and a sunset flight back home from the Inner Harbour.
Burns said there’s a trend of Vancouver Island homeowners – particularly ones with expensive properties – looking outside the Island for high net worth clients. But while international buyers were the target audience for this property, he said they make up a fraction of overall home sales in Greater Victoria.
“Our market has, out of the entire buying population, probably one per cent foreign investment,” said Burns. “If 100 houses sell, one person outside of Canada is buying a house in Victoria.
“The difference is, they’re buying the higher-end stuff, so you’re going to see more of an impact by foreign investment in upscale neighbourhoods because that’s the market they’re buying in. There aren’t a lot of local purchasers looking to spend $5 million on homes, so we had to look outside the city.”
Burns said the open house generated “significant interest” in the Brookleigh Road estate, adding that the agents who came out for the tour were impressed by the work put into showing them around the Island.
“We blew them away,” he said. “We were quite humbled because we thought this was something they’d have experienced before, and we had so many compliments. They were all really stunned by the event that we did.”
Based on the success of the open house, Burns said they are working on setting up similar events for other high-end properties on the Island.
“We plan on doing this more often.”