House-flipping concerns as 368 Vancouver homes sold at least twice since 2014
Published Monday, February 8, 2016 3:39PM PST
Last Updated Monday, February 8, 2016 6:42PM PST
As concerns grow about the impact of house-flipping on Vancouver’s red hot real estate market, new numbers are shedding light on how often homes are being bought and swiftly re-sold.
According to B.C. Assessment, 368 single-family homes have changed hands at least twice since the start of 2014. Twenty-three of those properties changed hands three times.
That accounts for 5.58 per cent of the 6,590 single-family homes sold over that period, and doesn’t include properties where the homes were demolished and rebuilt before being sold to a new owner.
Often, buyers flip the homes without lifting a finger.
Real estate agent Mebal Meng said she’s seen buyers snap up houses with the intention of rebuilding them, only to have second thoughts because of the market’s momentum.
“Some investors think it’s safer to flip the lot because the market is going up crazy now and you can make $200,000 or $500,000 in two or three months, so they decided not to build,” Meng said.
Some neighbourhoods are worse than others, including Renfrew, where 8.42 per cent of all single family homes sold since 2014 have been re-sold at least once.
In Dunbar, it’s 6.67 per cent. That includes one property on West 22nd Avenue that sold for $2.6 million last May, only to be re-sold for $3.6 million just eight months later.
In January, CTV News researched the 12 lowest-priced Dunbar houses on the Multiple Listing Service, and found a full half of them previously changed hands just last year.
Similar re-sale numbers are seen in some of Vancouver’s suburbs as well. West Vancouver saw a re-sale rate of 5.98 per cent among single-family homes sold since 2014, compared to 4.11 per cent in Richmond and 3.17 in North Vancouver.
This trend, and the associated ballooning prices, is having an impact on couples struggling to find a home where they can build a life together. Vancouver residents Alison Kirk-Owen and Simon Hayes are growing discouraged after six failed offers on the North Shore.
“It sure takes a toll on your life and stress,” Kirk-Owen said.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has called for a speculation tax to discourage flipping and generate revenue to help fund affordable housing, but some lay part of the blame for flipping on the city itself.
Developer Simran Sohal of Athoula Construction said he flipped a house because it was taking too long to obtain a building permit.
“It’s not fast enough for the average builder,” Sohal said. “Every month someone’s making a payment on the house, it could be upwards of $5,000.”
See below for a full list of the re-sale rates in Vancouver neighbourhoods since the start of 2014.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Mi-Jung Lee