Flippers might not be the problem in Toronto and Vancouver

by Ephraim Vecina on 28 Oct 2018

Often blamed for overheating in major markets, flippers actually represented only a minor proportion of home transactions in Toronto and Vancouver, according to a Bloomberg analysis that looked at Teranet Inc.’s land and housing registry.

In Toronto, flipped condos represented just 1.8% of total sales for that housing type as of June 2018. This was significantly below the 4% rate a mere two years ago in April 2016.

Meanwhile, in Vancouver, only 3.4% of condo sales between April and June were those of previously sold homes – a stark contrast with the 5% ratio back in March 2016.

Thus, any federal or provincial-level measures aimed at housing speculation will do little to improve affordability in these markets, the Bloomberg analysis noted.

Read more: Multiple offers become commonplace again

Flipping “has always been a very rare occurrence” in Toronto, according to RE/MAX Integra regional director (Ontario) Christopher Alexander.

“Most people buy real estate to hang onto it for at least five to seven years,” Alexander said, adding that many short-term sales are due to life-altering factors such as sudden job changes.

Vancouver’s noticeable market slowdown between 2016 and the present has also made condo flipping far less lucrative than it was, realtor Steve Saretsky stated.

“As soon as [prices] stop rising you get into a number of issues,” Saretsky explained in a phone interview. “Are you really going to try to flip it in a down market? There’s no profit to be made.”

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