Over the past several months we have repeatedly noted a recurring peculiarity of the Vancouver housing bubble: there are numerous multi-million dollar mansions, which rot, abandoned, their owners having long ago disappeared.
Two months ago, we first postulated the hypothetical timeline that starts with the purchase of a Vancouver mansion
Chinese investors smuggled out millions in embezzled cash, hot money or perfectly legal funds, bypassing the $50,000/year limit in legal capital outflows.
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.
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.
Then the owners disappear, never to be heard from or seen again.
Then we showed a dramatic example of the last step just yesterday in our post laying out the "Curious Story Of The Chinese Tycoon Found "Chopped Up Into 100 Pieces" In A Vancouver Mansion."
But while the mysterious past of Vancouver's abandoned mansions may be increasingly more transparent, their "present" is just is perplexing: after all, they are still the legal possession of someone - even if that someone is a dismembered Chinese tycoon long dead - and as such they may remain a neighborhood blight for a long time.
Another mystery: what is contained inside?