These Vancouver Homes Sold For Millions In 2011 And Have Been Vacant And Rotting Since: Here's Why

Tyler Durden's picture

Five years ago, in July of 2011, the house at 4182 West 8th Avenue in Vancouver in sold for $4.6 million. It now rests vacant, abandoned and rotting.


Six years ago this $6.2-million Point Grey home boasted unobstructed vistas of the North Shore mountains, English Bay and Vancouver’s skyline. A park sits across a quiet street. The home represents everything a family could aspire to.

As the National Post reports, it too is vacant and rotting. Windows have been left open and debris sits in the yard. Like a symbol of futility, a June 2015 City of Vancouver “untidy-premises” order remains pinned to the door.


The two formerly multi-million mansions devolving to derelict status is not the only thing they share in common: a second uniting feature is what they were meant to become once they were purchased half a decade ago - a store of wealth to Chinese investors eager to park "hot money" outside of their native country, and bid up any Canadian real estate they could get their hands on.

And then the investors disappeared.

The Point Grey property stopped functioning as a home and became a storage of wealth six years ago, according to property documents and a neighbour’s account.

It was well-cared for in 2010 when it was sold to an investor. Since then it has been flipped through a property transfer in a Beijing law office and left unoccupied.

Current owners of the other vacant property residing on the 4100-block 8th Avenue West home are Huai Can Ren and Xue Pei Sun. They bought the home from Wei Min Zhang in July 2011 for $4.6 million. 

The couple’s occupations were both listed as "business person." Wei Min Zhang had bought the home in July 2010 for $3.35 million.

Since the purchase, the current "owners" have not been seen.

City hall is currently trying to estimate how many Vancouver homes are vacant. And these online communities are anecdotally gathering photo evidence and coming to conclusions that offshore investment is to blame.

In other words, the "Chinese."

“That is what is driving everything,” said Caroline Adderson, whose website, Vancouver Vanishes, has over 8,000 followers. “It is sickening on all levels."

City of Vancouver spokesman Tobin Postma said a 2015 order to clean up the property was “remedied.” However the order remains pinned to the property and messy conditions appear to continue, according to a reporter’s observations Wednesday.


Postma said city departments respond to safety and mess complaints at vacant homes and issue cleanup orders in warranted cases.


If owners don’t respond, the city will clean up and issue a bill. In 2014, there were 213 actions taken against 85 properties, Postma said.

Huai Can Ren and Xue Pei Sun are also owners of a $3.57-million Arbutus Ridge home in the 2300-block 21st Avenue West, records show.

The home also appears to be unoccupied: on Wednesday, a Postmedia reporter found that the windows were shuttered, a phone book was left on the doorstep and a mailbox was stuffed with letters. No one answered the door and the home’s external condition seemed degraded.

Huai Can Ren, then listed as “businessman,” and Xue Pei Sun, as “homemaker,” bought the home in 2006 for $1.75 million from transferees Zhaohong Su and Xin Li.

In transfer documents, Xin Li was listed as lawyer for Su, who had bought the home in 2005 for $778,000.

Needless to say the locals are furious with this increasing incidence of derelict houses, which destroy neighborhood character. They are also confused how this is allowed to go on.

And in case it is unclear what "this", what is happening is quite simple:

  1. Chinese investors smuggled out millions in embezzled cash, hot money or perfectly legal funds, bypassing the $50,000/year limit in legal capital outflows.
  2. They make "all cash" purchases, usually sight unseen, using third parties intermediaries to preserve their anonymity, or directly in perso, in cities like Vancouver, New York, London or San Francisco.
  3. The house becomes a new "Swiss bank account", providing the promise of an anonymous store of value and retaining the cash equivalent value of the original capital outflow.
  4. Then the owners disappear, never to be heard from or seen again.

As more Chinese scramble to engage and repeat if only the first three steps, the price of local housing, which is merely a store of value to price indiscriminate foreign buyers, soars while it makes home purchases for the domestic population prohibitively expensive and virtually impossible.

The end result, in the case of Vancouver, is this:


We, and the local residents of Vancouver wonder, "how much longer will such money laundering fraud be permitted?"

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salvadordaly's picture

If the taxes are being paid, they do not give a shit! Untill they are not, nothing will change! Period.....

buzzsaw99's picture

if the taxes are being paid they have no complaint whatsoever. paying taxes on $4.6M for that dump? ha ha

Soul Glow's picture

The housing market looks like the underlying asset/liability (the home whether being owned or on a loan from a bank) has hyperinflated.  I know, that sounds crazy, people think only fiat money can hyperinflate, but anything can form a bubble, at which point the value has hyperinflated.

Think of it this way - when the bubble pops no one can sell.  The asset/liability's price is huge, yet someone it has no value.

Handful of Dust's picture

They are not paying taxes that's part of the problem I read. The Canadian tax authority has compiled a list of EVERY foreign owned house in western Canada now I read. But they did not say what action they shall take. I guess it depends how strong Canada's NAR lobby is ... and/or how weak Canadian politicians are.

buzzsaw99's picture

if the taxes are not paid they will put a lien against it and after whatever time period the law says they will sell it at auction for unpaid taxes and bills.

NoDebt's picture

Urban blight for the rich.  You have to respect the irony.

Scooby Dooby Doo's picture

Traveling ghost cities from China to Vankoover!

Deathrips's picture

Currency going down vs usd means they print more.



giovanni_f's picture

What's the moral difference between Chinese driving RA prices in Canada/Usa to insane levels on the one hand and an army of american/canadian pensioners or "investors" driving the prices high in Costa Rica/Ecuador/Argentina/Uruguay on the other? In both cases RA becomes unavailable to the locals. It is just fair that it happens to the so-called westerners so they can see now how it feels.

y3maxx's picture

British Columbia, led by Vancouver/Hollywood North, is safe compared to LA going Methane & San Onofre Nuclear.

Automatic Choke's picture

There are a lot of angry comments on this thread, many about property taxes, about what you own when you "own" a home.
We can argue till we're all blue in the face (and we're likely to, knowing us)....

....but, this is really one more example of what happens when governments impose rules...the unintended consequences screw


in this case, they try to keep all transactions "honest" by some obscure measure, which forces foreign folks with money to launder to play this silly property game, which ultimately ends up taking perfecty fine middle-class real-estate and blowing the price through the roof and taking it off the market....and screwing the neighbors at the same time.  a messy yard next door.   nobody to borrow a quart of tequila from at 11pm.  weedwhacker nightmare.  nobody to gossip with over the back fence.  neighbors are part of our life, and a neighborhood with 20% empty "investment" homes is really fucked up.


wouldn't it have been better to let those crooks with their yen to launder just buy stocks?   gold?   dollars?   potatoes?   when you squeeze jello, it doesn't compress, it squirts out someplace wrong.


(p.s.   for those of you who didn't get it, this was a libertarian rant.    /rantoff)


(edit again:    on a completely different topic, haven't wee seen this sort of shit many times in the past?    the interest rates make it attractive to pick up nickels in front of moving garbage trucks, and things get out of whack with a carry trade.  money floats across the oceans.  japanese investors start looking for BIG FUCKING INVESTMENTS to bury their $$ in, such as LA movie studios, hotel chains, etc.  then things gravitate back towards equilibrium, and they go broke, liquidating a dime on the dollar.  just a nice way to harvest the foam off the top of the imbalance.  c'mon, i'm a wall street outsider who lurks here....some of you experts chime in and analyze this.)



NidStyles's picture

The main fault of your post is that there is no such thing as government there. It's just people trying to write rules for others and take advantage of the free money spigot.

Governments can not exist in multi-culturalism, because they have no reason to coexist or work towards a positive goal. It ends up devolving into a free for all to establish a free money spigot, and then just a fight over who gets to control it.



CheapBastard's picture

<< What's the moral difference between Chinese driving RA prices in Canada/Usa to insane levels on the one hand and an army of american/canadian pensioners or "investors" driving the prices high in Costa Rica/Ecuador/Argentina/Uruguay on the other? >>


There's a Big Difference. For one thing, much of this money flooding out of China is embezzled money. Pensioners are not embezzlers.

Some of this is coming to light in divorce suits up there in Canada when the wife sues the hubsband for divorce when he sneaks off with a younger hot Asian babe, and the juicy financial details come to light. The judges have been awarding the RE to the wife when the husband fails to provide a legitimate source.






Stuck on Zero's picture

Just remember. The ultra wealthy never spend their own money. It's someone elses money.

Son of Loki's picture
Cash buys and illicit money: Federal audit probes Vancouver’s real estate industry for money-laundering


My guess is nothing will be done similar to zero being done in the USA about this. Despite the legitimacy, too many realtors, bankers, etc are pocketing millions in commissions, bonuses, etc ... while the little peeple (the locals) are essentially locked out with their local, legitimate but meager wages.

frankly scarlet's picture

Loki, Yes not only does the local system make cash off of handling the sales but China is the "enemy" so helping bleed investment/cash is all good.

SmittyinLA's picture

Hey I live in LA near the leak, it's nothing compared to burbank or East LA air.

Backin2006's picture

It's the market, baby. Actually, the owners are the mugs. They have purchased an overvalued asset which is now losing value thanks to mother nature and taxes. It is bastard child of a pointless decades-long exchange between Asia and North America of worthless plastic trinkets and worthless currency. 

RaceToTheBottom's picture

So it drops 50%?  They don't care.  Their money has been laundered and is out of China.

Son of Loki's picture

Exactly. Looted money has different qualities then earned money.

CuttingEdge's picture

At least the owners made a killing (in Yuan terms) in recent weeks.

Here's a thought:

If the top 0.01% of the Chinese are buying bolt-holes in North America ahead of an impending collapse, that's fair enough. However, if the 0.1% of North Americans are buying land in New Zealand et al for the same reason, maybe the Chinese have no clue how perilous things could become over the Pacific, probably not a million light years after the S truly HTF in their own country.

Spitzer's picture

Yeah and I am going to laugh my ass off when all these Asian creditor nations sell all of their western debt to bail themselves out. And all of this western money that is sitting very still in debt, will hit the forex markets like a tsunami. And places like Vancouver will be like Japan in 1989.

You will never see these property values again. Ever. Did tulips recover ? Did Japan RE ? nope

pitz's picture

Its America that needs the bailout.  Not China.  The  Asian "creditor  nations" are in a position of strength this time around.

Government needs you to pay taxes's picture

This is a bit of a fallacy.  China did QE like it was a competition they intended to win.  Sure, they have 3 trillion in Fx reserves, but that's down from 4 trillion less than 1 year ago.  Against this fx stack is upward of 40 trillion in debt, of which people guess as many as 5 trillion is nwo non performing.  When the fiat ponzi blows, China's gonna blow the highest.  They dont have the nigger problem the US does, so they may be able to better control the shituation . . .

pitz's picture

First of all, racism isn't nice. 

Secondly, China is diversifying out of Treasuries as a show of domestic strength.  Not of weakness.  And the debt in China is in Yuan, not USD$.  So its deflation is highly supportive of the Yuan. 


Son of Loki's picture

And then there's the investors in Calgary:


Home sales and prices to fall even further in 2016, Calgary Real Estate Board projects.................................... ... and this ... Calgary home sales plunge 26% in 2015, prices fall 2.6% compared to year prior................................................
Curiously_Crazy's picture

Don't you worry - they are, and have been, buying up big here (Australia). Ever since the Labor party (the supposed 'for the people/working class' party) relaxed rules on foreign ownership of property.

It was one way to keep the bubble going I guess - and it's worked. For now. Average house price in Sydney is near on a million bucks.. yep you read that right. That's an *average* among the 4.5 million odd people that live there.

SilverDOG's picture

Causation is same same same.

Bank bank bank Bank, Bank bank bank Bank, Bankitty bank--- Bankitty bank.

thinkmoretalkless's picture

Morality is not a part of human nature

cayman's picture

I am convinced that morality is as *natural* as it gets in humans. Immorality is the unnatural parasitic behavior that results when human nature is coerced by the force of a ruler/government.  Would you consider reading The Virtue of Selfishness?  It's only 140p, and chapter 1 makes this point irrefutably in only 35p.  I've bought cases of his book and have given it to many of the best minds I know, and I have yet to find a single person who can argue against it.  Absent coersion, morality is *exactly* human nature and is our mode of survival.  This is the best lens that I have found for viewing the links between cause and effect in human behavior.

Dr. Bonzo's picture

What's the difference? One Doug Casey versus a 50 million Doug Caseys. You think that equivocates? Apparently you do. Did you earn your money ripping off peasant farmers by hiring local mob to forceably evict them from their land and then run a property scam selling empty cement towers as "luxury condos" and take your tens of millions from the entire charade and plow it into North American real estate? Apparently you think that's what we're all doing. Pfffff.....

The self-loathing you people have is unreal.

iinthesky's picture

Forget all that-- Someone paid 4.6 million for that shithole? What a dope!

Hopeless for Change's picture

I couldn't get over that either.  460k sounds more like it.  

Greendawg's picture

Hongtario is just as infested

Durrmockracy's picture
Durrmockracy (not verified) NoDebt Feb 5, 2016 10:55 PM

This article has a point but I think "money laundering" is not a fraud.  Rather, it is government's interference in capital flows that is the fraud itself.

cayman's picture

Bang on.  The term money laundering was a fraud at its inception, but  now it has been misused so badly that its meaning has gained infinite scope, both in respect of the term "money" and the term "laundering."

Wiring a bank balance, which is a derivative of currency (the credit risk of which varies by bank) and therefore is not money (it is not currency, it is not legal tender and most certainly does not meet the criteria of money) from your bank account to someone else's bank account, and receiving a house in exchange cannot possibly "launder money."  And subsequently doing the reverse can't "launder money" either.  And swaping IOUs from banks to buy and sell a house has absolutely nothing to do with money or even currency.

So now that the words have been twisted to mean eveything, we have the infinite scope of non-monetary swaps -- all forms of trade and barter, every last transaction -- falling under suspicion of "money laundering."  

If I swap trucks of ill-gotten potatoes and receive a house and then swap the house for trucks of honest turnips, then I have laundered the potatoes into turnips.  So the only crime was ill-getting the potatoes.  If the potatoes are the risk of one bank account and the turnips are the risk of another, then banks would turn those *private* records over to courts under sopoena anyway.  So outside of criminal prosecution of the ill-getting of the potatoes, everything else has absolutely nothing to do with preventing or solving or remedying or punishing any crime.

Claiming that asset swaps are criminal is no different than claiming that guns are killers.  Its all fraud to take away your rights and freedoms and to put a political class in the best position to tax you.




aerohelo's picture

Exactly.  I think your post is a little long, and as a result most people will not read it, but your point is right on.

Curiously_Crazy's picture

We're on ZH mate... not to many TLDR'ers around here.

Unless it's one of Radical Marijuanas posts ;)

Edit: I read all of his stuff because among the wordyness is often insite - but if you think OP was long.. well heh

Wild Theories's picture

poor radical marijuana, what did he do to deserve being called out out of the blue like that 

(green-arrowed coz I agree)

thinkmoretalkless's picture

.gov wants to criminalize making their job catching you difficult

Wile-E-Coyote's picture

This is not new it even goes on in London UK but on a much bigger scale, Arabs buy houses and just let them rot.

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

Apparently they assume that if it costs a buttload of money, they'll be able to sell it and get a return. I expect this will end in a very interesting manner......

golden kafir's picture

The "smart" money has already shed surplus real estate holdings in vancouver.

old naughty's picture

w,w,wait, on 35M (compared to 1.3 B), you could have 1.75M (compared to 65M) vacant houses, no?

Now, let's hear about NPM (M for mortgages), shall we.

And what about the other head of the joined-in-the-hip chi-mera?

Risks hockey-sticking up?

booboo's picture

The technical term for the cause of this type of behavior is High Altitude Cerebral Edema. Chasing bubbles will always lead to swelling of the brain and loss of motor skills and more importantly the ability to make rational decisions.