Student’s purchase of Canadian mansion sparks rumors

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/5/16 0:03:01

News of the purchase of a Canadian mansion by a Chinese student for a record $31.1 million has sparked debate over the buyer's identity and the country's wealth gap on Chinese social media.

The Point Grey Mansion, located at 4833 Belmont Avenue and recently ranked the 16th most expensive home in Vancouver, was sold to Tian Yu Zhou, whose occupation is listed as "student" in the land titlet, local newspaper The Province reported on May 13.

The report said Zhou, with a 99 percent interest in the five-bedroom, eight-bathroom, 1,356 square-meter mansion, all sitting on 0.69 hectares of land, took out a $9.9 million mortgage from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in April.  The documents show he is scheduled to make biweekly payments of $17, 079.

The news has not only triggered suspicions on whether the Canadian government could handle rising home prices in Canada, but also attracted Chinese attention after it spread on social media at home.

Since the news did not disclose Zhou's identity, some Chinese netizens expressed the same curiosity as some Canadians on how a student could make such a large cash down payment.  Net users suspect it might be "dirty money" from some corrupt officials.

Housing critic David Eby was quoted by The Province as saying that "it's incredibly strange that a student would be able to afford such a luxurious and multi-million-dollar property" as a student's income is typically "close to zero."

Other netizens said it was bought by a wealthy family.

"It is not surprising for a successful business family to buy a house at this price. If you do the math, it costs 23,000 yuan ($3,523) per square meter, which is far cheaper than the average home price in Shanghai and Beijing," a netizen, "nanningyuelao," commented.

Some Net users said that this is an overseas investment of some wealthy Chinese as the yuan continues to depreciate.

China's property tycoon Wang Jianlin bought a 10-bedroom home in London's Kensington Palace Gardens for 80 million pounds ($119.3 million)  in December 2015, according to the Daily Mail.

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